USC names first senior VP for human resources

Former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill administrator and employment law attorney Felicia Washington will become USC’s first senior VP for human resources June 1.

University administrator and employment law attorney Felicia Washington will be the University’s new senior vice president for human resources beginning June 1, Interim President Wanda Austin and President-elect Carol Folt announced in a letter to the USC community Thursday. Washington will be the first person to serve in this position at USC.

According to the letter, Washington will report directly to the president and will work to provide strategic leadership on workforce analytics, benefits administration, compensation governance, employee relations, retirement plan administration and talent acquisition across the University.

“She will also provide the long-range strategic vision for building an integrated human capital strategy for the University, one that balances the overall needs of the University with the unique needs of different schools and units,” the letter read.

Washington will also help create and lead initiatives for executive succession planning and workforce development and help improve human resources enterprise across USC.

“Together with her team, Ms. Washington will ensure that the Trojan commitment to our most precious resource — our people — reaches even greater heights in the future,” Austin and Folt wrote.

Washington comes from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as vice chancellor for workplace strategy, equity and engagement since 2014. Washington worked at UNC at the same time as Folt, who served as chancellor since 2013.

Washington helped navigate a national scandal and NCAA investigation at UNC involving paper classes that helped athletes remain academically eligible to play.

At UNC, Washington also helped implement a new Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct, reframe the university’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion and grow the Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office teams, according to the letter.

“She was a key driver in bringing together central and campus human resources personnel to tackle the challenges of improving the search and hiring processes and restructuring of the university’s human resources operations to meet the needs of the modern workplace,” the letter read.

Washington also previously worked a an employment law partner in the Charlotte office of K&L Gates, a multinational law firm, the letter said. In this position, Washington worked on federal and state cases and advised clients on issues like hiring and firing, internal investigations and regulatory compliances, according to the letter.