May 9, 2009
Northwest HR director announces retirement
Mary Throener, for the past 11 years Northwest's director of human resources management, has announced that she will retire from the University effective July 1.
Throener, who sits on the President's Cabinet, has spent just over 20 years as a member of the University's staff or faculty and began her Northwest career in 1988 as a placement specialist in the Office of Career Services. She earned a bachelor's degree in management and a master's degree in business administration from Northwest in the 1990s and is a former graduate assistant to President Dean L. Hubbard.
Before being picked to lead the University's human resources operation in 1998, Throener worked as the institution's first student employment coordinator and spent several years as a marketing and management instructor in Northwest's Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth College of Business and Professional Studies.
As director of human resources management, Throener has been responsible for all facets of human resources at Northwest, including compensation and benefits, employee development initiatives, work and job design analysis and employee well-being and satisfaction. Throener and her four-person staff manage workplace issues for approximately 750 University employees, including 250 faculty members and 500 professional and support staff.
Human Resources has implemented a number of major personnel initiatives under Throener's supervision, including a unique Career Pathing program for student workers, which is now entering its sixth year.
Career Pathing at Northwest provides students with increasing levels of professional responsibility during their college careers if they attend developmental workshops and successfully qualify for a stepped series of job classifications and pay increases.
The system has captured the attention of education professionals nationally and internationally, including representatives from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and England's Higher Education Funding Council.
Northwest has long been a leader in on-campus student employment and provides part-time jobs for between 900 and 1,000 student workers each fall and spring trimester.
Other human resources accomplishments on Throener's watch include market-based compensation; performance evaluations designed to reflect the University's Core Values as set forth by the Culture of Quality continuous process improvement program; a variety of faculty, staff and student employee recognition programs and events; and employee satisfaction surveys that can be used and contrasted with nationally normed data.
"The career here has been wonderful," said Throener, current president of the Missouri College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (MCUPA-HR). "I have not thought for a moment that we weren't making progress, or that we weren't doing something that was important for our employees. I think that's what the goal has always been, to have people feel like they are having a work life that is beneficial."
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