April Robinson doesn't have a direct role interacting with students at Lincoln University.
But for the new executive director of human resources, it all circles back.
"I want them to not only be connected to what they do, but it's a connection to who we are and how we serve the students," she said of her colleagues at Lincoln. "A lot of times, we're so driven in our roles that we forget to look up."
Robinson said she tries to make a concerted effort to regularly interact with students. If she can't, she takes comfort knowing that what she does for employees is in turn connected to serving students.
Because seeing students succeed is the mission, she said.
Robinson began serving as Lincoln University's executive director of human resources remotely Nov. 1, 2022, and moved to be in-person on campus at the start of the year.
Lincoln recruited her from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, through a national search. With seven years in higher education and nearly 15 years in human resources, the Jacksonville, Florida, native brings experience in organizational development, leadership coaching, employee recruitment and retention, conflict mediation, employee relations and employment law.
At Lincoln, she serves as an adviser to university administration on personnel issues and leads an office responsible for hiring and keeping employees, training and staff development, salary administration and benefits counseling, labor and employee relations and records management, among other areas.
Robinson said she's been extremely busy as she settles into the role.
"Everything is going quite well, getting settled in and learning the processes and things like that, and getting to know the people," she said. "This town is extremely friendly."
Robinson has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Jones College in Jacksonville and holds a dual-degree master of science in health care and project management from Kaplan University.
"I've always been connected to people," she said, explaining how she fell into the field of human resources.
"How I ended up in project management, who knows. But it wasn't very long before I decided. I said I have a connection to people, and I wanted to use the talent and skills of helping connect people and work," Robinson continued.
Robinson said she's excited to take the helm of Lincoln's HR department and bring some fresh eyes to university processes.
Lincoln has an ongoing salary survey that is expected to be completed this spring. University President John Moseley said he expects it to reveal some university staff are underpaid compared to their peers at similar institutions.
The university has also been the subject of a few employment discrimination lawsuits during the past decade, one of which is scheduled for trial this week.
Robinson said the university has several opportunities for improvement as it moves forward under fresh leadership.
"A lot of things I've been able to do in Atlanta, I look forward to bringing to the table and seeing what we can do here in Missouri," she said.