Montana State University

All employee hiring consolidated under Human Resources and new Office of Institutional Equity created

July 12, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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The hiring of faculty, professional and classified staff have been consolidated under one office in a reorganization of human-resource functions announced this week by Montana State University President Waded Cruzado.

Human Resources (HR) will handle hiring of all positions on campus and all other duties related to human resources such as professional development, payroll, benefits and collective bargaining. HR is under the leadership of Dennis R. Defa, chief human resource officer, who joined MSU in the position in January after a national search.

Defa, who has nearly 30 years of higher education HR experience, was hired after an extensive review of the HR operations at MSU which included a consultant visiting with campus stakeholders. As a result of this review, the new position of chief human resource officer was created.

"This change will eliminate a lot of confusion on campus and allow us to operate more efficiently," Cruzado said. "Under Dennis' leadership, the campus is moving toward significant improvements in hiring and handling the many complex duties associated with human resources."

As part of the reorganization, Cruzado confirmed Diane Letendre as director of the university's new Office of Institutional Equity. Letendre had previously served as an interim director handling the hiring of faculty and professional staff as well as Affirmative Action and Title IX duties.

As director of the new Office of Institutional Equity, Letendre will develop plans for and ensuring compliance with the American with Disabilities Act, Title IX, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She will also handle discrimination and harassment investigations. Letendre has been with MSU since 2005 working in the areas of human resources and affirmative action. She holds a master's degree in public administration from MSU.

"Having a dedicated office to handle these issues is the best practice of universities nationally," Cruzado said. "MSU will be in good hands with Diane handling these important issues. She has shown great leadership in guiding the university in these areas."