Someone Like You

by Matthew Stollak on Wednesday, October 20, 2010

At the HREvolution Unconference last May, I was challenged by a certain Trench HR professional, despite my Ph.D. in Human Resource Management and SPHR certification, that my credibility in the field was limited since I was not a "true" HR professional. Shhh....I have a secret....

I have been practicing HR in my job as a professor for over 15 years. How so?

Recruitment and Selection - As an advisor to the student SHRM chapter, I am always trying to find new members to join the organization. In addition, I have served on several faculty and staff search committees.

Managing Turnover - Unlike many organizations, my turnover rate is highly predictable. Students WILL graduate. As a result, I have to repeatedly build and rebuild our SHRM student chapter as new members of the e-board join the group.

Training - Through the design of appropriate curricula, I facilitate the learning of job-related knowledge, skills, and behavior by students. Syllabi try to meet the ADDIE model.

Performance Management - Through the grading of exams, papers, and other work, I am constantly providing feedback and knowledge of results to students throughout a semester. In addition, syllabi have to be clear with regards to performance standards.

Career Development - I meet regularly with students to help prepare them for their future career. Our college devotes two days a semester for advising students not only on their next semester's schedule, but on their plans post-college. In addition, I serve as the graduate school advisor for our department

Counseling Employees - Its not uncommon to receive e-mails and in-office visits throughout the day and into the night from students requesting help to deal with sickness, injury, and even death. Similarly, I have to deal with poor performing students and try to help them improve.

Benefits - For the past 7 years, I have served on the college's Benefits Advisory Committee. We assist the college in making decisions regarding health care, insurance, retirement, and other benefits. In addition, I serve on the wellness subcommittee as the college looks to improve employees' health.

Harassment - I have also served on our college's Harassment Resource Committee. This committee assists the college in dealing with harassment-related issue and helped form the consensual relationship policy

Mediation - I have served as chair for the Faculty Mediation Committee. The function of the Faculty Mediation Committee is to mediate individual complaints against behavior and decisions arguably inconsistent with the Faculty Constitution and the Faculty Policy Statement.

In sum, my job IS human resources


You are right Matt, you perform all of those aspects of Human Resources, but even more importantly you are shaping tomorrow's leaders. In the meantime you have to perform all of the these mundane aspects of the field.

Thanks for presenting this in a format that is clear to everyone. I know that I am sometime blinded by the day to day grunt work, and feel that if you are not doing that, you are not in HR. NOT!

by Dave Ryan on October 20, 2010 at 8:10 AM. #

I witnessed that conversation at HREvolution and I have 2 different thoughts about this post.
1) I like that you took the time to explain your role. It's very informative.
2) You shouldn't have to defend yourself. The fact that you are professor of HR is a suffice enough explanation.

by Paul Smith on October 20, 2010 at 8:40 AM. #

I'm guessing you still here
"umm dude, that's still not the same"

I would say to them... "umm dudes, yeah it is..."

by Benjamin McCall on October 20, 2010 at 9:18 AM. #


I don't understand the credibility argument at all. I know plenty of Trench HR folks that deserve to have their credibility questioned. They hate their job or they do their job poorly. That's a disservice to the field.

Your involvement in HR is critical even without all of that work. Seems as though we should be encouraging professors as a rule of thumb too.

by Lance on October 20, 2010 at 11:09 PM. #

As someone who is growing increasing frustrated with the who "I'm a practioner - and you're not" argument, I think you have nailed it (yet again). It's not a requirement to have an HR title to understand and practice "good HR".

I'm interested in connecting with and following people I can learn from - regardless of title or day job. You certainly fit that bill Professor. :)

by Jennifer McClure on October 21, 2010 at 11:33 AM. #

Leave your comment