About

Centers of Expertise

Centers of Expertise (COE)

The Centers of Expertise form a vital component of our organizational structure, consisting of expert consultants with deep knowledge in specialized fields. These dedicated professionals play a pivotal role in interacting with both our university community and external entities such as the State Universities Civil Service System, the State Universities Retirement System, labor organizations and other relevant stakeholders. Centers of Expertise actively engage in the development and execution of strategies and special projects, contributing significantly to the overarching goals of the organization. The Centers of Expertise provide critical training and education to the university’s HR community, ensuring the functions of HR are effective and efficient. Collectively, the Matrix Teams are a center of expertise that is focused on excellent service delivery and providing a direct connection from campus units to Illinois Human Resources.

Deborah Stone

The Centers of Expertise Include

Compensation, Classification, & Career Architecture (CCCA)

CCCA is responsible for the compensation and classification structure and plan for all staff (civil service and academic professional) positions. This area is responsible for training HR professionals on the classification plan in order to ensure positions are classified appropriately. Position record management, including a repository of up-to-date job descriptions, is a key function of this area. Compensation is responsible for the effective management of both structures and implementation to ensure compliance with federal, state, university and negotiated agreements.

Compensation, Classification, & Career Architecture

HR Applications & Information Services (HRAIS)

HRAIS has responsibility for the HR applications used by the campus and HRIS and data reporting functions, focusing on critical enterprise systems and HR data reporting for the campus. This area supports the campus in various HR technology efforts and represents the campus needs for HR technology on enterprise-wide application projects.

HR Applications & Information Services

HR Data Operations

Data Operations ensures the timely and accurate submission to the Banner HRIS/Payroll system for employee transactions. This area is responsible for ensuring employees are paid accurately and timely. This area has the responsibility to maintain the official employee personnel files for all academic and civil service employees, as well as maintain all civil service seniority records. HRDO provides all official records and information to the State Universities Retirement System, as well as other state agencies such as the Illinois Department of Employment Security for reporting and claims processing.

HR Data Operations

Labor & Employee Relations (LER)

LER provides consultative services on managing employee and labor relations matters, leads contract negotiations for 21 bargaining units, oversees performance management for all employee groups and serves on the campus Threat Assessment Team. On behalf of the Chancellor or Provost, this area responds to grievances elevated to the campus level for both represented and non-represented employees. They manage compliance activities around required training and compliance.

Labor & Employee Relations

The Matrix Teams

The Matrix Teams operate within a customer-centric operational service delivery model, placing a primary focus on interactions with their assigned customers. These teams are dedicated to the hiring and staffing needs of the campus by providing direct services to units assigned to their team. A key aspect of their approach involves developing strong relationships to enhance their ability to be proactive in consulting and problem-solving, ensuring effective and tailored support for the specific requirements of their clientele.

Matrix Teams

Talent

Talent, in consultation with the Office of Access and Equity is responsible for the development and oversight of recruiting and hiring protocols. They are responsible for ensuring the recruitment and hiring of civil service employees is compliant with the provisions set forth by the State Universities Civil Service System. Talent has responsibility for shepherding recruitment efforts, particularly in the developing programs and initiatives focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in support of our goals to have a diverse and vibrant employee population. Extra Help Services (EHS) manages all aspects of temporary civil service employment, including the timely and accurate submission to the payroll system.

Talent

Don’t Know Where to Start?

Meet the COE Leaders

Learn about the whole IHR team!

Michelle Althaus, Director of HR Data Operations

Michelle is the Deputy Director of the HR Data Operations department in Illinois Human Resources. She has 12 employees on her team, and she is the University’s liaison for the State University Retirement System (SURS) and University Payroll and Benefits. Michelle also sits on various committees regarding system changes, leaves, and policies.
ihr-dataops@illinois.edu, 217-333-2143

Julie Block, Matrix Team – Team Community Lead

Julie serves as the Team Lead for the matrix Team Community.  Julie previously worked as a Talent Acquisition Partner in IHR, she and her team work to provide one-stop customer service for the units that make up Team Community.  Each matrix team has representatives experienced in talent, classification, HR Data Ops, and Labor and Employee Relations.
julierb2@illinois.edu, 217-300-3379

