Susan Carkeek, VP of Human Resources at University Of New Mexico, Named New Chief Human Resources Officer at U.Va.

October 09, 2006
Oct. 9, 2006 — University of Virginia Executive Vice President Leonard W. Sandridge today announced the appointment of Susan A. Carkeek, vice president of human resources at the University of New Mexico, as U.Va.’s next Chief Human Resources Officer.

“The University is looking forward to the proven, innovative leadership that Susan Carkeek will bring to Charlottesville,” Sandridge said. “The University has great aspirations in the area of human resources and we believe she is ready to take on the challenge to meet them.”

Carkeek, who has been at New Mexico for the past 10 years, has more than 30 years experience in higher education human resource management. Prior to UNM, she served for eight years as director of personnel services at the University of Nevada, Reno, and six years as personnel officer at the University of Montana.  

“I’ve spent my entire career in human resources,” Carkeek said, “and most of that in higher education. I’ve also worked in virtually every aspect of HR– employment, benefits, training, you name it.”

Carkeek will report to Yoke San Reynolds, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who oversaw the four-month search process and laid out her candidate expectations to the search committee. This week Reynolds reported being very pleased with the hard work and good results of the committee.

“Susan is uniquely qualified to lead us in new directions, given her impressive record of successfully implementing significant initiatives at other universities,” Reynolds said. “We are most fortunate to have her join us at this moment in time as we expand our strategic workforce planning activities.  With the 10-year academic plan in its final stages and the opportunities afforded by the Restructuring legislation, Susan’s breadth and depth of experience will help move us beyond personnel management as usual, to being strategic about our greatest resource – our employees.”

Carkeek will have overall responsibility for all human resources functions for the academic division of the University as well as oversight responsibility for the University’s College at Wise and the Medical Center benefits program.

One of her greatest challenges, and opportunities, Carkeek said, is the charge to create a new state-of-the art human resources program as a result of the Restructuring legislation and to improve communications with employees and managers across the University. (Last year, the University gained the ability to create its own human resources system as a result of the Higher Education Restructuring Act.)

These assignments are, in fact, part of what attracted Carkeek to the position. “To be able to design a system from top to bottom is an amazing – and exciting -- professional challenge. Add to that the fact that U.Va. is a great university with great people,” she said. “I simply could not pass it up.” 

She acknowledges that it will not be easy leaving UNM, where she and her staff have celebrated numerous successes over the years. In 2004, her department was awarded the most innovative human resources department in the state of New Mexico. 

“My focus has always been on teamwork. You don’t receive accolades like that working by yourself,” Carkeek said. “It takes a whole lot of people with a whole lot of passion.”

Her mantra when she arrives at U.Va., she said, will be “To listen and learn. I want to build on what’s already good and provide a catalyst for new and innovative projects.”

Carkeek will begin work on Nov. 1, 2006.

Carkeek has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a master of business administration from the University of Montana. She also is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Society for Human Resource Management.

She was honored in 1994 with the Nevada “Woman of Achievement” award for outstanding achievement in career and community service and in 1993 received the “Outstanding Faculty Award” from the University and Community College System of Nevada and the “Roadrunner Award” from the South Western Region of CUPA for human resource professionals who have made significant contributions to the profession.