University of Vermont

University Communications

Heading-Grant Wins Regional HR Award for Innovative Leadership

Wanda Heading-Grant, ice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. (Photo: Sally McCay)

Wanda Heading-Grant, vice president for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, has been awarded the Eastern Region Human Resources Excellence Award for her transformative work at the University of Vermont.

The award, given annually by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), recognizes individuals or teams who have provided HR leadership resulting in significant and ongoing organizational change within their institutions. Heading-Grant will be recognized at CUPA-HR’s Eastern Region Conference May 1-3 in Boston. The award includes a $1,000 donation to UVM’s endowment. Heading-Grant will be one of the four names from the four regions across the U.S. that will be passed along for consideration for the national HR Excellence award.

“I was very pleased to learn about the selection of Vice President Wanda Heading-Grant to receive the CUPA-HR Eastern Region Award,” said UVM President Tom Sullivan. “Wanda is a valuable and respected member of our leadership team, whose talent, commitment, and tireless efforts serve to make UVM better every day. It is gratifying to see Wanda’s contributions to our institution and to her profession recognized with this much-deserved award.”

The CUPA-HR Eastern Region Board of Directors took into consideration a number of HR initiatives by Heading-Grant, including the alignment of diversity with key operational areas of recruitment and retention, professional development, employee, student and labor relations, benefits, and employment services.

“For UVM Staff Council, one of the university’s four governance groups, we keenly rely on partnerships with human resources," said Renee Berteau, president of Staff Council. "One of Wanda’s first collaborative efforts with us was to work on and approve a statement of collaboration between Staff Council and Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. It has documented the spirit of trust and commitment to work together that Staff Council has always intended and sought from UVM’s human resources, and was achieved due to the passion and commitment of Wanda.”

Heading-Grant also implemented a system of HR programs and best practices to meet current and future campus expectations. Some examples include the re-instatement of merit pay for non-represented staff; the implementation of paperless personnel action forms; the implementation of a new performance management system; the renovation of HR’s reception area into a more service-friendly space; and an increase of new employee orientation sessions.

“I am honored to be recognized with this award for HR Excellence," said Heading-Grant. "It’s been an exciting time as we made a fundamental shift to integrate HR and diversity and equity functions at UVM. I am grateful for the support of President Sullivan, my team, and our many institutional partners for what we have built with the Division of Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.”

As the association for HR professionals in higher education, CUPA-HR provides leadership on higher education workplace issues in the U.S. and abroad by providing the knowledge, resources, advocacy and connections to achieve organizational and workforce excellence.