Silicon Valley Extension welcomes alum as new HR program chair

Philip Ziman, MBA, is the new HR Management chair for UCSC Extension.

The next chapter for HR Management

People in a career transition often reach out to the human resource professional as the neighborhood job whisperer, seeking career advice and inspiration. They ask about the steps should they take, how they can make their resume shine, or get their foot in the door.

For Philip Ziman, a former Silicon Valley HR executive, the best direction he can give to people is to focus on what makes them happy.

“I tell them to find an environment that cultivates their interests as a person,” he says. “Find your passion and be confident in what you do.”

Rejoining the UC Slug Family

In retirement, Ziman is following his own advice. He has been teaching at the Human Resource Management certificate program at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension and recently took over as chair of the well-known HRM program. 

It feels a bit like coming home to his academic—and even familial—roots as his family has a long history with UC Santa Cruz. Ziman earned bachelor’s degrees in Economics and Psychology from UCSC and considers the banana slug (the school mascot) almost part of the family tree. He met his wife at UCSC. His daughter, also a slug alum, met her spouse there as well. He went on to earn an MBA from San Jose State University.

Giving Back to UC

After a long, successful career in HR, Ziman is giving back to the industry. He takes over from program co-chairs David Swanson and Yvette Durazo, both of whom will continue to serve on the program advisory board.

“The program has had great leadership and stability,” Ziman says. “When I came on board I was impressed with the caliber of the people on the advisory board, their experience, and their dedication to professional HR organizations. They are thoughtful about the needs of upcoming HR students.”

Extension HR courses balance specialized skills and general knowledge, as well as best practices for recruiting, compensation, and data-driven decision-making. They offer the flexibility that professionals need to focus on professional development. Many courses provide credit toward certifications with HRCI and SHRM.

“There is an academic quality at UCSC created by a deep history of Silicon Valley professionals teaching from their experience at regional and global companies.

When I was a UCSC student, the professors were willing to write letters of recommendation, help us network, and support our growth. The instructors at Extension know you. It’s a UCSC thing. We relate to and treat students as individual people, not as numbers and faces on a screen. When opportunities arise, we gladly hire them.”

New HR Technologies

As HR professionals are increasingly using AI to improve communication, provide feedback, write stronger job descriptions, and filter through stacks of resumes, Extension instructors are constantly updating their courses to reflect best practices in the industry.

“AI is empowering individuals and HR is all about that,” Ziman says. “A lot of people don’t know how easy and accessible this new technology is. We also need to think about how AI is impacting the careers of existing employees.”

Post-COVID HR Opportunities

One of the lasting shifts that emerged from the COVID shutdown was an elevation of the human resources professional’s role. Organizations desperately turned to human resources professionals for solutions as companies sought to establish new ways to work communicate and collaborate. 

“As we helped organizations through the challenges they faced, we earned a new level of credibility and that’s opened up a lot of careers,” Ziman says.

Organizations are seeing the value of people who can successfully help them manage teams.

“The good news is that opportunities in HR are as great as they’ve ever been.”

Learn more about upcoming human resources courses.

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