Harriette Royer acknowledges that she has some big shoes to fill as she steps into her new role of University intercessor. But she says she’s excited for the challenge.
Royer, a senior career consultant for the Simon School’s Career Management Center, took the reins this month from Kathy Sweetland, who is retiring after 37 years with the University.
Founded in the early 1970s, the Office of the Intercessor works with students, staff, and faculty across the entire institution. Typically, intercessors assist with relationship problems among peers or with supervisors, harassment or discrimination concerns, diversity issues, and workplace accommodation needs. Intercessors also meet with departments to arrange for educational workshops and presentations.
“One of the hallmarks of a great university is the ability to find common ground when concerns arise among faculty, staff, and students,” says Peter Lennie, provost and Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of faculty of Arts, Sciences & Engineering. “As intercessor, Kathy has left an indelible mark not only for her sensitive professionalism in finding resolutions to specific issues but also for the example of her leadership in helping strengthen our shared sense of working together as a community. I am confident that Harriette will build on Kathy’s tenure in leading the Office of the Intercessor, further strengthening connections across campus and among colleagues.”
Royer has worked as an apprentice to Sweetland for nearly two years. During that time, she has been involved with the University’s disability coordinating group and diversity and inclusion committee, and she has assisted with presentations at new student orientation sessions.
Royer also worked with Sweetland and Stanley Byrd, human resources manager for multicultural affairs and inclusion, to give a presentation on respect and dignity in the workplace at last year’s University-wide diversity conference last spring.
Sweetland became full-time intercessor in 1998 after serving in a part-time capacity for more than three years. She says she’s pleased with how the intercessor position has evolved and says it’s been “fascinating” to work with students, faculty, and staff from all parts of the University.
Royer says she’s interested in “maturing the relationships Kathy worked so hard to establish and building strong ties with others across the University.” She will work with Frederick Jefferson, professor emeritus, the University’s other intercessor.
Sweetland, who last year received the University’s Witmer Award for Distinguished Service, has been a leader in staff and faculty diversity initiatives, serving as cochair of the University’s diversity and inclusion committee and on the faculty diversity officer committee. She has also explored new methods of dealing with conflict, including restorative practices—something she’ll continue to pursue in retirement as a board member for Rochester’s Partners in Restorative Initiatives. Sweetland will also continue her work on the board of Rochester Rehabilitation.
Contact Royer at 275-9125.