Jack Witt Named Kent State's New Vice President for Human Resources
Following a national search, Kent State University has selected F. Jack Witt III as its new vice president for human resources. A Kent State alumnus, Witt currently serves as vice president of human resources and administration at Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio. He joins Kent State on Sept. 6.
Witt will be the senior officer responsible for the oversight of the university's Division of Human Resources. He will direct the component activities of the division, which includes talent acquisition, equal opportunity and affirmative action, employee development, compensation, records, employee engagement, labor relations, wellness and benefits. He will report to Mark Polatajko, the senior vice president for finance and administration.
"I am very excited to have Jack join Kent State as the vice president for human resources," Polatajko says. "His philosophy of 'employee care' and 'client service' speaks to the importance of valuing and being supportive of our faculty and staff. Jack also brings with him a wealth of HR experience, particularly in the areas of compensation, benefits, employee relations and labor relations, which will be beneficial as he leads our team of HR professionals.
"I would also like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to Vice President of General Counsel Willis Walker, who in 2015 took on the additional duties as interim vice president for human resources," Polatajko adds.
As vice president for human resources, Witt will ensure that all human resources programs and initiatives are integrated and effective in supporting the overall mission, goals and objectives of the institution.
"I am looking forward to being part of the exciting developments at Kent State," Witt says. "The Division of Human Resources has implemented many important initiatives for the university. It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with the HR team – and the broader Kent community – with a focus on continuing to enhance the appreciation and success of employees and, by extension, of students."
Witt joined Owens Community College in 2012, where he is responsible for the overall leadership of human resources, labor relations and legal services. In conjunction with this, he also is designated an assistant attorney general (Education Section) in the Office of the Ohio Attorney General. He was previously vice president for human resources at Macomb Community College and director of human resources for Genesee County, both in Michigan. Prior to entering the public sector in 2005, Witt spent 25 years working in labor relations, employment law and human resources with several major corporations, including Ford Motor Co., May Department Stores (now Macy's Inc.), Kmart Corp. and A&P Co.
Admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1978, he is a member of the American Bar Association and the Society for Human Resources Management. He earned a certificate in benefits and compensation management from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans and is an HR Certified Professional by the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. For 16 years, Witt also has taught courses on labor relations and collective bargaining, human resource management, employee benefits, legal studies, and business ethics and policy at New York University Management Institute (1995-1998), Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations (1999-2000) and Wayne State University School of Business Administration and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2004-present).
Witt earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science degree from Tulane University, a Master of Public Administration from Kent State, and both a Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University.
Witt and his wife, Leslie, will relocate to the Kent area from Toledo. They have two grown children.
For more information about Kent State's Division of Human Resources, visit www.kent.edu/hr.