KNOXVILLE – Linda Hendricks Harig, University of Tennessee vice president of human resources since 2008, has announced she will retire at the end of 2017. Harig’s career began at UT more than 40 years ago and subsequently included stints at Duke University and Vanderbilt University before she returned to UT to fill the first cabinet-level position for human resources reporting directly to the UT System president.
The position was established as a result of UT human resources leadership statewide advocating for an enhanced focus on HR at the UT System level, and Harig has led development of policy, guidelines and strategic planning for UT HR and of UT workforce strategic planning.
“Throughout the statewide University of Tennessee, our people are our single greatest resource and a highly skilled and savvy HR team is critical to attracting and retaining great employees. Linda has led the way in ensuring we have both an exceptional HR team and an exceptional workforce,” said UT Executive Vice President Tonja Johnson, whose oversight includes UT System HR.
UT President Joe DiPietro said Harig brought unique and valued qualifications to the position.
“Linda is a UT Knoxville graduate whose HR career has been entirely within higher education, which has positioned her exceptionally well to have needed insights into both the HR arena and higher education, along with a great understanding of the unique needs and makeup of the UT workforce,” DiPietro said.
“The time for an executive-level focus on HR for the UT System was long overdue when Linda pioneered the role of UT HR vice president, and she has established a model and set a standard for the office that has served us extremely well and will serve her successor well in the future.”
While looking forward to having more time for family and pursuing other interests, Harig said, “I have been giving thought to retirement for a while. It has been difficult because I love UT and am so proud of all that we have accomplished in human resources. Being the first vice president of human resources has been my honor and privilege, as is being a UT Knoxville graduate spending more than 22 years of my career serving the University.
“HR has become a strategic partner to senior leaders across the UT system, and our expanded range of HR services, advocating for competitive compensation and comprehensive efforts to become an Employer of Choice have made the University a better place to work. I will leave with tremendous pride in these and numerous other accomplishments of the statewide HR team.”
Among those accomplishments and new initiatives since 2008 are HR-directed executive recruiting, workplace needs assessments, biennial employee engagement surveys, a compensation advisory board, streamlined job applicant tracking system, background checks for all new hires, conferences focused on women in leadership and on diversity, an HR call center, and four increases in the University’s minimum pay rate.
Prior to returning to UT in 2008, Harig was assistant vice president for talent management at Duke University and Health System. Before that, she was director of human resource programs at Vanderbilt University and Medical Center, after beginning her career with UT Knoxville HR.
In addition to serving as UT System HR vice president, since January 2010, Harig has dually served as UT Knoxville HR vice chancellor on the campus leadership cabinet. In 2012, she also assumed statewide responsibilities for equity and diversity.
Planned restructuring will separate executive oversight of HR at the UT System and UT Knoxville campus levels toward a system-level focus on strategic and policy matters and a campus-level operational focus. A search to find Harig’s successor will begin in fall 2017.