Student/Faculty Events Inspire Future Leaders

Jun 30, 2015
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The SHRM 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition is bringing together HR students and faculty from across the U.S. and around the world to be inspired by HR thought leaders. It’s also providing opportunities for HR students to meet with, and be mentored by, young HR professionals.

A special orientation on June 28 provided an opportunity for both students and young professionals to network and share their experiences. “The idea is for small groups of students to get ‘buddied up’ with a young professional, so they can go through the conference and feel they have some support,” said Susan Post, SHRM-SCP, CAE, SHRM’s divisional director, East, and director of student programs.

Jeff Pon, SHRM-SCP, SHRM’s chief human resources & strategy officer, welcomed the students on behalf of the SHRM leadership team.

This year, all conference sessions are correlated to the different levels of the SHRM Competency Model, so for many students “the entry- or mid-level concurrent sessions are most likely going to be the ones best suited for them,” Post noted.

Advisor of the Year

Sponsored by the SHRMFoundation, the Advisor of the Year Award is presented annually to a distinguished SHRM student chapter advisor in recognition of outstanding service and leadership to the chapter. The 2015 award winner, Angela K. Miles, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP, was recognized during the general session June 30.

Miles is an associate professor and SHRM student chapter advisor at North Carolina A&T State University (NC A&T SU), where she serves as the program leader for the Human Resource Management concentration in the Master of Business Administration Program. Under her guidance, the student chapter received a SHRM Outstanding Chapter Award for 2013-2014. It also won the 2013 SHRM South East Graduate Case Competition and has earned the SHRM Superior Merit Award for nine consecutive years.

In support of SHRM student programs, Miles has served as a student case competition presentation judge, Assurance of Learning test item writer and subject matter expert. She is a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Greensboro (HRMAG).

Academic Scholarships

The annual conference provides an opportunity to spread the word about student academic scholarships that are awarded each year by the SHRM Foundation. Individual SHRM members may apply for this $2,000 award to support their pursuit of a graduate or undergraduate college degree. Funds may be used for any combination of tuition, books or other course-related fees. Twenty academic scholarships are awarded annually. For information on eligibility and how to apply, visit the SHRM Foundation’s Scholarships and Awards page.

Case Competitions

Student summits that offer a team case study competition, mentoring sessions with HR professionals and general session speakers are among SHRM’s latest offerings to its student members. Summits held in California, Maryland and Kentucky earlier this year drew a total of more than 600 students.

Unlike past competitions that were limited to teams from a specific region, this year’s events were open to student teams across the U.S. in an effort to provide students with more scheduling flexibility. SHRM members in the area supply welcome volunteer support for these events.

The case competitions provide a realistic preview of the types of problems students may eventually encounter in the workplace, and call for strategic thinking, ethical decision-making, strong leadership and presentation skills. Teams presented their solutions to the challenge in 15-minute oral presentations and two-page written executive summaries.

This year’s winning teams were:

Graduate Division

  • New York University (East)
  • University of South Dakota (Central)
  • Thunderbird School of Management (West)

Undergraduate Division

  • Temple University (East)
  • University of Knoxville (Central)
  • University of Phoenix (West)

Winners received complimentary registrations to the SHRM 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition for team members and advisors, plus $2,500 for travel reimbursement. All the winners planned to attend the conference this year, along with their advisors and many competition judges, and were recognized during the general session June 30.

Advisory Groups

Among other student initiatives, SHRM is forming two advisory groups—one for student members and one for student chapter advisors—to be launched in the fall of 2015.

In another noteworthy development, SHRM’s field services directors and member engagement associates now serve as points of contact for student chapters, in addition to professional chapters, to provide a sounding board for ideas and program enhancements, offer a more high-touch service to students, and ensure a better connection with professional chapters, according to Post.

With the same field services director and member engagement associate serving both student and professional chapters, she said, “We’re hoping to provide some continuity ... as they transition from student members to their careers as HR professionals.”

Post gave a shout-out to SHRM student program volunteers who serve as career mentors and onsite judges and in other roles. “They’re professional members giving back to the students,” she said.

Of the students, she said, “they’re not only the future of our chapters and our leadership, but the future of our profession.”

Stephen Miller, CEBS, is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMsmiller.

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