Health Science Center hires Maher as vice president of human resources

SAN ANTONIO (June 20, 2008) — Mary L. Maher, M.A., who has been a leader in the human resources field for more than 25 years, joined The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio June 1 as its first vice president of human resources.

Maher is the first human resources professional on the university’s executive committee. She reports to Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael E. Black.

“We are pleased to have recruited someone of Ms. Maher’s caliber to the Health Science Center,” Black said. “She brings a broad base of experience in improving and energizing human resource departments at educational institutions. I think our faculty and staff will be pleased with some of the changes she will initiate. One of those will be developing leadership and training programs that will help our staff members enhance and learn skills so that they will be able to progress through a defined career path. This will not only help employees who want to advance, but will assist the Health Science Center in keeping productive employees.”

“I am enjoying working at the Health Science Center,” Maher said. “There is such a feeling of caring here, from President [Francisco] Cigarroa on down.”

Maher, who is an active board member in the College and University Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), has worked for a number of institutions and health care organizations throughout her career. Among them are the University of California at San Diego (UCSD); Scripps Health, a multi-hospital health care provider headquartered in San Diego; the University of Michigan; the University of Houston; and most recently, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where she was vice president and chief human resources officer from January 2006 to May 31.

At the UT Health Science Center Houston, Maher initiated a number of projects including an employee learning system to provide online access to courses and job resources to help employees improve their knowledge, skills and performance. Maher also developed a workforce survey initiative to gain feedback from employees at particular employment milestones. She also completed an HR metrics initiative, profiling the institution’s workforce, uncovering problems and outlining solutions to executive and senior leadership, and reorganized a number of departments resulting in better service and cost savings.

“Institutions have an obligation to help their employees succeed and grow and develop,” Maher said. “It is becoming harder to find well-qualified people. Sensitive employers who are focused on their workforce are investing in their employees by retraining them. In turn, they get better service from their employees because they already know the organization at a deeper level than someone new coming in who doesn’t have the background.”

Maher said that employee feedback is important to improving the Health Science Center’s workforce. “I plan to be involved with campus groups such as the Staff Council, Health and Wellness Committee and others where I can add value,” she said. “Relationships with people are important to me. We need to hear employees’ concerns and represent, as appropriate, their interests.”

At Scripps Health, the health care network, Maher developed an innovative recruiting campaign based on the institution’s brand to attract nurses and other health care professionals in high demand. “California was the first state to experience the nursing shortage,” Maher said. “We plan to apply some of the recruiting principles used in business and other fields that are not often seen in higher education to attract qualified candidates to the Health Science Center.”

Maher also has experience as an educator, having served as a core faculty member in the School of Business and Management at the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif., where she taught a number of courses including human resources management, conflict management and strategic change to graduate and undergraduate students.

While she has only been at the UT Health Science Center for less than a month, Maher already has several projects under way. “I have been meeting with each of the Human Resources employees to see what we are doing and how we can make improvements. Every single person I’ve met is ready to take on new challenges and develop new opportunities for the Health Science Center. We will have a number of key projects aligned with the institution’s strategic direction going very quickly.”

“Everything we are doing is with an eye toward the future,” Maher added. “We are looking for the Office of Human Resources to make collaborative, value-added contributions toward the Health Science Center’s strategic plan, and to become a cutting-edge model of a best practices organization here as well as among health institutions.”

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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is the leading research institution in South Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $576 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $15.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio’s economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $35 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 23,000 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and allied health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, allied health, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit

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