University News

New HR leader seeks to build connections and community

Human Resources
September 12, 2022

Denison University extends a warm welcome to Associate Vice President for People and Culture Janine Watkins, who will join Denison as head of human resources on Oct. 1, 2022.

Watkins comes to Denison from her recent position as assistant vice chancellor and chief human resources officer at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Her lengthy career as a strategic leader and human resources professional includes roles at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; ACES, a national energy management company headquartered in Carmel, Indiana; Indiana University Health; and Magic Mountain Fun Centers, based in Columbus.

In moving to Ohio, Watkins is returning to her roots. In addition to several professional credentials and certifications, she earned a Bachelor of Arts and completed the miniMBA program at Miami University in Ohio.

“We are so lucky to have someone like Janine joining us at Denison,” said University President Adam Weinberg. “Supporting our people is a top priority, and Janine understands the great importance of culture, relationships, and community — and how HR plays a pivotal role in building connections across campus.”

As a senior leader at Denison, Watkins will bring her vision for innovation and strategic organizational leadership to all employees. She will help leaders across Denison understand and implement principles such as organizational design, professional development, employee retention, and effective performance management. She will also be a key partner in advancing the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

“Denison is an outstanding university! I am honored to join an HR team that is dedicated to its people,” Watkins says. “I started my career in social work and loved the opportunity to connect and get to the root of the problem. Too often, we see a problem and solve the surface issue and don’t get at the underlying causes. I want to implement strategies and processes to help us get to the root of issues and understand our culture to get the best solutions.”

“Watkins’ role recasts the previous position of associate vice president for human resources to emphasize the importance of people and culture in Denison’s mission to provide students a transformative education,” says Vice President of Finance and Management David English. Watkins replaces Pamela Prescod-Caesar, who served an invaluable role as the interim associate vice president of human resources.

“We’re very excited to welcome Janine to Denison,” English says. “Through her significant HR knowledge and experience, she will help us advance Denison’s educational mission and our core operational and administrative objectives. I am looking forward to Janine’s insights as we amplify and improve our high-performing and inclusive culture. Her influence will be felt at every level.”

Back to top