EKU’s College of Business and Technology is home to a variety of unique programs such as Risk Management and Insurance, PGA Golf Management, Graphic Communication Management, and Aviation.
However, one of the rarest gems hidden within the walls of the Business and Technology Complex is the Human Resource Management (HRM) program. Now 20 years later the program is celebrating its highest enrollment to date. What makes this Management degree option so special? Over the past two decades this program has maintained dedicated faculty, proven coursework, a student organization, the Maroon SHRM, and produced several excellent graduates in the field of HR.
The HRM program was created in 1994 by Dr. Michael Roberson, Professor of Management, and is offered through EKU's School of Business. The curriculum is currently taught by two highly engaged faculty members, Dr. Roberson and Dr. Allen Engle. Both Roberson and Engle have been international contributors to the field of HR management.
Roberson has conducted presentations abroad in a wide variety of countries including China, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Austria. Likewise, Engle holds a three-year appointment as Visiting Professor at the ESCP-Europe Europäische Wirtschaftshochschule Berlin, has been Visiting Lecturer at the FHS - Hochschule Für Technik, Wirtschaft und Soziale Arbeit, St. Gallen in Switzerland, and Visiting Professor of International Management at the University of Pécs in Hungary. He is also the recipient of many awards from EKU including the EKU National Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004, the EKU Business Jack L. Dyer Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008, and was named EKU Foundation Professor in 2013. Together this duo brings an invaluable level of both academic and international experience grounded in practical application.
EKU’s HRM program is the only one of its kind in this region with the ability to package the theory and application of HR in terms of best practices. “One benefit of the HR program is that it is offered as a Bachelor of Business Administration, which provides a broader context of business,” stated Dr. Engle.
The program consists of introductory HR management courses, as well as four advanced courses in labor relations, compensation management, employee recruitment and selection, and human resource development. These courses provide academic instruction in key areas which better prepare students to take the Professional Human Resources certification (PHR).
“This labor intensive curriculum involves a hands-on approach which has proven to be both challenging and successful for our students,” commented Roberson. These advanced courses allow application and take on several different forms:
- Labor Relations - Students are organized into teams and work through the labor negotiation processes as both management and labor.
- Compensation Management - Students use software involving a fictional company completing a four phase process of compensating employees.
- Human Resource Development - Students are placed in regional businesses and are required to complete both a training needs analysis and training recommendations to be presented to clients on site.
- Employee Recruitment and Selection - Students get an in-depth look at recruitment, the design and implementation of effective selection procedures which facilitates organizational effectiveness and which complies with federal/state requirements.
In addition to the four advanced courses, the student-run organization Maroon SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), is advised by Dr. Engle. In the past the organization has benefited from a diverse mix of student perspectives covering a number of activities be they professional, charitable, service, or social in nature. Maroon SHRM provides students the opportunity to exercise their leadership, bring in guest speakers, and ease the transition from being a student to being a practicing professional. This organization helps students gain additional insights into the expectations of HR managers meeting professional expectations and succeeding in professional roles.
One of the most effective ways to gauge a program’s success is to measure its output - successful alumni. EKU’s HRM program has graduated a total of 111 alumni since its origins in 1994. Several are currently employed at companies in vital HR roles. One such alumna, Diane French Nguyen, VP Director of Human Resources, Global Production at Brown-Forman, will be recognized as a Distinguished Alumna on April 4, 2014. The HRM program strives to provide a pipeline connection between professional alumni and students, which allows for positive networking balance between the two. In the past alumni have filled the roles of guest speakers to help provide perspectives not present in the classroom. These alumni help continue the success cycle for future graduates.
Whether it is the dedicated faculty, proven coursework, student organization, or high level of success among graduates, EKU’s HRM program is rising to the challenge. All of these critical pieces have contributed to its two decades of celebrated success. Having witnessed the evolution of the program in its entirety, Dr. Roberson proudly boasted, “Our program has the largest number of students enrolled in 20 years.”
Whatever the reasons students have clearly seen the many advantages to participating in this demanding program and the future of HRM at EKU is bright.
Still not Convinced?
- In 2012 the US median salary of HR Managers was $99,720.
- In 2012 the Kentucky median salary of HR Managers was $78,700.
- HR Management projected to grow at a 13% rate from 2012–2022, highlighting a increasing need for HR professional in the coming years.
- written by Andrew J. Stofleth, Student Assistant
EKU College of Business and Technology