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STRIDE Courses for Staff Now Available

STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence) for Staff is the result of a yearlong collaboration between Human Resources, the Office of Equity and Diversity, and the STRIDE for Faculty Committee. Work on the program included research, a pilot program, and feedback phases.

STRIDE for Staff is modeled after STRIDE for Faculty. STRIDE for Faculty was created to revitalize efforts to hire and retain a diverse faculty, and incorporates academic research on the effects of bias and the benefits of a diverse workplace.

STRIDE for Staff workshop participants will receive tips on how to create and maintain an inclusive workplace, learn to identify their own biases and how they can impact the workplace, complete interactive exercises and discussions, and participate in a step-by-step mock search. The workshop also includes information about writing job descriptions, the screening process, and appropriate and inappropriate interview questions.

Three workshops are planned for the fall semester that will support the efforts to hire a diverse staff and incorporate inclusive practices into candidate searches. Managers, search committee members, and those who work closely in hiring exempt and non-exempt staff are encouraged to attend this program.

The workshops are scheduled for 1:30­–4:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 17; 8:30–11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 7; and 1:30–4:30 p.m. Tuesday, December 5. The sessions are free and are all held in 156–157 Plant Biotech Building on the UT Institute of Agriculture campus. Register to attend online using K@TE.

The STRIDE for Staff Committee includes Mary Lucal, associate vice chancellor for HR; Izetta Slade, associate director of OED; Melissa George, HR recruiter; and Nick Meanza, OED equal employment opportunity investigator.


For more information, contact HR at 865-946-8847.

HR Conducting Drive for Donations to Smokey’s Closet

When several employees of the UT Knoxville Human Resources office learned they all needed to clean out their closets, they decided to pool their unneeded items and donate them to Smokey’s Closet. They are now putting the call out to campus staff and faculty who might also be cleaning closets: join us in this clothing drive!

Smokey’s Closet is a clothing initiative that collects gently used or new professional clothing for students to wear to job interviews and career fairs. The closet is sponsored by the Center for Career Development, Student Disability Services, and the Student Government Association.

Last year, Smokey’s Closet collected over 1,500 items and helped over 260 students.

“We are very excited to see such a positive response from our Smokey’s Closet collection,” said Abigail Brumfield, Student Government Association program coordinator and part of the Smokey’s Closet team. “A big thank you to HR for their support of the closet and their Volunteer spirit. It will have a big impact on our students and campus community.”

Michelle Whited, administrative coordinator in the HR call center, said the donation was a great way for the office to help students.

“HR doesn’t often cross paths with students, but we love to do things to help them out. We all have dresses or suits in our closets that we don’t need and that they could use for interviews.”

The HR office is encouraging everyone to dig deep into their wardrobes to help students, and other units on campus are welcome to bring their items to the HR office, 105 Student Services Building, for collection.

Needed items include:

  • Full suits (coats and pants or skirt)
  • Contemporary suit jackets or blazers
  • Shirts/blouses appropriate to wear underneath a suit coat
  • Dress slacks
  • Skirts in darker colors such as black, brown, or dark gray
  • Ties
  • New dress socks and nylons
  • Shoes

In addition to the HR office, donations also can be dropped off at the Student Disability Services office at 915 Volunteer Boulevard, 100 Dunford Hall, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Any unusable clothing will be donated to KARM. If you have questions, please call Student Disability Services at 974-6087 or the Center for Career Development at 974-5435.

What You Need to Know: Hiring Minors

Summer is approaching and you may be thinking of hiring high school students to work in your department.

Minors who are 16 or 17 may only be employed under the following conditions: the employment must not interfere with the minor’s health or well-being, and it may not be during school hours when the minor is required to attend class.

Minors under 16 may be employed in certain university programs on a term or summer basis. If this situation applies to your department, please contact Human Resources to discuss it further, as this requires prior written approval.

A minor’s age must be verified prior to employment, and there are restrictions on job duties a minor can perform. A list of restricted occupations can be found in HR Policy HR0110—Employment of Minors. Child labor law posters must be posted in the area where the minor will work.

For more information about the employment of minors, contact Human Resources at 865-946-8847.

New TCRS Retirement Estimator

The Office of Retirement Services has been working with the IRIS team on developing a new estimator program for TCRS retirement (legacy) and completed the process in March. This allows Retirement Services to provide estimates of retirement benefits for UT employees on demand. They are now able to run multiple retirement target dates so employees can make informed decisions on the optimum time to retire.

To request an estimate, you will need to provide Retirement Services with the following information:

  • Name
  • Personnel number (the six-digit number on your UT ID card)
  • Target date of retirement
  • Beneficiary date of birth
  • Email address

Send requests to Jonathan Gushen at

Retirement Services is also working on an estimator for the TCRS hybrid plan. This should be completed in late 2017 and will allow them to do estimates for the TCRS retirement plan that was started for employees hired after July 1, 2014.

HR Recruiter Dan McGuffey Happy to Be Back on Rocky Top

As a human resources recruiter and employee relations specialist, Dan McGuffey helps departments with the employee recruiting process, makes offers to candidates, and facilitates new employee orientation. In his employee relations role, he answers questions about UT policies and assists faculty and staff with complex employee relations issues.

He started in the department in February 2016, but it was a homecoming for him. In the 1980s, he received an active duty commission from UT’s Army ROTC program while also completing his undergraduate degree. In the years between leaving UT and returning, he led a variety of military organizations and staffs.

After completing infantry officer training and the Ranger course, McGuffey served as an infantry officer in Germany and was deployed as an infantry platoon leader in Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990–91 with the 1st Armored Division. In his military career, he also served as commanding officer, operations manager, deputy program manager, and adjutant general corps officer, a position responsible for providing support that improves soldiers’ welfare and well-being, while assisting commanders in keeping soldiers combat-ready. He held several HR executive positions including G1 (deputy chief of staff for human resource management) and director of manpower and personnel. His service took him to Sardinia, Kenya, Korea, the Philippines, and Southwest Asia.

“Those experiences molded me into someone who can take charge and lead a team or organization to operate at a high level of efficiency,” McGuffey said. “The military also instilled in me physical and mental toughness, outdoor survival skills, a strong work ethic, and attention to detail.”

What’s it like to work for UT after those years of working for the Army?

“I like organizations that operate efficiently. UT’s HR department has great people and superb processes in place and provides an extremely valuable service to the university,” he said. “I am honored to work here.”

McGuffey and his wife of 27 years, Candace, live in   Sweetwater. They have two children: Daniel Jr., 23,  and Savannah, 19. In his free time, he enjoys hiking in the mountains, swimming, golfing, and playing the tuba.

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