Apr 02, 2020

New semester brings leadership changes to university HR

The Fresno State human resources department has undergone significant leadership changes in recent months, most notably the position of the associate vice president, which Marylou Mendoza-Miller will occupy on Feb. 1.

Mendoza-Miller, who is currently the director of human resources at Fresno Pacific University, is a Fresno State alumna with a bachelor’s in business administration with emphasis in human resources.

Debbie Adishian-Astone, interim vice president for administration, said even though the department is rebuilding, she and others have made sure things are still getting done and believes the new hires will offer a much-needed renewed energy to move forward.

“I know it appears that there’s significant transitioning, but that’s sometimes typical when you have a retirement and then there are others who were getting to that same point in their career,” Adishian-Astone said. “There is a lot of good energy and good enthusiasm for what is next for the department, and we are really excited about having these new folks joining the team and appreciate what the current team is doing because they are ensuring that everything is still moving forward.”

Adishian-Astone said the human resources department, which helps to support the Fresno State campus by providing services and resources for employees and retirees, is headed toward a bright future with all of its new hires, especially its new associate vice president.

“From a department standpoint, we are looking at streamlining some of the internal processes we have, looking at automating some of the manual forms that we have and putting them into some of our workflow systems,” Adishian-Astone said. “We are also looking to realigning some of the client work and working with the various colleges and schools and departments in order to better serve and support our campus community.”

“Those aren’t just goals for Marylou, those are goals for the entire department as a team working together to support the campus.”

Brittany Isom, human resources coordinator, who will become a new human resources analyst in late January, said she is very excited about her new position and looks forward to what the future holds.

“This is an incredible opportunity for me to learn a new skill set and work within a campus community that has already taught me so much,” said Isom, who will replace Donna Freeman, who retired in November. “I’m also a Fresno State alumna, as well as a former student employee on campus, so it’s a great feeling to be able to serve a campus that once served me in a couple different capacities.”

Isom said she is also excited about her new position it will allow her to learn a different side of the human resources industry.

“Auxiliary services comprises five nonprofit organizations, and a majority of the population that I work with are part time or student employees,” Isom said. “This position will give me the opportunity to increase my knowledge of collective bargaining agreements and the requirements of those agreements as it applies to leaves of absences and employee recruitment. It will also give me a different perspective of the university.”

Having been employed at Fresno State for nearly six years, Isom said she believes her background in human resources and her work with students, faculty and staff on campus will aid her in doing the best job she can.

“Those relationships are valuable and will create a level of comfort between human resources and our ‘customers,’” Isom said.

Lawrence Salinas, a longtime political adviser and a Fresno State alumnus, has recently accepted appointment as executive director of governmental relations, which will take effect Feb. 1.

Having previously served as  director of governmental relations for University of California, Merced, Salinas’ new position will require him to develop and manage strategies to inform and influence public policy at the local, state and federal levels on issues and in areas of interest to Fresno State, and to advise the campus on legislative matters that may affect the community.

Dr. Honora Chapman, professor of classics and humanities at Fresno State and director of the Smittcamp Family Honors College, has recently agreed to serve as associate dean of the college of arts and humanities.

Other hires include Robert Rodriguez, who has worked for the City of Fresno and the City of Tulare, will serve as the new classification and compensation manager beginning this week. He will replace retiree Mike Dunn who retired in December.

James Young has recently been promoted to human resources analyst, replacing Marcus Freeman who retired in November.

Michelle Nelson will continue to support the human resources department as human resources administrator and human resources support for athletics during the coming months of transition.

Erin Boele, director of university housing, will assume the interim role of Title IX coordinator in addition to her regular duties. A search is under way for a new Title IX coordinator.

Michael Salvador has resigned his position as human resources manager, equal opportunity and accepted a position at UC Merced.

Kirsten Corey, who is serving as the interim equal employment opportunities manager, said she looks forward to the position and providing more consistency in making sure to best coordinate her efforts on campus when dealing with equal employment opportunities.

“I look forward to the opportunity, and I was honored that I can serve in the capacity of this campus,” Corey said. “This is an opportunity to continue to showcase the campus, and I know that we have been recognized most recently in the last couple of years for achieving national diversity awards, and I look to continue to build on that.”

Adishian-Astone said overall she is happy with the new hires and knows they all will contribute to the betterment of the Fresno State community.

“We are very excited to welcome them to the team, and we appreciate the campus understanding the department was going through some transitioning,” she said. “We are focused on doing whatever we need to help support and serve our campus.”

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