Human Resource Development students gain real-world skills through Texas A&M HROE
Two entities on Texas A&M’s campus joined together this semester to create a mutually beneficial relationship in which students receive hands-on learning.
Clinical professor Dr. Helen Muyia’s EHRD 372: Learning and Development students worked with the Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness to design, develop, review and create a marketing and communication plan to implement trainings and development for current Texas A&M employees.
“As a student, you do not get many experiences like this so it is really incredible to get to interact with professionals in our field and ask questions and learn from them,” said Michelle Moss, junior HRD student.
EHRD 372 is a course designed to help students acquire knowledge, skills and abilities to assess, design, develop, deliver and evaluate learning and development programs in organizations.
Muyia first teaches students about theory, introducing them to the ADDIE model, a process used by instructional designers with five phases: analysis, design, develop, implement and evaluate.
Then she would traditionally ask them to identify any organization — a student organization or workplace — and assess the need for training in that organization.
“Students learn the ADDIE model and how to use this systematic approach to plan, develop, deliver, evaluate and manage quality learning and development programs in organizations,” Muyia said. “The applied aspect of the course is accomplished by students selecting an organization and developing, from start to finish, a learning and development program.”
Connecting two Texas A&M entities
However, this semester she decided the perfect example of real-life organization was the one she currently belongs to. Texas A&M University employs over 12,000 people and offers numerous opportunities to develop those employees.
Muyia reached out to Tara Gray, Director of Organizational Development and former HRD graduate student, seeking real-life application for students in her EHRD 372 course.
“Tara [Gray] emailed me a list of projects that my students could help her team out with,” Muyia said. “She had a kick-off meeting with the students before they started the projects to give them a picture of what they were doing, how the projects would fit into it, and their roles and responsibilities.”
Last year Gray’s department conducted a university-wide needs assessment to identify what is done well and what needs improvement regarding employee development.
Results from the assessment led to a multi-year shaping plan to transform employee, leadership and competency development. This year’s projects guided which areas the students could assist with. Students divided into groups and worked with Gray’s office on five projects.
The five project topics were related to leadership development, competency map development, updating web-based training, marketing strategy development and content review for a program called Leading Others.
Giving students a leg up
As a former student in the HRD program and now current TAMU HROE staff, Regan Durham said she wishes she had this opportunity when she was an undergraduate. Most of Gray’s department are Texas A&M graduates and echo the same sentiment.
“When you sit in an academic class, there are a lot of different theories and models that get thrown at you,” Durham said. “So, seeing how that theory gets operationalized in a real organization is a huge benefit to their learning.”
HROE staff June Vieira said she hopes they have accelerated the student’s professional success by involving them in these projects.
“They have the opportunity to see a final product, so I think once they get to their jobs it is going to be already accelerated for them because they will have mental models from this experience,” Vieira said.
Vieira said even if the students do not stay in the learning and development field, she has been teaching them lessons along the way that apply to every career.
“I have also coached them on professionalism — being on time, calling back, response through emails, ownership and accountability,” Vieira said. “I treated them not as students, but as professionals, and I have heard back that they actually appreciated that.”
Hopes for the future
Muyia hopes the partnership allows her students to gain professional contacts and internship opportunities, with TAMU HROE and other organizations.
“This is something the students can be proud of,” Muyia said. “They have these hands-on experiences from the real world that I think potential employers are looking for.”
She also hopes for a long-term partnership with Gray’s office that will continue to provide experiential learning for future students.
“I believe the partnership can provide teaching and learning as well as research benefits to our undergraduate HRD program,” Muyia said. “I am proud of my students to have been part of what HROE is doing to transform how they develop Texas A&M University employees.”
The students are also grateful for this opportunity. Samantha Greig, a junior at Texas A&M, said the project will be especially beneficial to her because although she does not have a lot of work experience she can now show potential employers that she has applicable experience.
“I think I speak for the majority of the class when I say that we are all very grateful for Dr. Muyia for providing this opportunity for us to be working with the HROE team,” Greig said. “My team and I feel like we are making a useful contribution to their efforts and we look forward to seeing the final product.”
Learn more about Dr. Helen Muyia.
Learn more about the Texas A&M University Division of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness.
About the Writer
Heather is responsible for news coverage in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, as well as the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development.Articles by Heather
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