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Letter from President Harroz: Announcing OU’s New Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

July 28, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce that, pending final approval by the OU Board of Regents, Dorothy Anderson will join OU on Aug. 30 as our new Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. With more than 30 years of experience in public education and over 15 years in human resources, Dorothy comes to OU from the University of New Mexico, where she serves as Vice President for Human Resources. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the delivery of HR services to over 9,000 faculty and staff on UNM’s main campus, its integrated academic health sciences center and four branch campuses, as well as providing the overall management and direction for the Division of Human Resources.

Please join me in expressing our profound appreciation to Nima Zecavati, Carrie Irwin, Jeffery Cooper, and Tandy Gourd for their faithful leadership and service to our Human Resources office during this transition period. Their unwavering commitment to our faculty and staff has proved invaluable, especially as we navigated such unprecedented circumstances this past year.

We also are grateful to the members of our search committee for their diligent participation in the national search process, which attracted 21 qualified applicants. The search committee – made up of nine members, including representatives from the Provost’s Office; OU-Tulsa; Administration and Finance; OU Health Human Resources; Office of Legal Counsel for the Norman campus; Student Government Association; the Department of Biology; Staff Senate; the College of Arts and Sciences; and faculty from the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the College of Allied Health – interviewed five semifinalists, ultimately selecting three finalists. The search solicited feedback from both Provosts, all college Deans, Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, and members of the executive team.

As Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Dorothy will lead the creation and direction of human resources strategies that develop and retain a highly motivated, diverse, and effective workforce. She will also have responsibility for ensuring that human resources processes are clearly established and communicated, as well as fostering a culture that enables faculty, staff, trainees, volunteers, and students to do impactful work across the university’s campuses and program locations.

While at the University of New Mexico, Dorothy has led the transformation of its Division of Human Resources by ensuring timely, high-quality service and by establishing a division-wide strategic plan with people-first goals and objectives. Her responsibilities include overseeing a budget of over $7 million and leading a team of more than 70 central HR employees. Dorothy also has oversight of UNM’s $77 million self-funded health benefit plan, which covers more than 13,000 active employees, their dependents, and retirees. She has served on a number of university leadership committees, including the budget leadership team and the faculty and staff benefits committee.

Prior to joining UNM, Dorothy held a variety of positions at her alma mater – New Mexico State University – including Human Resources Director and Interim Assistant Vice President for HR. In these roles, she helped develop university-wide compensation guidelines, redesigned performance evaluations for exempt and nonexempt staff, and completed a full employee dependent audit that resulted in an estimated annual savings of over $250,000.

Dorothy began her career at Las Cruces Public Schools, where she served in a variety of roles for more than 16 years. She is a member of the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Society for Human Resources Management, and Society of Higher Education Human Resources Executives.

Dorothy earned a bachelor of science in education and a master of arts in educational administration from New Mexico State University.

Her extensive knowledge and significant leadership experience in higher education human resources, as well as her demonstrated ability to communicate effectively and build strategic collaborations to achieve institutional goals make her an outstanding choice to lead OU’s Human Resources.

Please join me in welcoming Dorothy Anderson to the OU family.

Live On, University,

Joseph Harroz, Jr.