PhD Program

PhD Program Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence
2014 marks TWO significant milestones for the Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies: it was 50 years ago that the PhD degree in Industrial Relations (as it was known then), began at the University of Minnesota, and fifty years later, it is becoming better integrated with the Carlson School through the creation of the Work and Organizations concentration in the Business Administration PhD program. (more)

Alumni News

Two CHRLS Alumni Win Prestigious University Honors
The Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies is proud of its many distinguished alumni and this year, is pleased to congratulate two exceptional alumni who are receiving awards from the University of Minnesota. (more)

two award winners
Chuck Edward, left, poses with Professor John Budd following the Alumni Association Awards Ceremony.

Anne Tsui, right, presents current PhD student Gabe Licht and "Dare to Care PhD Award" recipient with a certificate noting his award, made possible through her generous support of the fellowship fund.

New York Alumni Chapter Hosts Panel Discussion
The Carlson School’s New York City Alumni Chapter hosted a panel discussion for about 30 Minnesota alumni in early November.  Sponsored by Peter Warwick, CHRO of Thomson Reuters, the event focused on “Leveraging Executive Search Firms.”
new york

Pictured from left are Lisa Zonino, Egon Zehnder; Graham Michener, RSR Partners; Deb Kaufman; KSquared Search; and Chris Kujawa, ’94 MA-IR, American Express, who served as panel facilitator.

HRIR Alums Gather in San Francisco
san fran Heavy rain didn’t deter 13 HRIR alumni from gathering in San Francisco for an evening of networking, reconnecting and good food in late November. Thanks to Becky Bearse-Esqueda, ’09 MA-HRIR, for her help in coordinating the first of what is hoped to become an annual tradition. Other alums in attendance included Shanna Koenig, ‘07 MA-HRIR; Stu Kohlstedt, ‘11 MA-HRIR; Tina Liu, ‘06 MA-HRIR; Brandon Lukach, ’04 MA-HRIR; Susan Otto, ‘00 MA-HRIR; Sam Piell, ‘07 MA-HRIR; Jessica Roberts, ’14 MA-HRIR; Taryn Shawstad, ‘88 MA-IR; Emily Sheehan, ’09 MA-HRIR; Karlin Sorenson, ‘98 MA-IR; Brenda Southwick, ‘91 MA-IR; and Matt Young, ‘12 MA-HRIR.


Recent PhD Alum Finds Familiar Face as Career Begins

Transitioning from student-life to work-life is tough for everyone, especially if that new job is out of state. It can help to have a familiar face to look for on your first day, and for Yongjun Choi, ’14 PhD-BA, that was the case when he joined the same department as Professor Melissa Gruys, ’00 PhD-HRIR, at Wright State University in Dayton, OH. (more)


Alumna Featured in StarTribune
williams rollJacqueline Williams-Roll, (above) ’95 MA-IR, was featured in a Q&A article in the StarTribune earlier this fall.

Mark Your Calendars for HR Tomorrow Conference – April 17, 2015
The 36th Annual HR Tomorrow Conference will be held Friday, April 17, 2015 at the Carlson School of Management.  The theme of “Achieving Results in a Complex World” will highlight current trends, issues, challenges and opportunities in the field of human resources and labor relations. Speaking and Sponsorship opportunities are available, and registration will open in mid-January.  Check out the conference website for ongoing updates.

School News

Connect, Engage & Excel with Carlson Executive Education
Given that business challenges are as unique as a fingerprint (or, if you're based in Minnesota, a snowflake), solutions the Carlson Executive Education gives their partners must be custom-made as well. Faculty provide everything from one-on-one guidance to on-site training geared to transform partners’ best people into more effective leaders, even specialized teams to help manage mergers and acquisitions, global partnerships, market research, and more. The Carlson Executive Education Corporate Services team has a remarkable track record partnering with some of the world's leading corporations, as shown in these case studies. For more information view this video or visit this website.

