Senior HR generalist at Sweet Briar selected for CUPA-HR Wildfire Program

Posted on July 19, 2018 by Janika Carey

Ashley Dugger
Ashley Dugger, senior HR generalist and Title IX coordinator at Sweet Briar College, is one of 12 College and University Professional Association for Human Resources members selected to participate in the 2018-19 CUPA-HR Wildfire program. The program offers a 12-month leadership development experience designed for early-career human resources professionals in higher education.

Dugger and the other program participants make up the fifth Wildfire class and will have the opportunity to develop their professional skills through tailored learning experiences including mentorship, a shadow visit on the campus of a higher-ed HR leader, attending the CUPA-HR Annual Conference and Expo and completing a year-end project highlighting the insights they gain throughout the year.

“I am incredibly honored to be chosen to participate in the CUPA-HR Wildfire 2018-2019 cohort,” Dugger said. “CUPA-HR is a fantastic resource for higher education HR professionals, and the opportunity to connect with other HR leaders, share resources and learn from some of the strongest HR talent in the industry will be so rewarding and exciting! It is also inspiring to see the continued support for Sweet Briar College within the higher-ed community.”

Dugger began her career in higher education managing the admissions and enrollment functions for Liberty University’s online programs. In addition to more than 12 years of experience spanning higher education, operations management and nonprofit leadership, Dugger also serves as a full-time faculty member for Independence University’s online business program, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate-level business courses.

Ashley Dugger and Nicole Whitehead Ashley Dugger (left) and Nicole Whitehead during a meeting

Dugger joined Sweet Briar in February of 2016 as a human resources specialist, transitioning over the next two years to serve as a generalist, then to her current role as senior generalist and Title IX coordinator. She holds a doctorate in business administration with a focus in management, an MBA in international business and a B.S. in business marketing. In December of 2017, Dugger also received her SHRM-CP designation.

“I am extremely excited that Ashley was selected for this highly competitive and selective development opportunity,” said Nicole Whitehead, director of human resources and community engagement at Sweet Briar. “She is a lifelong learner and seeks best practices and networking opportunities that will strengthen her ability to be a credible activist to all constituents. Ashley is a tremendous asset to the College, and we look forward to the innovative practices and thought leadership she will glean from the program that will support our mission of excellence.”

This year’s program received more than 150 applications. Participants were selected based on their HR strengths and areas for development identified on the program application, as well as their interest in and commitment to the program.

The program formally kicked off on July 12 during CUPA-HR’s annual Association Leadership Program, which brings together association leaders from across the country to connect with one another, share ideas and be immersed in all that is CUPA-HR.

“We are very pleased to celebrate the beginning of our fifth Wildfire class,” says CUPA-HR President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Brantley. “Every organization must be committed to the development of early-career professionals. The full-year experience these professionals receive through the Wildfire program is not only an outstanding leadership development opportunity for them, but also a great opportunity for our higher-ed HR leaders to give back and help prepare the next generation of higher-ed leaders.”

Wildfire program facilitators include Mark Coldren, associate vice president for HR at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York; David Blake, Ph.D., vice president for human resources at California Western School of Law; and Julie Boggs, director of member marketing and engagement at CUPA-HR.

“Working closely with these early-career professionals is one of the association’s most important initiatives,” Coldren says. “The Wildfire experience represents our commitment to assist with the development of talented higher education HR professionals. The folks who have completed the program and the new cohort are nothing short of awesome, and I am privileged to get to work with them.”