Message from Vice Chancellor Reese: New HR Organizational Structure

July 1, 2014


Earlier this year I announced a fundamental organizational change designed to transform the way UC Merced’s Human Resources office does business with the campus. Informed by an independent review, the organizational change created a new Business Partners unit to serve as a single point of contact for campus managers and to provide strategic support as well as day-to-day problem solving and customer service to clients.

I am pleased to announce that we are moving to implement this innovative new structure, effective July 1, with the hiring of the new UC Merced Human Resources Business Partners staff.
UC Merced’s new Business Partners will be:

  • Torrey Cook, who brings more than a decade of varied human resource experience, including in labor relations. Torrey joins UC Merced from Post Foods, where he has served in a variety of human resource roles since 2006, most recently as Human Resources Manager
  • David Ellington, who joined UC Merced last year as Accommodation Specialist. David previously has served in both the public and private sectors developing and executing individual, departmental and organizational strategies, and executing effective operational tactics in virtually all areas involving human resource functions and issues.
    In the days ahead, we will determine appropriate client assignments for Torrey and David. We will hold introductory meetings with clients within the month.
    Supporting Torrey and David will be four Human Resources Generalists:
  • Leticia Aldama, currently UC Merced’s Health Care Facilitator and Wellness Coordinator;
  • John Holtz, who will continue in his current generalist role with responsibility for continuing HR process improvement initiatives;
  • Erica Nystrom, currently an HR administrative assistant who previously served as an employee relations representative and human resources coordinator in the private sector; and
  • Cynthia Xiong, who since early 2012 has performed similar generalist responsibilities for the Merced County Office of Education.

As previously announced, the Business Partner unit will be complemented by the new Centers of Expertise that will provide in-depth subject-matter knowledge in compensation, talent acquisition, labor and employee relations, training, and equal opportunity and affirmative action issues.

Benefits including retirement counseling, workers compensation, unemployment and disability will eventually be provided by the new HR generalists and through services the campus will contract for at the Office of the President. As you may recall, effective July 1, all UC Merced retirement counseling is provided by the systemwide Retirement Administration Services Center (RASC).

Given continuing uncertainty about what benefits services might be provided by the systemwide UC Path Center, Benefits will remain for the time being within the Centers of Expertise.  Janis Patten will provide these services, working out of the Fresno Center offices. Meanwhile, the search for a new Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources has been launched with the goal to name the new AVC by mid-fall.
Please join me in welcoming the new members of the Business Partners unit.

Best regards,
Michael Reese
Vice Chancellor for Business and Administrative Services