by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yesterday, I discussed the curriculum undergraduate students often encounter when preparing for a career in HR. In addition to this core HR content, students have additional opportunities to enhance their understanding of human resources through participation in SHRM student chapters. If we are to discuss what HR education is, or should be, it is helpful to know where we are.

SHRM student programs indicates that there are now 450 SHRM student chapters with more than 15,000 members. Of these chapters, approximately 25% submit a student chapter merit award. Similar to the chapter achievement plan that SHRM professional chapters complete, the merit award program focuses on four areas:

  1. Basic Student Chapter Requirements
  2. Chapter Programming and Professional Development of Members
  3. Support of the Human Resource Profession
  4. Partnership with SHRM
Let's look at each of these sections in more detail.

Basic Student Chapter Requirements
This section focuses on four areas:
  1. Professional operation of the chapter - students must submit a MBO statement, chapter bylaws and chapter information form to SHRM. A cope of ethics should be adopted, and the e-board should meet at least four times a year
  2. Chapter leadership - this section details the list of officers, position descriptions, and succession planning
  3. Chapter Communications and web presence - pretty self-explanatory; does the student chapter produce a chapter newsletter, publicize its meetings, provide internship and job openings info, and maintain a web site?
  4. Promotion of SHRM - does the chapter display the appropriate SHRM logo, provide members with updates on SHRM member benefits, display a SHRM banner, and highlight SHRM activities?
Chapter Programming and Professional Development of Members
This is the heart and soul of the SHRM student chapter as it serves to supplement a student's "classroom learning with real-world education/experience and increased opportunities for networking." This section includes:
  1. Program variety - does the chapter offer a number of programs on a variety of subjects related to the HRM field?
  2. Workshops, seminars, conferences, or HRGames sponsorship - does the chapter offer or host such events?
  3. Participation in workshops, seminars, conference or HRGames - does the chapter particiapte in these events?
  4. Internships, mentoring, and career development - does the chapter provide or support internships, job-shadow programs, company visits, mentor programs, or create a resume book?
  5. HR leadership in the community - does the chapter engage in a project to benefit the community?
Support of the HR Profession
  1. Advancing the HR profession - do the student chapter members conduct a research survey or special project (external from class requirements), promote the profession to non-HR majors, promote careers in HR to local high-school or middle-school students, or participate in other student organizations?
  2. Certification - do student chapter members promote the value of HR certification, participate in a HRCI exam prep group, or sit for the PHR exam?
  3. Legislative activity - do students write to members of a local, state, or national legislative body taking a stand on a particular piece of legislationa ffecting the HRM field?
  4. SHRM Foundation and scholarships - does the student chapter contribute to the SHRM Foundation and/or a scholarship benefiting a student in the HR field?
Partnership with SHRM
Student chapters can enhance their networking skills by work with their sposnoring professional chapters, state councils, and SHRM.
  1. Support to sponsoring professional chapter(s) - do students attend professional chapter meetings, assist the sponsored chapter with programs, and/or have a SHRM leader visit a student chapter meeting?
  2. Chapter activities - does the student chapter sponsor a joint chapter activity with another SHRM student chapter or other student organization, and/or promote the chapter activities in various media?
  3. Chapter membership - does the student chapter detail the number of local and national SHRM chapter members?
Outstanding Student Chapter Award
While not required, SHRM awards up to ten Outstanding Student Chapter Awards each year to chapters whose programs or activities are particularly distinguished. Activities can be in the areas of promotion of certification, campus/community service, innovation/technology, programming/education, or recruitment. Winners and details of their programs in the 2008-09 academic year cam be found here.

With that long introduction, what programs offered do you think are particularly useful? Where are student programs missing the boat? What should student chapters really being doing that will help their members prepare for a career in human resources?

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