It is with mixed feelings that I write to tell you Susan Wong will be retiring at the end of June. Susan has been director of human resources for the Library since 2002, and we will greatly miss her calm, steady presence. But I am pleased for her that she has reached this milestone and will have more time to devote to personal and family pursuits.
As director of HR, Susan and her team of professionals provide an enormous range of critical services for an organization as large and complex as the Library, including academic and staff recruitment and employment, student employment, compensation, employee relations, labor relations, performance management, human capital (workforce) management, disability case management, professional development training, and organizational effectiveness.
It is impossible to list all of Susan’s projects and accomplishments during her time in LHRD, so I’ll mention just a few highlights. She has supported the complex, time-consuming and successful nationwide searches for six associate university librarians. Through several deep budget cuts, resulting in a nearly 25% reduction of our full-time labor force, Susan has helped us manage so that we have imposed no layoffs. To achieve this humane and difficult success, Susan designed (together with our former CFO and director of IT), and implemented the Library Severance Incentive Program through which 24 employees enjoyed voluntary separation payments. This program became the model for two campus-wide voluntary separation programs.
Susan has represented the Library in numerous bargaining sessions with the AFT LX unit representing our librarians. In the most recent contract, completed this spring, the University and the AFT reached a five-year agreement that makes substantial progress on restoring librarian salaries to market levels, which should improve our ability to recruit and retain crucial colleagues.
Susan led a project team in an area of great importance to the Library, to campus, and to our society: diversity, equity and inclusion. In response to a competitive campus initiative (BILD, the Berkeley Initiative for Leadership on Diversity) Susan’s project team successfully received approval and funding for its proposal “Connecting People and Building Community: a Two-Tiered Program to Influence Diversity in the UCB Libraries.” For her leadership, Susan received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Office of the VC for Equity and Inclusion for outstanding performance and lasting contribution to BILD.
During my much shorter time here, I have been very grateful for Susan’s leadership efforts in a number of areas, generally bundled under our Strategic Direction 3, “Grow as an adaptive learning organization”. For example, during this time Susan led implementation of two rounds of library-wide compensation equity adjustments. She helped us re-calibrate performance ratings to align with campus mandates and provide a sound basis for assessing merit increases. She supported education and training for the implementation of our library-wide annual goal setting program. And she has ensured that we take full advantage of the campus STAR award program to recognize accomplishments of eligible staff.
Susan leads by example. She has herself pursued continuing education to ensure continuous improvement in her leadership and her unit’s operations. And she has received recognition through several awards. As a leader, and as a human, Susan has the absolute highest standards of integrity, is compassionate, and is extraordinarily hard-working.
Please join me in congratulating Susan on her accomplishments, thanking her for her service, and wishing her well on the next stage of her journey.
Edited excerpt of email Jeff MacKie-Mason sent to library staff.