Students, department members part of campus hiring process

Sept. 14, 2015

Rachel Librach
[email protected]

Hiring new employees on campus is not a decision made overnight. Human Resources, alongside the Administration and Finance office, work with faculty and staff to make these choices.

With the opening of Alpine Valley housing, Roaring Fork dining hall and the expansion of the Recreation Center, several positions have been created.

“There are around 16 new positions open for this fiscal 2016 year, which started July 1. Housing, for example, had to hire more staff, custodians and structural trade individuals who would do the maintenance,” said Susan Szpyrka, vice chancellor for Administrative and Finance.

When UCCS undergoes expansion, hiring new employees is built into the project’s financial budget.

“On the business side, we always build [hires] into our financial performance needs before we actually start the construction project, which is interesting because we start working on it four to five years before we even open a building,” Szpyrka said.

At the start of the 2015 school year, about 138 staff and faculty members were hired between the months of January and August.

“Often times, depending on the size of the incoming freshmen class, additional lecturers may be hired to fill in for those required classes,” said Jeanne Durr, executive director of Human Resources.

Depending on the position, applicants are expected to meet a few requirements.

“Our instructors have to have a minimum of a master’s degree. If they are in support roles such as our outdoor or support crew, usually some experience is required,” Durr explained. “The higher up you get into the administrative areas, the more likely those positions will require a master’s degree plus years of experience.”

Most of these requirements are set by the department, not by Human Resources.

“Because these people are the only ones who can assess that, being professionals and experts in that field, they are the most qualified to make those judgement calls,” Szpyrka said.

The faculty committees can take several weeks or months to come to a conclusion, but Szpyrka thinks this renders the best results.

“I think one thing is certain, and that is how we go about the hiring process in a very collaborative manner in which many people with varying expertise are called together,” Szpyrka said.

“We will cross divisions and bring people in to assess an applicant of several different requirements whether that is their competence within their field or their ability to provide excellent student-teacher relations.”

Szpyrka shared the example of a committee she is forming to review applicants for the assistant vice chancellor for Administration and Finance position. Representatives on the committee include Durr, members of Szpyrka’s team, a former dean, director of financial aid Jevita Rogers and two students.

Durr explained she was on a Privilege and Tenure Committee as an undergraduate student at Portland State. She believes students should take advantage of similar opportunities when they present themselves.

“It was such an incredible learning opportunity for me and a great way to accumulate experience,” she said. “Now I am the executive director of Human Resources. That just goes to show you, you never know where you will end up but the opportunities you take can serve to be invaluable later on in life.”

Job openings at UCCS can be found at or