About Us

Mission Statement
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Human Resources team department’s mission is to provide strategic and high quality services to students, staff, and faculty in support of the university’s mission to improve the human condition and be a transformative force in the world. This includes leadership in labor and Employee Relations, personnel management services, staffing, compensation, benefits administration and consultation on all workforce issues.

Utilizing our knowledge base and working as a team, we will provide excellent service to our entire customer base in a timely, efficient, and confidential manner, consistent with the goals of the institution.

Vision Statement
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Human Resources team will become a highly sought after strategic partner of the university, creating/sustaining a university culture of high productivity, student centeredness, and balanced quality of work and life.

Our Location

Campus Location
The Department of Human Resources Office is located in University Services Building (US-B) 100, across from the tennis courts. Please refer to the campus map for more information.

Mailing Address
Department of Human Resources
2801 South University Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72204

Campus Map: Human Resources

Meet Our Team


LaTonda Williams
Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources

LaTonda is the Associate Vice Chancellor of Human Resources.  LaTonda is responsible for overseeing a broad range of activities including employee benefits, recruitment, employee relations, policy interpretation, training and development, and the overall operations of the department. LaTonda provides guidance regarding disciplinary procedures, oversees the departmental budget, and ensures compliance with state and federal employment laws.

Benefits Team

Debra Simpson-Webster
Associate Director of Benefits/Leave Administration

Debra is responsible for the day-to-day administration of employee benefits, FMLA, Catastrophic Leave, Medical Leave Without Pay, and Workers Compensation. Debra administers employee benefits programs, such as medical, dental, and vision plans; life insurance plans, 403(b) and 457(b) retirement plans,  and defined benefit retirement plans; long-term disability, flexible spending programs, and voluntary products.  Debra also handles retiree benefits and processes death insurance claims.  Debra responds to benefit inquiries and complaints to ensure quick and courteous resolutions.

Cynthia Evans
Human Resources Specialist – Benefits/Leave Administration

Cynthia is responsible for the accounting duties of benefits. This includes payments for retirement plans, flexible spending, voluntary products, and UA System benefit payments. Cynthia processes COBRA for new and terminating employees, reconciles monthly enrollment for health, dental, and vision insurance, and assists the Associate Director as needed with the completion of required reports. Cynthia is responsible for processing requests for FMLA, Catastrophic Leave, Medical Leave Without Pay, and Workers’ Compensation.

Employee Relations

Karen Baker
Employee Relations Manager/EEO Officer/ADA Coordinator

Karen supports UA Little Rock employees by providing guidance on the grievance and complaint process and facilitating and mediating conflict resolutions. Karen is responsible for requests for accommodations under the ADA and ensures business practices comply with state and federal employment laws.

HR Business Partners (HRBP)

Each Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) is assigned to work directly with departments and colleges to address their individual HR needs.

Valarie Abrams
HRBP for College of Business, Health, and Human Services

Candi Barnum
HRBP for:

  • Vice Chancellor – Advancement
  • Vice Chancellor – Athletics
  • Vice Chancellor – Finance and Administration
  • Vice Chancellor – Student Affairs
  • Vice Chancellor – University Affairs

Lewis Howell
HRBP for:

  • College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Graduate School
  • Provost Office
  • School of Law

Connie Thorbs
HRBP for College of Humanities, Arts, Social Science, and Education

IT Services for HR

Sylvester Cartwright
Programmer Analyst

Sylvester supports the efforts of the Department of Human Resources by facilitating the collection, analysis, and interpretation of institutional data. Sylvester is responsible for troubleshooting and problem solving to resolve hardware and software problems and maintaining the HR website.


Michele Curd
Associate Director of Personnel/HRIS

Michele is the Associate Director of Personnel and HRIS.  Michele oversees personnel matters, such as onboarding, ensures classification and compensation comply with state guidelines, submits legislative reports, monitors employment authorizations, supervises the record retention program, and directs the daily activities of the Personnel area.


Ophelia Dedner
Associate Director of Recruitment

Ophelia is the Associate Director of Recruitment. Ophelia oversees the recruitment area by performing a wide variety of employment functions in support of the day-to-day operations of the university’s hiring processes. Ophelia directs the daily activities of recruiting and provides guidance to managers on the recruitment process, search waivers, job advertisements, and related areas.

Title IX

Emily Bell
Director of Title IX

Emily is the designated university official with primary responsibility for coordinating the university’s compliance with Title IX. This includes providing leadership for Title IX activities; providing consultation, education, and training; and helping to ensure the university responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to Title IX issues.

Training & Development

Katisha King
Training and Development Manager/Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Katisha is responsible for university-wide employee training, including supervisory and management training, leadership coaching, and development. She is also responsible for providing employee and student training on sexual violence and other Title IX-related topics. She serves as Title IX Coordinator in the absence of the Title IX Director.