M&IS 44195 Spring 2009 DuBois
Advanced Topics / PRACTICUM IN HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
M&IS 44195, Spring 2009
Dr. Cathy DuBois
Office: BSA A412
Phone: 672-1157; 672-2448 (fax; be sure to use a cover page)
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours: Tuesday & Thursday 10:30-1:00 (or by appointment)
FOCUS/PURPOSE of the course
This course was designed for students with an undergraduate HRM minor or an MBA HRM concentration, to provide a bridge between your HRM coursework and the world of HRM practice. This course will provide a variety of learning experiences. The goal is that you will gain broad knowledge and some experience to prepare you to embark on a career in the HRM profession. Upon completion of this course, students should have much to discuss in a job interview, and perhaps a useful entry on your resumes.
This course will have two main projects:
HR Games / PHR Certification Preparation
SHRM sponsors the HR games every year, a competitive learning opportunity that is designed to help students prepare for the PHR certification exam. This year the University of Akron will host the regional HR games. The competition takes place on Saturday, February 28. With more than a month’s advance notice, my hope is that all of you will be free to participate. Should you have a conflict that day, documentation will be required. Unfortunately this is a competition for undergraduates only, but graduate students in this course are encouraged to fill volunteer roles that day and network with the many area professionals who will be working the event.
The competition is a series of questions asked Jeopardy-style. It occurs in rounds, with teams advancing to the next round after a win. Because teams consist of 3 people, it’s efficient if each team member has specialized areas for which they are responsible. Our competition preparation will be set up this way, with the following groups:
Recruiting / Selection
Performance Appraisal / Training & Development
Compensation & Benefits / Unions
Those of you who have taken courses in Training/Development and Compensation/Benefits will have a sound foundation in those areas.
Should any of our teams advance to the State finals, the State level competition will occur later in the semester. We will cross that bridge when we come to it!
For many of you, study for the HR games will evolve into study for the PHR certification exam. Two students who took this course last year have passed the PHR exam, and will visit the class to discuss the exam and provide advice on preparation strategies. Taking the PHR exam is not a requirement of this course. Should you choose to take the exam, you will register on your own for a testing date of your convenience and pay the fee for the exam.
Small Business HR Work
There are two options for practical work experience:
1. RIFCO HR Projects
Class participants can also participate in project work for a small business in Cleveland, RIFCO. Projects include updating their employee handbook, updating/creating job descriptions, creating a safety manual and creating procedures for quality assurance. Students will work in project teams according to interest to accomplish the required tasks.
2. Service Learning HR Project
Students who would like to support a nonprofit organization of their choice can work on any type of HR project for that organization. The array of project work is broad, and will be determined by the organization. Sample project work might include: help with recruiting and selection, designing a performance appraisal system or training programs, seeking area wage and benefit information, locating updated information on compliance with the full range of HR law, both federal and state. Students should take on a small project that can be completed during the course of the semester. Consultation with the professor will help you frame the project. It is highly recommended that students work in small groups of 2-4 people on these projects, so it is not necessary for every student to find an organization to assist.
The format of this course will vary from week to week throughout the course. Class time will be spent doing group work, the focus of which will vary throughout the course. Students will do research outside of class weekly, which will provide the basis for our discussions and work during class. Students will work in self-managed teams throughout the semester, the composition of which is likely to change throughout the semester. The professor will meet weekly with each group. Class time will also be used for several speakers.
Each student should expect to spend a minimum of 5 hours each week outside of class, and more than that to earn an A in the course. Each week you will leave class with a completed Goal / Activity form, on which you will have outlined your goals and tasks for the week. Each student is responsible to fill out a form each week, with goals and activities identified prior to leaving class, and the remainder filled in as the week progresses. Use these forms to track time spent, task progress, important resource information, roadblocks, etc. Bring completed forms to class each week for discussion (i.e., bring forms for every week to class each week.)
Team leaders will be selected at the beginning of the semester. I’ll ask for volunteers to supply their credentials and reasons for wanting to take on this position. The team leaders play an essential role in the success of this course. I can’t be with all teams at once, so they are conduits for information – communication is much more effective among the whole group with the use of team leaders. There is extra work involved in being a team leader, but it’s a great opportunity and makes a nice entry on your resume!
