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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Allison Vaillancourt emphasizes early employment review

Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Allison Vaillancourt, vice president of institutional effectiveness and human resources, talks about faculty relations and student employment during the forum for her five-year review in the Kiva Room of the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday. During the forum, Vaillancourt emphasized the need for early employee review.

Allison Vaillancourt pressed the importance for earlier employee feedback at the forum for her five-year review on Tuesday. Vaillancourt, vice president for human resources and institutional effectiveness, started the lecture discussing problems with student employment.

She said the issue regarding student employment is that it is dispersed among four different sectors on campus: Human Resources, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and Career Services.

“We can be so much better,” Vaillancourt said. “We can offer so many more opportunities for students.”

She said the department will coordinate a discussion among people to talk about creating more opportunities for students.Vaillancourt also discussed the problem of the ratio between Human Resources staff to employees. Vaillancourt presented the numbers that showed the industry average for this ratio is 1:150. However, the UA’s ratio is 1:333.

“This lack of resources, this decision to [let HR] be a B-plus kind of place means we don’t have the obvious things that our peers have, like compensation expertise and recruitment support,” Vaillancourt said. “We are out there doing this ourselves. This is insane. This is not the way to run a research university.”

Vaillancourt said another issue regarding employee relations is feedback for employees.

“You’re not happy with performance feedback,” Vaillancourt said to her colleagues, as she brought up the points of what the employees of the university want. “You feel that you don’t know how people feel about you, and you want to know how you can improve.”

Michael Brewer, head of research and learning at the UA Main Library, questioned the issue that the five-year review can cause some to have to wait for their input to be given.

“The problem is how long people have to wait to provide input, and whether or not some process can be enabled to allow feedback would make the entire process much better,” Brewer said, “because then you would be getting feedback all along or there would be more opportunities to change course or those kinds of things. You don’t have to wait for the five-year, and maybe it wouldn’t be as painful for people going through that as well.”

Vaillancourt said that something along those lines would be more favorable than the current situation. She also told Brewer that although an annual review would not be plausible, a survey could be put in place.

“It’s wrong to wait five years,” Vaillancourt said. “What if I was doing something wrong and I needed to fix it?”

The rhetorical question also referred back to Vaillancourt’s previous point: that she saw employees experience contract non-renewals last spring during the years of the review.

“If we are a community that cares about each other,” Vaillancourt said, “we need to be giving people honest feedback early, so that it helps them either change course, adjust or find a new job on their own terms.”


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