Vice President of Human Resources Jaffus Hardrick believes at FIU people can become the best they can be.
This guiding philosophy has propelled him to lead numerous initiatives and programs that cater to faculty and staff and sends a clear message to them: FIU appreciates you and wants you to succeed.
Recently, Hardrick was honored at the 2017 South Florida Business & Wealth (SFBW) Excellence in Human Resources Awards. He will also be featured in the April 2017 issue of the SFBW magazine as one of the honorees of the award, which celebrates distinguished Human Resources (HR) professionals who create and foster talent within their organizations.
“For me, this honor means that the university gets recognition and continues to get branding as a Worlds Ahead university,” Hardrick says. “We continue to demonstrate that we are a leader in HR and particularly, HR in higher education. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate my team of incredible people that make all this happen.”
Under Hardrick’s leadership, HR has made continual strides in providing a culture of excellence, growth and wellness at FIU. One of the most notable achievements came last year when FIU ranked No. 2 in Florida on Forbes’ Best Employers list.
Likewise, the highly successful Leadership Development Institute Program (FIU LEAP) was established in 2012 to empower faculty and staff with the skills needed to realize their vision as managers and supervisors in the FIU community.
During Hardrick’s tenure, FIU has created numerous awards and celebrations for FIU, such as the university-wide HR Service and Recognition Awards and the Student Employee of the Year Award (SEOTY). SEOTY was the first program of its kind established in the State University System (SUS) to win recognition from the National Student Employee Association (NSEA) Board of Directors, earning “The Best of NSEA” Award in 2010.
Hardrick has also led the initiative to update the HR system with the latest technology available, making FIU’s Division of HR a trendsetter throughout the SUS.
“Excellence in Human Resources means providing exceptional services and being a thought leader,” Hardrick explains. “It means bringing top talent into an organization, helping transform lives, seeking win-win situations, whenever possible, and being problem solvers.”
Thanks to his firm belief in continual growth and professional development, he has also fostered a culture of education within his team.
When Hardrick first started in his role in 2008, less than 50 percent of the staff within the Division of HR had a bachelor’s degree. Today, more than 95 percent have a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree thanks to his encouragement.
“He doesn’t just talk about excellence, he models it and demands it,” says Assistant Vice President for Human Resources El pagnier Hudson, who has been working with Hardrick since 2010. “That’s what this culture does. Everyone feels we’re leaving a fingerprint on the university. We are privileged to have Dr. Hardrick.”
Hardrick, who is also FIU’s vice provost for Student Access and Success, is deeply concerned with students’ welfare and success. In addition to personally mentoring students, he also oversees student-centric projects and services offered through HR. For example, the Generations Ahead Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Gabor Agency, is available for dependents of faculty and staff. It recently expanded to include full-time faculty and staff who are simultaneously full-time students.
“Faculty and staff make the university,” Hardrick says. “For us, we want to make sure the people we bring on board are supporters of our vision and mission and that will help our students succeed. That’s what it’s all about.”