While there may be fewer students walking the halls of the Carlson School this season than during the busy school year, learning is still a priority at the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies. This summer, students studied relevant topics in HR through the course HRIR 5000: Topics in Human Resources and Industrial Relations.
Each summer, the course covers a new HR topic. This year's course, Contemporary Issues in Employment Law for the HR Professional, focused on the case law constraints and evidence-based research related to employee privacy issues in email, texts, and social media. It also covered workplace bullying by both co-workers and supervisors, and the challenges faced by management.
Senior Lecturer Carol O'Toole says the course is beneficial for students because it gives them a leg up on emerging topics, such as bullying and social media.
"The students in the class are smart and conscientious," says O'Toole. "Many are working or have worked in the HR field so they like the practical focus of the class, although it requires a very academic approach, utilizing peer-reviewed journal articles instead of a text."
Students attended class on Tuesday and Thursday nights for one month, which provided them with a flexible summer schedule. While the time constraint forced the class to move through lessons quickly, the 13 students agreed the small class size made discussion easier.
"This class has been informative on contemporary employment law issues such as social media, communications, the Affordable Care Act, religion, etc.," says MA-HRIR student Jonathan Spitzer. He says he appreciated that the course taught him how to find reputable resources, and also helped him understand rapid changes in employment law.
According to CHRLS Associate Director Brenda Carriere, the course is a great way for students to take a unique class in the summer that is not offered at any other time
"HRIR 5000 allows us to offer courses on topics that are up and coming on a one- or two-time basis," she says. "It allows us to provide innovative classes that integrate well with the core courses that all of our students enroll in."