A lawyer on campus
P. Mark Ghan, 53, was recently appointed as the new Vice President of Human Resources and General Counsel for Western Nevada Community College. During his 21 years as a lawyer Ghan has worked with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office doing civil and employment litigation.
He is married with four kids ranging in age from 11-25.
What are you duties at WNCC?
My responsibilities include overseeing the human resources department, which is responsible for all contracts with faculty and staff at the college.
There are a number of issues with contracts and compliance with federal and state laws and abiding by the applicable rules in hiring, discipline and termination.
My job also includes providing legal advice to the college and representing the college in employment litigation, property transactions and contracts.
Why did you accept this position?
I’ve been a lawyer for a long time but this shifts my focus and gives me an opportunity to bring the legal skills I’ve acquired to one institution and use them in a different way. This is one of those jobs that you are just fortunate to get to have.
What is the biggest challenge in your new position?
Here, like for educational institutions in general, it’s to provide better service to the campus community with the same amount of resources. To increase our customer service, making human resource services more accessible to faculty and staff and to do it creatively with the same resources.
Why did you want to become a lawyer?
The law has provided a lifelong challenge in improving my skills as an advocate and as an advisor. It’s the old saying … ‘Man’s reach should always exceed his grasp.’ Lawyers can constantly try to get better and that’s satisfying to me.
A year from now, how will you judge your success?
I think if we have improved our ability to serve the campus community as a human resources office and if we can keep legal matters to a minimum, we’ll have succeeded. Part of what human resources does, specifically for me as a lawyer, is preventative.
What is the best part of your job?
That we actually can solve problems and we can help employees. We never know what will come up in a day, but we can usually come up with a satisfactory answer.
What don’t a lot of people know about you?
I’m actually an amateur winemaker, that’s a hobby I enjoy.