Carnegie Mellon University

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March 13, 2013


Hires Now Greeted With Collaborative New Program

By Heidi Opdyke

Like many other programs at Carnegie Mellon, welcoming new hires to the university has become a group effort.

Starting in January, HR has added a half-day orientation program for new hires to become acquainted with the university and to receive a wide variety of information relating to their employment at Carnegie Mellon.

"The first goal is to give the new hires a warm welcome so they feel like they are part of the campus community and understand how important their roles are to the university's success and pursuit of excellence," said Dan McNulty, assistant vice president of Human Resources (HR).

"The second goal is to give them the information they need in order to make their first year at Carnegie Mellon as successful as possible. Since there is a lot of important information, we pared it down and made it more accessible and understandable."

McNulty said when the program was proposed, campus interest was phenomenal.

"It's really reflective of the CMU spirit," he said.

Speakers and videos touch on everything from university culture, information technology, and athletics resources to university policies and benefits information.

"We are a collaborative university," said Elaine Keim, director of international HR. "Much of the university saw this as a podium to advance their initiatives and share the great work their departments are doing and how they can help new hires," Keim said.

Invitations go out to new hires several times a month, and HR is considering having special presentations for current university employees interested in a refresher on university resources and benefits.

Gena Henry, who joined the university last summer as an Andrew Carnegie Society Gift Officer, said each presenter was well prepared to address the group and provided detailed and useful information.

"The new employee orientation was very well organized and informative, and I left the day with much more comprehensive knowledge of the university as a whole and a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of individual divisions within the university," Henry said.

"I also left the day with a renewed sense of solidarity and a feeling of honor that I have the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team of people that is Carnegie Mellon."

Her sentiment was echoed by Deborah Zalewski, a senior associate business manager for the Robotics Institute. Zalewski, a longtime employee of the university attended an orientation session to understand what new hires would be learning so that she would be better informed to assist them.

"As a current employee, I felt invigorated with a renewed sense of pride in my employer," Zalewski said. "The orientation gave such a down-to-earth, hometown feel. I walked out of there with a grin on my face."

This is just the first step to a new orientation process, said Kim Abel, director of Learning & Development. Additional programs for new hires are being developed to complement the orientation program. Items being considered include networking gatherings and departmental outreach activities.

McNulty and Abel said they are polishing the program. Additional presenters may be considered, and feedback is important.

For more information about the program, contact Heather Wainer at