Human Resources Master’s Program Aligns with SHRM Guidelines

News Story: July 24, 2013

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has announced that Sacred Heart University’s master’s in human resource management program (HRM) successfully aligns with the SHRM Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. SHU is one of only two universities in Connecticut to hold that distinction.

“Everyone here is really excited about it, because it’s a significant advantage for the program,” said Leanna Lawter, assistant professor of management in HRM. “It’s a thoughtful process – one that I think is very worthwhile and that adds a lot of value to our program. It reinforces that our graduates have the tools that a business recognizes as necessary to being successful in human resources.”

Lawter said that aligning with the SHRM guidelines is important to educating students that will be highly coveted by companies looking to hire top human resources professionals. “HR jobs have generally come in two forms — specialists and generalists,” she said. “But what a lot of companies look for now is someone who can do both. Our program offers courses that give students theoretical understanding as well as practical application — so that they can assume either specialists or generalist roles.”

Companies are also looking for HR professionals who can help with strategic planning in the areas of talent acquisition and retention, employee engagement, succession planning, leadership development and much more, noted Michael Carriger, assistant professor of management and director of the program.  “Anything that companies can do to keep employees happy and engaged, minimize voluntary turnover and ensure that the right people are hired and promoted will positively impact the bottom line. These are areas of focus that will ensure that graduates of SHU’s HRM program will be an immediate asset to anyone who hires them,” he said. 

The master’s in human resource management is a new program launching at SHU for the upcoming fall (2013) semester. Though aimed primarily at professionals with at least a few years of general experience in the workforce, it requires no previous HR degree or experience. The coursework is designed in a blended format — part online and part Saturday classes — to accommodate the scheduling needs of full-time professionals. The 33-credit degree can be completed in less than two years.

Throughout the world, 316 programs in 237 educational institutions have been acknowledged by SHRM as aligning with its suggested guides and templates. The HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates were developed by SHRM to define the minimum HR content areas that should be studied by human resources students 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 to help universities develop degree programs that follow these standards.

“As a university that aligns its HR master’s program with SHRM’s curriculum guidelines, Sacred Heart can show potential students that it follows the standard established for HR content areas a university should include in its HR degrees,” said Nancy Woolever, director of academic initiatives at SHRM. “When establishing and revalidating the curriculum guidelines, SHRM values and includes input from faculty who teach HR and from practitioners who hire recent graduates of HR degree programs. By aligning with SHRM’s guidelines, Sacred Heart offers a solid program in HR that is both broad and deep — one that provides its students the well-rounded, business-based education in HR sought by today’s employers.” 

SHU’s master’s in human resource management program, part of the Welch College of Business, is based at its Stamford (Connecticut) campus, near the heart of one of the state’s largest corporate centers and just 40 miles from New York City.