Human Resource Management curriculum recognized by the Society for Human Resource Management
Growing in popularity, the Girard School’s human resource management curriculum is now fully aligned with the standards of the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society.
SHRM’s recognition of Girard’s program gives Merrimack College students an advantage in seeking HR internships or employment, says Professor Paul Antonellis Jr., a management professor and director of the human resource management program.
‘‘The employer will now know that the student has been exposed to an in-depth curriculum that allows Merrimack College students to acquire the requisite knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors and experiences to be successful,” Antonellis said.
Students who complete the curriculum can take the SHRM’s Assurance of Learning Assessment, an examination that tests their mastery of HR content. Those who pass the exam earn either a proficient or advanced certificate, rating their knowledge required to perform HR responsibilities.
“Students use the certificate of learning to distinguish themselves in the job market,” Antonellis said.
SHRM has acknowledged that Girard’s human resource management curriculumfully aligns with SHRM’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. Throughout the world, 432 programs in 330 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM as being in alignment with its suggested guides and templates. SHRM developed its HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates to define the minimum HR content areas that HR students should study at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The guidelines, created in 2006 and revalidated in 2010 and 2013, are part of SHRM’s Academic Initiative to define HR education standards taught in university business schools and help universities develop degree programs that follow these standards.
Merrimack is now listed on the SHRM website as a school offering an HR program.
“The demand for human resource management students is on the rise,” said Antonellis.
Four years ago, Girard’s HRM class had seven students; this past spring, it had grown to 30 students. About 20 students have declared an HR minor or a management concentration with a focus on HR, he said.
“We have had several local employers express interest in hiring HR interns now that the program is beginning to grow,” he said.
Students who minor in HR may begin a career in a generalist HR position.
“The generalist may be working on payroll in the morning and conducting employment interviews mid-day while the day may end answering questions on benefits for a current employee,” Antonellis said. Some Merrimack graduates who majored in accounting and took HR classes have gone on to work in payroll and benefits.
Becoming aligned with SHRM standards was a two-year process for the school, requiring changes in the curriculum and requirements for the HR minor.
Girard students must take three required courses in business and management and choose two additional management courses. They learn about what it takes to meet the needs of people in the workplace and develop the strategic, functional and personal skills necessary in HR positions.
The next goal, Antonellis said, is to develop a Merrimack student chapter of SHRM that will assist students with coursework, networking and job searches. Chapter members will be encouraged to attend professional HR workshops, seminars and conferences.