As the instructor I will provide overall structure for the course, as well as intellectual guidance. For project work I will primarily serve as a catalyst. That is, you can expect me to function in a manner similar to a manager in a work setting. I will provide the support necessary to ensure the nature of the project is understood, and I will provide goal clarification and guidance throughout the semester. I will also explain concepts and procedures as needed. However, I will not tell you specifically what to do at each step of the project, nor will I actually do the project. The output will be what you create. I’ll continually review what you create and provide feedback, and you will use that feedback as well as your own knowledge and ideas to create project outputs. I do reserve the right to make final edits where necessary, but the need for this should be minimal.
All deliverables and presentations for project work must be complete by the last week of classes. Finals week will be reserved for completing your individual project reports.
PHR/SPHR Professional in Human Resources Certification Study Guide, 2nd ed.
Anne M. Bogardus, Wiley Publishers, Indianapolis, IN.
Expect to do lots of reading for this course. The study guide is organized well to organize the information you need to acquire; it is an invaluable resource. The Small Business HR Projects will require internet and library research to seek additional information that is necessary to meet specific project requirements. Much student initiative will be necessary here, and students will need to share what they have learned with one another.
REQUIRED NATIONAL SHRM MEMBERSHIP
All students are required to purchase a student membership in the National Society for Human Resource Management. This is an invaluable professional resource that you will find very useful both in this course and in the world of HR work. Proof of your membership must be submitted to the professor no later than January 30.
Because coordination of the various group efforts and communication about deliverables for this project are done during class time, it is imperative that students attend class. The implications for missing class in this course are greater than they are in most courses because all projects require group work. Because a great deal of work will be accomplished each week in the project teams, your contributions will be missed if you are absent. Absences can have negative implications for others who are depending on your inputs, on meeting timelines throughout the projects, and on the quality of the projects we deliver to the organizations.
If you must miss class, you must contact me or your group leader before class (by phone, e-mail, in person, etc.). Your attendance will be excused only if you have a university-approved reason.
Note: If you have more than 2 excused absences, or if you have any unexcused absences, you will not receive an A in the course.
Semester grades will be based on:
Attendance (10%): As noted earlier, your presence is vital to the work of others.
Practice test results (20%): Several practice tests will be taken during the semester; test grades will be averaged equally.
Peer evaluations (20%): Since you will work in self-managed teams throughout the semester, your team peers will be well informed about your performance. Students will fill out evaluation forms and assign grades to all group members.
Team Leader evaluation (10%): Your Team leader will review your goal sheets on a weekly basis, and will be highly knowledgeable about your contributions and initiative. The Team leader will fill out evaluation forms and assign grades to all group members.
Note: Team leaders will have this portion of your grade assigned by the professor.
Instructor evaluation of small business projects (40%): The instructor will evaluate the quality of the final product, and will recognize individual contributions to the whole.
Project Contributions 40%
Attitude / Conscientiousness 20%
Goal/Activity sheets 20%
Final Report (20%): A summary of your experiences and learning in this course.
I will use +/- grades for this course. Assignment of final grades will most likely be: 92+ A, 90-91 A-, 88-89 B+, 82-87 B, 80-81 B-, 78-79 C+, 72-77 B, 70-71 C-, 68-69 D+, 60-67 D, 0-59 F. I reserve the right to curve these final grades, up or down, based on overall class performance.
Note: project work expectations for graduate students are higher than for undergraduate students, but and grading components are the same.
Each student will write a final report that summarizes their experiences in this course. The report should be 10-15 pages (double spaced; not counting cover page) and should contain the following sections in paragraph form (please use subheadings!):
- Your projects (25%)
- Brief definition of your projects
- Your role in your project teams
- How your teams functioned (communication, timeliness, initiative, etc)
- Your contributions to the projects (25%)
- Work you did, outputs you created*
- References* you used during the project
- HR content* that you learned from this project
- What could have been improved (25%)
- In project organization
- in project outputs
- in your performance
- What you learned about yourself from this project (25%)
- Your personal goals, as specified at the beginning of the course
- How your performance met your specified goals by the end of the course
- Additional insights you gained about your work habits, teamwork, interest in the field of HRM, etc.
- Related goals for your future development
* items should be written about in general categories; each of these should have corresponding detailed lists, single spaced, in the appendix.