Faculty News

Adjunct Instructors Offer Unique Perspective to MA-HRIR Students
While the MA-HRIR program boasts internationally-known faculty who are widely published and expert in a range of fields,our students also benefit from learning from a strong contingent of adjunct instructors who bring a unique perspective to the classroom as they share their HR and organizational expertise with students. (more)

Mike Davis                           Travis Tubre



Assistant Professor Aaron Sojourner was named to the Cradle to K Cabinet by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.  The cabinet is focused on developing a plan to eliminate disparities for children from before birth through three years of age.

Student News

Countries and Companies Sponsor MA-HRIR Students to Pursue Cross-Cultural Learning
There are a number of organizations and countries across the globe that pay tuition and fees for their employees or citizens to attend the MA-HRIR program and obtain a theoretical yet practical graduate education. Knowing that the MA-HRIR program helps prepare their employees and citizens for successful careers in human resources and industrial relations, these sponsors view their support as a wise investment. (more)

Carlson School of Management Hosts 2nd Annual International HR Case Competition
On November 13th, the MA-HRIR program welcomed students from around the world for the 2nd Annual International HR Case Competition. The event gave graduate students studying human resources a glimpse of real-world international HR.

Hosted by the Carlson School of Management, students were given the task of solving a real-world problem presented by Lead Sponsor LG Academy, whose President and CEO Michael Byungnam Lee, ’88 PhD-IR, kicked off the event with an encouraging welcome.

The competition included teams from China, India, Canada and the United States, and provided participants and sponsors with multiple perspectives on how to solve a global HR challenge from students of different cultures, languages and backgrounds.

At the conclusion of the 3-day event, the Carlson School team took third place behind HEC Montreal’s first place finish, and The Ohio State University’s second place. Kelly Dahlman, first-year MA-HRIR student on the Carlson School team, says the experience “was my favorite experience of graduate school thus far. I enjoyed the opportunity to think on my feet, improve my presentation skills and network with students from across the globe,” she says.  “I look forward to participating in the Case Competition again next year.”

In addition to LG Academy, other sponsors included Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson, Land O’ Lakes, Eaton Corporation, GE, General Mills, HB Fuller and Ingersoll Rand. Thanks to all of our sponsors, students and event staff for making this day possible!

Michael Byungnam Lee welcomed students to the competition.
case comp
Student participants hailed from four countries and six different universities.
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Carlson School’s team took 3rd place in the competition.  From left, Kelly Dahlman, Beth Reynolds, Michael Jacobs and Lindsey Jones.

Online Grad School Fair offers Innovative Way of Recruiting Future MA-HRIR Students
It has always been a top priority for the MA-HRIR program to recruit top-notch students from across the country and around the world. The program spends time and money to find these students, but this year, it saved both by taking part in a Virtual Graduate School Fair. (more)

New MA-HRIR and MBA Dual Degree Available
The Carlson School is excited to announce a new graduate school offering: the University of Minnesota MA-HRIR/MBA Dual Degree program, which combines the strengths of two top-ranked professional programs and prepares graduates to become effective leaders in both business and human resources. The MBA program provides a solid foundation in managerial practices relevant to a diverse range of industry and business functions while the MA-HRIR program delivers a thorough understanding of contemporary HR practices. 

Students in the Dual Degree program will develop the expertise to engage in company-wide discussions of broader strategic issues related to human resource decisions and to manage organizational challenges from a functional business and management position. This dual degree program will impart a highly sought-after skillset for graduates to advance their careers.

More information on the dual degree can be found here.

Class Notes

Jillian DeMello, ‘08 MA-HRIR, recently joined PwC as a people and change consultant for the Middle East region.
Mavis (Hsin-Tzu) Liu, ’14 MA-HRIR, recently joined Foxconn as human resources associate.
Chris Schmelzer, ’10 MA-HRIR, recently joined Deloitte as a senior consultant.

Submit a Class Note

Let your classmates know what you've been up to since graduation.  Submit a class note to for publication in an upcoming issue of Centerpoint.

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