New Head Of HR, Payroll Appointed
Donna Buxton Munroe has been named associate vice president for human resources and payroll. Her appointment took effect Aug. 6.
Munroe's responsibilities are to plan, manage, and direct the human resources, labor relations, and payroll programs for the University.
Linda Flaherty-Goldsmith, vice president and chief operating officer, praises Munroe's skills. "When I arrived a little over a year ago, the priority communicated by every group was that we recruit a strong associate vice president for human resources and payroll," she says. "Donna Buxton Munroe is already demonstrating to those who have worked with her that she is the ideal person to lead those important activities for this campus."
Munroe has significant professional experience in human resources and labor relations positions. She has managed and administered AAUP collective bargaining agreements and participated in contract negotiations for AAUP and the equivalent of UCPEA units at other higher education institutions. She also has administered other collective bargaining agreements and had oversight of a wide range of human resources programs.
Munroe, whose father was in the air force, was born in Boston and has lived in the Philippines and Venezuela as well as other places in the U.S. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in business administration from the University of New Hampshire in 1976. She received a master's degree from UConn in rehabilitation counseling.
She started her career at the UConn Health Center in 1978 as a personnel officer, working there for four years. While she was employed in the human resources field, she completed 24 credits in UConn's MBA program.
She managed the human resources program at the Yale University School of Medicine for three years, and was director of personnel at Central Connecticut State University from 1985 to 1990. In 1990, she became chief personnel officer at Central, where for 14 years, she planned, directed, and administered the employee and labor relations functions for more than 900 full- and part-time faculty and 450 staff.
Munroe says the field of human resources is challenging. "You have to be sensitive to people and their priorities and concerns," she says, "and understand that everybody has a complex set of issues that they bring to a situation. Oftentimes you have to look beyond the issues presented, to the real concerns."
Munroe says the fields of human resources and labor relations have "changed dramatically" over the last 15 years, in part because of the proliferation of new laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and new immigration laws.
"They've had a direct impact on human resources departments," she says. "I also think as a society, issues in the workplace have become more complex, and I think we're in a generally more litigious environment. So managing in today's culture, and particularly at a public university, has become an incredible challenge for a lot of supervisors and managers."
Historically, "supervision has been viewed as an ancillary task for many in the administrative ranks," she says. But, she adds, "it really has to be front and center."
To supervise and manage effectively, she says, "you need to put your people first, understand what job needs to be done, know your people and how they can contribute, and help them keep focused on the intrinsic value of their work."
Munroe says she hopes to rebuild the human resources and labor relations programs, which lost employees to the early retirement incentive. She also plans to support the payroll department, as it moves toward a more streamlined, user-responsive operation. She will work with human resources and payroll to support administrators "as they plan for their human resources and labor relations needs in an active way, as opposed to being reactive to problems that pop up in the workplace."
Says Munroe, "I'm looking to make us more of a partner with the University."