Sgan to direct higher education recruitment consortium

Laurel Sgan has been named director of the newly created St. Louis Regional Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (STLR-HERC), announced Leah A. Merrifield, special assistant to the chancellor for diversity initiatives.

The STLR-HERC was formed to increase inter-institutional collaboration in faculty and staff recruitment. The consortium, which is led by Washington University, comprises 15 St. Louis-area colleges, universities and affiliated organizations, and its main focus will be the creation and maintenance of a shared Web-based search engine that lists employment opportunities available at member organizations.

Laurel Sgan

The online search engine, which is scheduled to be available in spring 2008, will be available to the public and will offer the most comprehensive database of open positions in higher education and at research institutions in this region.

Sgan is responsible for establishing and managing partnerships with prospective and established STLR-HERC member institutions. She also will serve as a resource for those seeking job search assistance and, along with software and Internet service providers, will develop and maintain the STLR-HERC Web site.

The STLR-HERC will especially be useful to institutions that actively recruit minority candidates and members of a dual-career couple.

Many institutions have found that finding appropriate employment for spouses and partners, who often have careers in higher education themselves, is critical when recruiting faculty and staff, especially women and minority candidates.

Sgan knows from experience the challenges a dual-career couple faces when relocating.

“Finding one right job in academics can be difficult; finding two jobs is even more challenging,” Sgan said. “Eight years ago, my family and I moved to St. Louis for my husband’s job at the School of Medicine. It would have been great to have had a HERC Web site to find job opportunities and other resources to help me make the transition.”

Sgan’s experience makes her all the more qualified for the position as director.

“The HERC director search committee was thrilled to find Laurel,” Merrifield said. “The combination of her education, professional background and her experience as an accompanying spouse really made her an excellent fit. Under her leadership, we expect the STLR-HERC to flourish.”

WUSTL’s involvement with STLR-HERC demonstrates its commitment to improving diversity at the University and throughout higher education.

“The opportunity to customize the HERC site with information designed to attract not only dual-career couples, but also individuals from diverse backgrounds, really made this program an attractive compliment to the University’s current diversity initiative strategies,” Merrifield said.

In addition to providing a central Web site to post job listings, STLR-HERC will offer regular opportunities for representatives from each member organization to discuss issues and practices in recruitment and retention strategies.

Current STLR-HERC members are the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Fontbonne University, Harris-Stowe State University, Lewis and Clark Community College, Lindenwood University, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, St. Charles Community College, St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis Community College, University of Illinois at Springfield, University of Missouri, University of Missouri-St. Louis and Washington University.

There are six established HERCs in the United States — two in California (Northern California and Southern California) and four in the Northeast (Metro New York/Southern Connecticut, New England, New Jersey, Upstate New York.) Two others (Chicago and Michigan) are currently being developed.

Before being named director of STLR-HERC, Sgan served as coordinator beginning in 2006 for the Siteman Cancer Center’s Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities, which works to increase access to cutting-edge cancer care for underserved patients.

Sgan also worked as a development consultant for New England Citybridge, a nonprofit organization in Concord, Mass., that provides educational opportunities for at-risk middle-school students, and as the director of the Hyde Community Center in Newton, Mass., from 1995-97.

From 1989-1995, she worked as a planned gifts officer for Columbia University and then as a major gifts officer for Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. From 1987-89, she was a development officer for the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union in Boston.

Sgan earned a bachelor of arts degree from Cornell University in 1987 and a master’s in business administration from Boston University in 1993. She and her husband Adam Kibel, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, reside in Clayton with their three children.