Please do some meaningful introspection throughout this course about your role in the group and what it takes to work synergistically and effectively in a group.
A notebook is required. Place the report in the front of the notebook, followed by your Goal/Activity sheets in sequential order. If any goal sheets are missing, considerable points will be deducted from your grade. Be sure to use high quality, professional writing, as a portion of your grade will be linked to the quality of your writing.
Report due date: May 12, by 5 pm (I must receive hard-copy by that time)
How to succeed in this course:
Please note that both the quality and the quantity of your contributions are critical. Doing a lot is not sufficient; you must do a lot well. Similarly, doing a little well is not sufficient; you must do a lot well, on a consistent basis, throughout the course. Our semester will be much more enjoyable and productive if everyone strives for excellent work.
If your personal goal is to do less than A quality work (that is, you would be satisfied with a B or a C), that is fine – I don’t expect everyone to want/need an A. Project work will flow more smoothly if each group member is honest about grade goals with group members so that work can be planned/shared accordingly.
Below is the performance rating scale created by a prior class for their small business project; I liked it so much I adopted it for use in this course.
Performance Definitions for Grade Assignments
Performance is significantly above expectations on a consistent basis.
Performance is clearly and frequently above what is required.
Performance is dependable and meets the minimum performance standards.
Performance is deficient in particular areas. Improvement is necessary.
Results that are achieved are generally unacceptable and require immediate improvement and attention.
A FINAL WORD ON INITIATIVE
This class is structured very differently than usual academic courses. Keep in mind that it is the responsibility of each individual student to make sure s/he is contributing each week throughout the semester. You will not necessarily be given a specific assignment just for you each week. Therefore, you must take the initiative to make sure you know what your own contribution will be each week, and make sure that you are consistently contributing to the projects and keeping up with the project schedules. Your Goal/Activity sheets will help you stay on track – use them!
It is your responsibility to make sure that your ideas are heard throughout the semester, both with respect to project direction and team functioning. No one can address your needs if you don’t communicate them clearly. The culture of this class will be very supportive, so you should feel comfortable communicating honestly throughout the semester. If for any reason you don’t feel supported, please speak to your team leader or to me about this immediately so that we can maintain a functional work environment throughout the semester.
If you are unsure of what you are to do at any time, it is your responsibility to speak up and find out what needs to be done. Discuss this first with your team, then with the project leader(s), then with the instructor. If you find that you are not very busy with this course, you are probably not doing what you should be doing! Finally, please be timely in your work. Project schedules will be set, and must be adhered to rather rigidly in order to complete the project during the semester.
KSU SHRM membership:
All students are expected to join KSU SHRM. Meetings occur on Wednesdays at 5:00. You are encouraged to attend meetings, and to participate in Akron SHRM events. KSU SHRM can provide wonderful professional opportunities when students actively participate.
Information from the KSU College of Business Administration
The Following Policies Apply to All Students in this Course
A. Students attending the course who do not have the proper prerequisite risk being deregistered from the class.
B. Students have responsibility to ensure they are properly enrolled in classes. You are advised to review your official class schedule (using Student Tools/Flashfast) during the first two weeks of the semester to ensure you are properly enrolled in this class and section. Should you find an error in your class schedule, you have until Friday, January 30, 2009 to correct the error with your advising office. If registration errors are not corrected by this date and you continue to attend and participate in classes for which you are not officially enrolled, you are advised now that you will not receive a grade at the conclusion of the semester for any class in which you are not properly registered.
C. Academic Honesty: Cheating means to misrepresent the source, nature, or other conditions of your academic work (e.g., tests, papers, projects, assignments) so as to get undeserved credit. The use of the intellectual property of others without giving them appropriate credit is a serious academic offense. It is the University's policy that cheating or plagiarism result in receiving a failing grade for the work or course. Repeat offenses result in dismissal from the University.
D. For Spring 2009, the course withdrawal deadline is Sunday, April 5, 2009. Withdrawal before the deadline results in a "W" on the official transcript; after the deadline a grade must be calculated and reported.
E. Students with disabilities: University policy 3342-3-18 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access equal access course content. If you have documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through the Student Accessibility Services (contact 330-672-3391 or visit www.kent.edu/sas for more information on registration procedures).