New Jindal School Degree Fills Need for Human Resource Talent

Dr. Jeff Weekley

Dr. Jeff Weekley

UT Dallas is launching a new undergraduate degree program this fall aimed at increasing the number of business graduates with expertise in human resource management.

The Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management will be a 120 semester credit-hour program in the Naveen Jindal School of Management (JSOM) that combines business core classes with specialized training in human resource management, said program director Dr. Jeff Weekley, clinical professor in Organizations, Strategy and International Management.

“Nothing gets done in an organization without the right people in the right place and right time with the right skills who are focused on the right things,” Weekley said. “They think through the people implications of the business strategy and make sure the right human resource (HR) systems are in place to produce the talent needed to execute it.”

He said the program will prepare students for careers as compensation analysts, recruiters, training coordinators or employee-relations specialists, all roles that offer advancement into higher-level HR roles.

 “A company could have the best strategy and the best products in the world, but it will not go anywhere without the right people,” Weekley said. “JSOM has been offering a concentration in organizational behavior and human resources in the BS in Business Administration program. It has been great, but it also has opened our eyes to the fact that HR can and should be available as a stand-alone degree.”

Weekley and his team have assembled an advisory board of chief human resources officers from various companies including Texas Instruments, Lennox, State Farm and Cinemark to review the curriculum, provide site visits and speakers, and help launch the program,

“The program’s advisory board members have all generously volunteered their time because they believe in the mission,” Weekley said. “They’ve all confirmed the gap between demand and supply. In Texas, there are about a dozen or so HR management programs, but they’re almost all south of the Metroplex. If you project the demand for entry level HR jobs here in DFW, the shortfall is about 600 employees.”

The folks that are teaching the core are all pros, so it’s not just words from a textbook. They will be able to teach the students how it’s actually done.

Dr. Jeff Weekley, program director of the new Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management

He said the program is mostly modeled on curriculum guidelines set forth by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

“We did make one change that Jindal School administrators feel is important and in line with educating graduates to be innovative and proactive,” Weekley said. “The SHRM recommends labor relations as a core and change management as an elective. We flipped those. The pace of change in business is occurring at a rate never before seen. Companies that can manage those changes effectively have a key advantage over their competitors.”

Classes will be taught by faculty members with industry experience including Dr. David Ritchey and Edward Meda, who have headed HR and leadership training departments.

“The folks that are teaching the core are all pros, so it’s not just words from a textbook,” Weekley said. “They will be able to teach the students how it’s actually done.”

Students looking to immerse themselves the HR-related extracurricular activities while at UT Dallas can take advantage of multiple resources associated with the program. These include the Society for Human Resource Management at UT Dallas, an active, well-regarded student chapter of SHRM that was recognized with a 2015–2016 Student Chapter Superior Merit Award. They can also connect with DallasHR, a local SHRM affiliate that does student outreach by providing monthly luncheons with guest speakers, networking opportunities and funding for students to attend conferences.

According to Weekley, research is beginning to show the impact of human resources practices on company performance and even stock valuations.

“If you get it right, you can generate a lot of excess value,” he said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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