When Professor John Budd steps down this month as Chair of the Department of Work and Organizations and Director of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies, it will be after nine years of thoughtful and steady leadership.

Budd, finishing his third three-year term, looks back at his tenure with appreciation and a quiet pride. “I tried to continue the legacy of people who came before me,” he says, “and am grateful for all of the people who were so dedicated to the performance of our academic programs, and to maintaining and building our national and international academic reputation.

“I took the approach that there was never anything fundamentally wrong with the way things were, nothing that needed to be fixed,” he says. “I kept our strong history in mind, and looked to see what I could do to facilitate the continued success of our faculty, students and staff.”

During the course of the past nine years, Budd oversaw a number of notable changes. In July 2011, the department of Human Resources and Industrial Relations (HRIR) became the department of Work and Organizations (WOrg) with the addition of several faculty members from the Carlson School’s department of Strategic Management and Organization. The change resulted in a stronger integration of the research and teaching on the behavioral foundations of managing and leading people in organizations across the Carlson School. “By many metrics we see this as a tremendous success,” Budd says. “Faculty are cohesive, very productive, and are working together to expand our contributions across all the school’s degree programs.”

The PhD program underwent a curricular change in 2009-10, as well as a structural change in 2014 with the integration of the PhD-HRIR program into the BA-PhD program at the Carlson School. “Another big change we navigated was the reorganization of the Masters program with the addition of the position of Professional Director of the MA-HRIR program,” Budd says, “and some fairly substantial administrative restructuring.”

The financial model of the CHRLS underwent a major adjustment during his tenure. “Before, we had a certain degree of financial autonomy, as we were on our own as a revenue-generating and cost-responsible unit. Now, we’re fully integrated into the school’s budgetary model, which brings us fully in line with the rest of the school,” he says.

One of the most significant responsibilities Budd had as Chair of the WOrg department was facilitating the process of faculty promotion and tenure. “During my term, we had three successful tenure cases; three successful promotions to full professor; and seven successful 4th year reviews. These are multi-month, extensive processes that are done as a team of faculty, but it did fall to me to oversee things,” he says. “I’m most proud of how successful our faculty and staff have been able to be. Hopefully I’ve helped provide a supportive environment where people can do good work. And, I’m especially proud to have done this while navigating the challenges of creating WOrg and all the changes that entailed,” he says.  “I’ve really appreciated the support and cooperation received from faculty and staff; it’s made my job easier and more rewarding.”

Additional instructional changes include the hiring of two full-time senior lecturers and several part-time adjunct instructors. Budd worked with them on transitioning into their teaching roles at the University, held a teaching retreat with instructors, and a research retreat with affiliated faculty.

Something really unexpected was the opportunity to develop a Massive Online Open Course, or MOOC. Working with other Carlson School faculty and staff, Budd organized and oversaw a grant with Coursera, the online platform for the specialization comprised of four courses and a capstone, titled “HR for People Managers.”  This specialization offers an introduction to the key principles, policies, and practices of human resource management. It is offered fully online, and has had a tremendous, global reach. “In just my class alone, there have been more than 31,000 learners,” he marvels. The more than 900 learners who have participated in the capstone course have come from over 100 countries, including India, Egypt, Nigeria, Syria, Cameroon, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates. “To have that kind of global exposure around core HR expertise is really personally rewarding, and rewarding for Carlson and the University,” he says. “It helps deliver the University’s mission to corners of the globe we never would have dreamed of.”

A popular professor, having won the coveted Herbie Award for Teaching Excellence eight times over his 27-year teaching career, he understands the value of building relationships, both in the classroom and after graduation. “I’m always touched by the level of alumni affinity for the program, and it’s such a pleasure hearing about their successes,” he says.  “I’ve enjoyed being able to connect with alumni in a number of locations. And, hopefully just because I’m no longer the director doesn’t mean I won’t be able to continue to do so.”  In fact, he plans to meet with several MA and PhD alumni while attending a conference in Seoul this summer.

Carlson School Dean Sri Zaheer noted Budd’s service to the school recently in a recent school-wide email, and thanked him for his years of leadership and service to the department and the school.

Professor Connie Wanberg will assume the duties of the Chair of the Department of Work and Organizations, and Professor John Kammeyer-Mueller will take on the role of Director of the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies. More details on this transition and interviews with Wanberg and Kammeyer-Mueller will appear in future issues of Centerpoint.

While Budd is stepping away from his duties as Chair and Director, he won’t be leaving the Carlson School anytime soon. After a well-deserved sabbatical, he will return to full-time teaching in the fall of 2019, and continue his teaching, research, and service to the Carlson School and the University. “I’m looking ahead to more success for our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” he says, “and to our 75th anniversary in 2020!”