VP of human resources takes office

For most staff and faculty, there are days in between quarters to prepare for the future. However, Aaron Hilliard, the new vice president of Bellevue College’s human resources department, has not had time to ease into his new position. Starting on February 3rd, “I hit the ground running,” said Hillard. Hilliard  previously visited BC in late November to participate in open caucuses, says that although it is very busy, everything is going as expected. “The only problem I have now is finding my way around campus. When I was here for the interviews, it was all very directed. I went from place to place where I was required. When I started working, the campus seemed a lot larger than I had remembered. It seems like the buildings grew, almost as if they built new buildings before I came here.”

Hilliard was previously in a leadership position in the human resources administration for Muskegon Community College, a position which he has held since 1999. Although Muskegon is a much smaller school, Hilliard is not concerned with his ability to shine at Bellevue College. “This is a larger school. This school has a different set of resources. This campus has a lot more faculty and staff. With more people you have more personalities. With more personalities you have more diversity. With more diversity comes more perspectives. I think that’s a good thing. It is very refreshing to hear new perspectives.”

Perspectives aren’t the only new things Hilliard has to face here. Not only is Muskegon Community College different from Bellevue College in terms of size, but they are located in two very different states. Hilliard admits that he will need to work on adjusting to BC and Washington state, saying, “It is definitely a different environment, with two completely different systems. There will be some time required to unlearn some things, and learn some new things that pertain to the State of Washington. I am getting to know a whole new set of employees, a new student body.” Although he has many years of experience at Muskegon, Hilliard will not try to make BC fit into the model he had in Michigan. “I have some old workplace habits that will probably emerge, but I don’t think it’s fair for me to try and make my experiences fit Bellevue.”

Mr. Hilliard’s first month has been focused on becoming acquainted with Bellevue College’s campus and policies, but also most importantly, his team. “[Human resources] is a team approach. I don’t think I’d ever be able to tackle all this as one person. We have an outstanding HR team here, and they’re all very-versed in their roles and responsibilities.”

Hilliard’s plans for the near future consist of listening to faculty & staff, going to meetings to find out exactly what issues exist and how to go about fixing them in the best way possible. “I’d like to see what’s needed. As they say, ‘Measure twice, cut once.’ ”