Dr. Patricia Greer, academic director for the Strategic Human Resources and Organizational Leadership programs, retired at the end of September after 11 years of working at University College. She impacted her students and colleagues, and played a pivotal role in many communities. We asked Dr. Greer about her time here at University College and what she has planned for retirement.
Q: You have been working
at University College for the last 11 years as academic director for the
Strategic Human Resources and Organizational Leadership programs, what have
been some highlights of your tenure?
There are many highlights over
the past 11 years. Several come to mind, including the creation and recognition
of both programs (ranking as top 10 master’s degrees in their respective
areas!). I enjoyed working with the advisory boards when we did programmatic
changes for the Organizational Leadership program, and when we decided to build
the Strategic Human Resources program from scratch. The advisory board that
worked with me to create the foundation of the new Nonprofit Leadership program
was fun— and that program is creating quite the impact.
I have the best group of
adjunct professors for both programs— recognized professionals in their fields,
and so willing to give to our students. It was such a pleasure to work with
them on continually renewing and assessing the curriculums.
Watching students be successful
after the completion of their program is always rewarding and thrilling. At the
twice-a-year hooding ceremony, I was able to share the graduates’ thoughts
about the programs. The impact of the students’ words will remain with me.
There were so many successes: first generations, people changing careers, those
students who did their homework with their children, and reading about people
fulfilling life long goals and dreams. It was humbling to be the director of a
program that added so much to the life of our graduates!
For me personally, I earned my
Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. It was challenging to
go to school while working full-time, yet it was a constant reminder of the
daily struggle of our students to also work full-time and work to attain a
degree. I worked with the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition to create a
partnership for advocacy training for a segment of the population that needs a
voice for legislation and processes to serve them authentically. I was also
honored to receive the Champion Award from the Colorado Nonprofit Association
for my work in the nonprofit community while at DU— one of only four ever given.
Q: You were part of
several committees on campus, including University College’s Diversity and
Inclusivity Committee and Values Committee. Can you talk about the significance
of this work and why it’s so valuable for organizations to consider?
Inclusivity and diversity work is hard because it is not as clear what that entails, like learning how to read a cash flow statement. But it is important work as the nature of work evolves to each person in the workplace having value, and voice, and the ability to contribute at the highest level. It is critical because of changing demographics, where historically marginalized employees enter the workforce, and the organizations that will attract and retain the best employees will be those where employees feel included at all levels. This takes work.
Q: The Organizational
Leadership program has grown to be one of the largest programs here at
University College. Where do you think the field is heading? Do you foresee any
The trend I see is moving from
the ides of a leader as a person in authority or position and moving to the
recognition that each of us can demonstrate or provide leadership. In addition,
people are hungry for ethical and values-based leadership, where they are
respected and treated as worthy individuals who can be their best selves and
contribute at that level in their organization, sector, or community. The
organizational leadership program was developed to be a toolbox for people who
will raise their hand, step forward, and provide leadership, at all levels of
the organization. I think there will be a higher demand for people with a
strong ethical compass, who excel at the soft skills needed in organizations,
have strong self-knowledge, who are not afraid to continue to learn and grow,
and will involve people at all levels of the organization in change and
transformation. I feel the Organizational Leadership program develops such
Q: Do you have any
advice for students looking for the next step in the career?
My advice is to be curious and
keep learning about yourself and your organization, understand how you fit into
your organization, and what gifts you bring to help your organization, and
always maintain your ethics and values. For Strategic Human Resources students,
certifications are essential, in addition to the more formal education. Go to
conferences, present at conferences, and teach others, because that will
enhance your knowledge and presentation skills. For students in both programs,
remember to have interests and loves outside of work to keep you balanced and
Q: Finally, what are you
looking to forward to the most when you retire?
I am looking forward to having
the time to do the activities that make my heart happy. My five grandchildren
and my husband will be receiving a lot more quality time! It is funny, I am
only retiring from my full-time job. I have some small consulting
opportunities, and I am giving several presentations in the next few months on
change management and collaboration processes. I am teaching a course right now
and hope to continue teaching for University College. I sit on three boards,
all of which do such great work. I am increasing my dog training time — I love
doing K9 Nose work with my dogs. I have several writing projects that are in the
works, including articles and a kid’s book. I am going for more horseback
rides. Life is full of fun opportunities!