For UNC Pembroke’s new director of the Office of Human Resources, job number one will be “building relationships across campus.”
Debbie Burgess, a human resources professional for nearly 20 years in the public and private sectors, started work on September 1.
“I am very excited to be at UNCP, and I am enjoying this beautiful campus on my first day,” Burgess said. “Getting out on campus and building strong business partnerships is key for me and the success of this office.”
Neil Hawk, vice chancellor for Business Affairs, welcomed Burgess to campus. “I look forward to working with Ms. Burgess to enhance our Human Resources Department’s systems and practices,” he said. “She comes to UNCP with a solid background in the human resources business and has excellent contacts within the Office of State Personnel and with her UNC System colleagues.
“Ms. Burgess has an excellent staff to support her, and we will all work collectively to find ways to improve our services,” Hawk continued. “Debbie will be reaching out to every division—vice chancellors, deans, department leaders and employees—to introduce herself and to listen. She is excited to be here and very capable of taking our Office of Human Resources to the next level.”
A Fayetteville, N.C., native and graduate of UNC Wilmington, Burgess has worked in state government with the Office of State Personnel, the former N.C. Department of Human Resources and East Carolina University. Her most recent post was assistant director of Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) Office of Human Resources.
“I have enjoyed working in higher education; perhaps that stems from my first job as a public school teacher,” Burgess said. “I draw upon that experience when working in human resources, educating our customers on HR best practices and policies so they make informed decisions.”
In higher education, Burgess has been involved in many large projects including the implementation of a statewide classification and compensation system, career-banding and, most recently, an HR/payroll database conversion.
At FSU Burgess participated in a range of projects and committees, including the implementation of the career-banding classification and compensation system, the reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the emergency management operations committee and the safety and health committee.
“Campus involvement is important on many levels, and the management of human resources is at the core of the operations,” she said. “Our primary mission in HR is to build business partnerships on campus to assist the campus community in meeting their goals.
“I am looking forward to working with the HR team to build these partnerships while enhancing our services to the campus,” she said. “We have a new chancellor with a well-defined vision for our future; I’m excited to be a part of that vision.”