August 21, 2013

UA System announces new chief human resources officer

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble has hired longtime human resources professional and adjunct professor Erik Seastedt from the State University of New York (SUNY) to serve as the UA System’s chief human resources officer.

Seastedt will start the job Sept. 16, replacing interim officer Michelle Rizk, who also serves as associate vice president for budget.

“Erik is the whole professional package. He brings UA 24 years of human resources experience in a wide variety of areas such as job classification and compensation, benefits, communications, diversity, labor relations, policy development and effective performance assessment,” said Gamble.   “We’re fortunate to bring him to Alaska and to have him put that experience to work for UA.”

Seastedt is currently director of human resources and affirmative action at SUNY’s Cobleskill campus in upstate New York. Previous leadership positions have been with Great Basin College in Nevada, the University of Wyoming in Laramie and other organizations in upstate New York. At the UA System he’ll report directly to Gamble, providing HR leadership and policy level strategy in personnel-related areas.

UA employs approximately 8,600 full- and part-time employees in locations across the state, with an estimated economic footprint of over $1 billion. After federal and state government employment, UA is the single largest employer in Alaska.  

“Human resources in higher education is all about student success,” Seastedt said. “If I can make people happier in their jobs, less stressed about health benefits or administrative processes internal to their jobs, then they can focus more of their energy on the students.”

Seastedt has taught psychology and human resources management as an adjunct professor at each of the universities he’s worked at over the years. He credits the background in psychology for insight into business theory and employee communication.

Born and raised in western New York state, Seastedt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and biology from St. Bonaventure University in New York state and a Master of Science degree in human resources management from SUNY Fredonia. In 2008 he was selected as a “Shining Star” by the SUNY Cobleskill Student Affairs Department and received the 2004 Advocate of Staff award at the University of Wyoming. He also received a faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching from Jamestown Community College in New York state.