Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

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Human resource degrees receive SHRM stamp of approval

Human resource degrees receive SHRM stamp of approval

Clinical professor Dennis Nirtaut talks with human resources students. He joined Loyola full time in 2011 after a long career in human resources.

Quinlan’s human resources degree programs recently received an important stamp of approval from the world's largest professional society for human resources.

The Society for Human Resource Management acknowledged that Quinlan’s Master of Science in Human Resources continues to fully align with SHRM’s suggested guides and templates for human resources curriculum. Additionally, Quinlan’s undergraduate human resources degree program was recognized by SHRM for the first time.

The guidelines are part of a SHRM initiative to define human resources education standards taught in business schools.

Here, Dennis Nirtaut, clinical professor in human resources, discusses the merits of SHRM alignment and the growing human resources industry.

What does it mean to be aligned with SHRM?

It’s a real plus to say we’re aligned with SHRM’s standards, which are pretty high. For the HR professional, the distinction definitely means something—it’s a highly sought after recognition. Because even beyond education, the HR industry looks to SHRM for professional certifications. 

SHRM has recognized our graduate program for many years. But this was the first year we put our undergraduate program—which is probably one of the better programs in Chicago—up for review. We were thrilled to see SHRM acknowledge that our program meets their standards.

How does SHRM determine whether a program is aligned with its standards?

Essentially, they’re looking to make sure a person graduating from Quinlan with a degree in human resources has the competencies to work in the field.

They take a look at what we’re teaching and what courses we offer to students majoring in human resources. They review the entire business curriculum. 

What does the job market look like for human resources?

The market is looking up. The projected growth for HR managers through 2020 is 11 percent, where on average, the projected growth for managers is 7 percent. So for the most part, the demand for jobs in human resources is above the norm. 

Most of our students have their choice of employers. I spent a long time in the corporate side of HR, so I have a lot of connections in the business community and so do our professors. We get calls all the time, because people are looking for HR majors. We have more jobs than we have students. It’s frustrating, but it’s a nice problem to have. Things are looking very good.

How do you explain the growing demand for human resources?

The U.S. no longer has a manufacturing economy. In a manufacturing economy, a lot of the investments are capital—manufacturing plants and equipment. Today, we’re in a service economy. And if you want to distinguish yourself as an organization, hopefully your organization hires the best people. That’s your competitive advantage. 

Regardless of your major, you’re going to be involved with HR activities such as training and development, performance management and review, and compensation and benefits. So whether you are in HR or not, you’re going to be dealing with people and HR management.

What opportunities do Quinlan HR students have outside the classroom?

We have the Human Resources Student Association (HRSA), which is a combination of both undergraduate and graduate students. I think it really exposes students to different activities and different interactions in the human resources field. In 2015, we won a SHRM Outstanding Student Chapter Award.

We host five or more programs each year, including company visits. We visited Mercer Consulting, as well as Morningstar, and learned first-hand what it’s like to be an HR consultant. 

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