Interim VP may become permanent

Ben Wolford

Lefton says human resources under Walker running ‘smoothly’

President Lester Lefton is considering making Willis Walker’s position as interim vice president for human resources permanent.

Since Walker assumed the year-long appointment Jan. 4, the department has operated smoothly, Lefton said.

Walker is also chief university counsel.

“Since Willis Walker took over human resources on an interim basis, the level of satisfaction in human resources on campus has improved substantially,” Lefton said.

No search committee has been created to fill the post, nor has any offer been extended to Walker.

But Lefton is attracted by the idea.

“It would be an interesting cost savings to not hire a (new) VP for human resources,” he said.

Lefton said it would be cheaper to simply augment Walker’s salary, than to hire another employee.

Walker said he would be willing to take on the job, “if (Lefton) decides that’s the way he wants to go.”

Those who work under Walker are happy with his performance.

“Mr. Walker’s done an outstanding job,” said Alvin Evans, associate vice president for human resources. “There are just an incredible number of initiatives that we’ve been able to achieve.”

Among those initiatives are combining related departments under human resources, Evans said. Walker put together the benefits and compensation departments in Wright Hall and combined training and development with talent acquisition.

“He created some synergies by the way he changed the organizational structure,” Evans said.

Walker made these changes less than two months into his tenure.

“The notion when he was appointed was that he was expected to improve services,” Evans said. “He wasn’t going to be a lame duck.”

People have been very complimentary.

“I haven’t heard a lot of complaints,” Walker said. “So I assume things are going well.”

Contact administration reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].