Robb Craddock, Executive Director of Labor & Employee Relations

Robb Craddock – responsible for labor relations and collective bargaining activities for the University involving multiple bargaining units, including planning, communication and coordination with affected departments, and senior administrators. Establishes and maintains effective labor­ management relations and administers and develops the labor relations policy.
ihr-ler@illinois.edu, 217-333-3105

Tori Exum, Director of DEI & Talent Attraction Programs

Tori is the Director of DEI Talent Initiatives within Illinois Human Resources, driving initiatives to enhance the University’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Her role involves developing programs that actively recruit and source diverse candidates. Tori coordinates the annual Summer Youth Employment Program alongside her team, providing local high school students invaluable work experiences on campus. She oversees permanent intern programs, including College to Work initiatives, and coordinates initiatives supporting individuals with disabilities, offering supportive programming for permanent employment opportunities. Additionally, she collaborates with veterans, aiding them in their search for job opportunities on campus, thereby ensuring diversity and inclusion across all levels of employment.
texum@illinois.edu, 217-265-5626

Gretchen Hayes, HR Assistant Manager - Talent

Gretchen is the Assistant HR Manager in the Talent Center of Expertise.  Gretchen serves as a resource for the matrix teams and is a primary liaison with the State Universities Civil Service System on testing and talent issues.  Her staff provides customer service support and offers applicants assistance in resume and interviewing skills. 
ghayes@illinois.edu, 217-333-2137

Jenna Jeffers, Matrix Team - Team Empowerment Lead

Jenna serves as the Team Lead for the matrix Team Empowerment.  Jenna previously worked as a Talent Acquisition Partner in IHR, she and her team work to provide one-stop customer service for the units that make up Team Empowerment.  Each matrix team has representatives experienced in talent, classification, HR Data Ops, and Labor and Employee Relations.
jajeff5@illinois.edu, 217-333-6958

Sean Mahaffey, Director of HR Applications & Information Services

As Director of HRAIS, Sean is responsible for designing and driving an HR Technology Roadmap, building, and managing the HR application portfolio, leveraging technologies used within the organization, both systemwide enterprise applications and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign specific applications, and collaborating with key campus partners for system enhancements in a highly decentralized environment.
ihr-hrais@illinois.edu, 217-300-9112

LaSonia McBride, Matrix Team - Team Discovery Lead

LaSonia serves as the Team Lead for the matrix Team Discovery.  LaSonia has extensive experience in the Talent area in IHR, she and her team work to provide one-stop customer service for the units that make up Team Discovery.  Each matrix team has representatives experienced in talent, classification, HR Data Ops, and Labor and Employee Relations.
lmcbride@illinois.edu, 217-244-7423

Nicole McCurry, HR Manager - Extra Help Services

Nicole, as the Manager of Extra Help Services, leads a team dedicated to sourcing and assigning temporary Extra Help employees in clerical, accounting and IT fields. She and her staff match unit requests with available Extra Help staff members, process all payroll and monitor hours worked in order to maintain compliance with State Universities’ Civil Service System rules for extra help employment.
ExtraHelp@mx.uillinois.edu, 217-333-4752

Mai Nasr, Matrix Team - Team Momentum Lead

Mai serves as the Team Lead for the matrix Team Momentum.  Mai previously worked as a Talent Acquisition Partner in IHR, she and her team work to provide one-stop customer service for the units that make up Team Momentum.  Each matrix team has representatives experienced in talent, classification, HR Data Ops, and Labor and Employee Relations.
mainasr@illinois.edu, 217-300-1045

Bryan Rojek, Executive Director of Compensation Strategy - CCCA

Bryan, Executive Director Compensation Strategy, facilitates the transformation of compensation, classification, & career architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Bryan oversees the development of compensation strategies, guiding leadership from planning to execution. He leads and mentors a team serving the campus community, manages the Compensation & Classification Centers of Expertise, and offers analysis and insights for compensation decisions. Additionally, he plays a role in shaping the University’s career architecture, organizing various job roles and career paths.
ihr-compensation@illinois.edu, 217-333-2136

Amanda Smith, Matrix Team - Team Innovation Lead

Amanda serves as the Team Lead for the matrix Team Innovation. Amanda previously worked as a Classification Analyst in IHR, she and her team work to provide one-stop customer service for the units that make up Team Innovation.  Each matrix team has representatives experienced in talent, classification, HR Data Ops, and Labor and Employee Relations.
awsmith@illinois.edu, 217-333-0893