PLYMOUTH, N.H. —Ask Carol Kuzdeba what the profession of human resources is and she doesn’t miss a beat: “it’s about people,” she says. Her technical knowledge and skill with people are two the reasons Kuzdeba, assistant director of human resources for benefits administration at Plymouth State University, has been named the 2008 Distinguished Professional, Administrative and Technical(PAT)staff member.
The annual award is based on nominations from colleagues, alumni and students, and recognizes comprehensive job knowledge, resourcefulness, leadership on campus committees, activities and functions, participation in professional organizations, ongoing professional development, participation in projects to enhance PSU programs, policies and procedures, and respect and value for all individuals.
Kuzdeba’s experience at Plymouth State demonstrates that life does, in fact, go in cycles. She graduated from Plymouth State College in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and after time away as an elementary school teacher, mother of twins, employee relations representative at Lockheed, and co-founder of the first extended after school program in an elementary school in New Hampshire, she returned to Plymouth State with an M.Ed. and eight years of experience. That was 16 years ago.
Over time, faculty members who taught her as a student have become her counselees, as she helps them with employee relations and benefits issues, and retirement planning.“I have ‘retired’ some of my former professors in my work here!” Kuzdeba exclaimed.
In human resources, you have to be very organized and very caring, Kuzdeba says. Comments from colleagues make it clear that she is both.
One nominator said that “she handles challenging situations with grace, tact and kindness. … Carol is simply an incredible asset to PSU, and sets a magnificent example for the campus in all that she does.”
Another said that she “does a great job balancing her advocacy of PSU employees with her responsibilities to the institution.” A third added,“I have been honored to count Carol as a colleague, a role model and a friend.”
Being organized has helped her to have time for the volunteer work she also loves, working with dogs at four humane societies. “Every dog I have adopted has been a rescue or from a humane society,” the Meredith resident said.
And being organized helps her make time for a monthly polka dancing date with husband, Ray. “He’s 100 percent Polish,” she says. “His mother introduced us to dancing. She’s 90 years old and still dancing!”
“I have nicely laid out plans of what I am going to accomplish and deadlines I have to meet. But people come first. Sometimes I can’t even start on my list until three o’clock in the afternoon. We are a close-knit community at the University, and HR is a bit like teaching. It involves lots of listening and understanding people. I do a lot of business on my walks around the campus, but that’s okay. I am glad people know I am someone they can turn to for help.”
“Carol sees to it that the H is kept in H.R. at Plymouth State,” one faculty couple at the ceremony concluded.