It’s not surprising that Margaret Phillips’ first reaction on learning she had won the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources’ national award for Excellence in Human Resources Practices, was to credit everyone else in West Virginia University’s Division of Human Resources.

“I am both honored and humbled to receive this award on behalf of the WVU Division of Human Resources,” she wrote to HR directors. “I recognize that WVU HR is receiving this award because of your leadership, dedication and creativity, (and) your staffs’ hard work.”

She also thanked Vice President of Administration and Finance Narvel Weese for recognizing the importance of human resources to the overall success and health of the University and supporting the efforts of the Division of Human Resources.

Indeed, that selflessness, and insistence on building a strong team was a significant part of her nomination for the award – a nomination that was undertaken and championed by the very staff she credited for the award.

In joining an array of people from around the University supporting her nomination, President Jim Clements called Phillips “a leader with integrity, vision and enormous dedication. She has surrounded herself with a great team and together they consistently produce results that add value for our employees.

“From veteran’s initiatives to comprehensive employee wellness programs, to retirement planning conferences, as well as online training for supervisors and professional development programs, Margie has a track record of meaningful success,” Clements said. “She is an incredibly hard worker who had dedicated most of her professional life to enhancing human resources at WVU.”

Phillips, named WVU’s first vice president for human resources in 2006, first was recognized with CUPA-HR’s Southern Region award, a prerequisite for the national award. In addition to West Virginia, the region covers Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The national award, which includes a $2,000 contribution to the endowment of the recipient’s choice, recognizes “college and university HR professionals or teams at CUPA-HR member institutions in improving the quality of programs and services on their own campuses through effective HR administration practices.” CUPA-HR has more than 16,000 human resources professionals and other campus leaders from more than 1,900 member organizations, including 91 percent of all doctoral granting universities.

Phillips came to WVU in 1982 as a compensation analyst and served in various positions, including chief of staff to former President David C. Hardesty, Jr., before being named vice president for human resources, a cabinet level position.

The nomination lifted up her work in improving the overall quality of WVU’s human resources programs and services and said she has transformed the department.

“She has overseen a total reorganization of the division and transformed the University’s human resource delivery from top to bottom, with multiple new programs ranging from recruitment to retirement, from wellness to training, and from performance management to job satisfaction,” the nomination states.

Among the Division’s many accomplishments in recent years are:

  • A new Mountaineer Leadership Academy for directors and an online supervisory training program for 1,600 supervisors.
  • A new compensation structure for employees in the non-classified category and a new salary schedule for classified staff
  • A new performance management system and management tool.
  • An employee wellness program.
  • A dual career program for faculty, senior administrators and their trailing spouses and partners.
  • A new student employment office to help students fund their education while attending WVU.
  • A new client based HR service delivery program that embeds human resources professionals in large colleges and administrative units.
  • A new electronic classified employee handbook.
  • Creation of an employee remembrance ceremony to recognize employees and retirees who passed away in the previous year.
  • A new employment program for WVU retirees seeking temporary employment with WVU called Senior Mountaineer Temps.

Under her leadership, the division has also piloted veteran’s recruitment initiatives, winning several recognitions for the efforts; and a comprehensive retirement planning conference attended by more than 300 people.

While acknowledging the quality of the team she has built was important to the successes, the nomination said, “it was her courage, motivation and trust in people that propelled the division to succeed.”

Click here to read CUPA-HR’s release.



CONTACT: Becky Lofstead; University Relations

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