As a student, professor or future member of UConn, you may rarely think about the behind-the-scenes work in such a big university. However, many are working hard to create a comfortable place for students and staff. The university would not function the same without a successful and organized administration.
The administration accomplishes a variety of different tasks within the university, and they are the ones overseeing aspects of teaching and learning. They guide the development of programs, prepare budgets, and serve as a link to students’ families.
In the article, The Great Resignation and Higher Education Employees, author and senior researcher Michael Fried explains that a high turnover in the educational environment could increase in visible and invisible costs. It can also negatively impact the students’ experience and make it difficult for a university to pursue long-term goals.
Stephanie Reitz, UConn spokesperson, says that the number of resignations is not unusual compared to other institutions.
Reitz says that from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, about 10.6 percent of UConn’s workforce left the university for either another job or to retire. That’s 4.6 percent less than the national average, according to the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.
Reitz thinks the number of resignations has been interpreted as larger than usual because it includes the departure of high-profile student affairs positions.
However, Reitz said, “The departures do not indicate a larger trend beyond the retirements, resignations and other separations of a typical year.”
Former UConn Dean of Students Eleanor “Elly” Daugherty left the university to become Vice President for Student Affairs at Georgetown University along with one of her UConn colleagues, Claudia Arias-Cirinna, who serves as its Dean of Students.
Additionally, UConn Medical Director Dr. Ellyssa Eror and the director of UConn’s African American Cultural Center, Willena Price, retired last year. The Vice President for Student Affairs, Michael Gilbert, also decided to retire earlier this semester after over 40 years in higher education, including 10 years at UConn.
Reitz said other administrators have also accepted jobs at Columbia University, Rutgers University, SUNY-Stony Brook and others.
To handle resignations and retirements, UConn utilizes the skills of others within the respective offices and departments to step into interim roles while looking for replacements. It helps ensure continuity of the work while letting the University take the time to conduct searches and interviews to find the perfect person for the role.
Before choosing a new candidate, the hiring staff will consider current UConn employees who might have the skills and interest to fill the position as an interim or perminently. If not, the University will conduct research for the best profile and then continue with interviews before selecting the best fit. However, this process depends on the specific position and vision of the department, school, college or university.
Despite the goodbyes, “The fact that other institutions notice and pursue their talents speaks well of UConn as a place where people can build strong careers while serving our students,” said Reitz.