For former Executive Vice Provost Dave DeJong, the initial move to the Office of Human Resources to fill the role of Interim Vice Chancellor has been a surprising, yet fulfilling journey.
“Professionally, [taking on this position] has been a chance to have an impact in an area [of the University] in need,” DeJong said. “Personally, this is an experience and an opportunity to meet new people, expand my horizons, and be a leader of service and support for both OHR and Pitt.”
His journey is just beginning, however.
Recently, DeJong accepted the permanent role of Vice Chancellor of Human Resources, an announcement he shared with his new department just this past week.
Only a few months into his move, DeJong is not only excited about what the future will bring, but also how OHR will evolve with himself at the forefront.
He already has a lot of appreciation for his new colleagues, and hopes that the strides the office has made thus far act as a jumping-off point for OHR’s future.
“The people that I’ve been working with are a great group; highly professional, dedicated, and certainly motivated to continue making a difference at Pitt,” DeJong said.
DeJong is coming into this role with little professional experience in human resources. Even so, his strong understanding of the internal workings of the University, its institutional priorities, and his working relationships with partners are all strengths he has put into practice while helping OHR advance as a department.
He also sees his previous experience in the Provost’s office as an advantage and a benefit.
While serving as Executive Vice Provost, DeJong further developed his experience in leadership, team-building, establishing and maintaining strong professional relationships, and shared governance.
DeJong says that, separately, these skills may seem “a little broad in terms of how they can help OHR,” but when combined, he sees “some incredibly useful skills I can use to help OHR be an engaging, driven leader for Pitt.”
DeJong has high hopes for the future of OHR and is excited to get started with some of his plans for his first year.
To “live up to the aspirations and expectations that [OHR] is a strong, strategic partner of the University,” DeJong said, “I want to advance our initiatives, but also be a strong support for staff.”
DeJong plans to streamline internal processes, ensure that the University is fully compliant in all areas relevant to OHR’s operations, and continue OHR’s current goal in making Pitt an outstanding place to work, develop, and thrive.
As for his first-year priorities, DeJong sees a need to start strengthening day-to-day operations in all functional areas and revisiting major initiatives that have been started but need extra attention to complete, including:
- Updating the compensation and classification structure
- Strengthening performance management and professional development programs
- Revisiting the employee engagement survey
- Finalizing the Oracle Cloud project
DeJong knows he has a lot on his plate, but says he could not be more thrilled to get started.
“I appreciate the opportunity to contribute in a new and exciting way. OHR has already welcomed me with open arms, and I am thankful for the strong support the University community has offered to my office and me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”