Administrative & HR Acumen in Higher Education


Administrative & HR Acumen in Higher Education is defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics required to understand and take effective action on information pertaining to human resource management in a higher education environment, in order to contribute to an institution’s development and/or the attainment of its strategic goals. HR professionals who demonstrate competency in this domain utilize an understanding of an organization's structure and culture to effectively solve workforce problems; are strong contributors to organizational decision-making on fiscal matters, services, technology, and human capital; and demonstrate an understanding of the organization’s business needs and the impact of external/internal forces on its ability to meet these.


  • Business and competitive awareness
  • Compliance
  • Designing HR solutions
  • Evidence-based decision-making
  • Organizational effectiveness, development, and planning
  • Strategic alignment
  • Understanding higher education
  • Change management
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Evaluating business challenges
  • Navigating the organization
  • Public policy
  • Structure of the HR function
  • Vision

Key Behaviors

  • Supports the development and implementation of change initiatives to improve organizational effectiveness; monitors results and analyzes data to ensure that initiatives provide value.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the organization’s vision through the development, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives, policies, and practices aligned with it.
  • Recognizes the impact the organization has on the lives of its stakeholders and community members.
  • Seeks and develops opportunities to become an “employer of choice,” ensuring low turnover and high regard for the workforce.
  • Identifies, assesses, and prioritizes risks; applies resources to minimize, monitor, and control the probability and impact of risks.
  • Understands how the higher education environment functions and differs from corporate environments.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the people, theories, and activities involved in the delivery of HR-related services that create and drive organizational effectiveness.
  • Utilizes an understanding of organizational processes, systems, policies, and culture in the development, implementation, and success of strategic initiatives.
  • Gathers and analyzes data in order to provide fact-based/ evidence-based recommendations and solutions to organizational challenges.
  • Ensures compliance with federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies that affect the organization and the environment in which it operates.