Human Resources 4 + 1 program ranks high

Melanie Todd, Staff writer

Human Resources is a position that spans all industries. Mercyhurst is helping professionals expand their credentials with 25 percent above average SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certification scores.

“We surpassed the national average by 25 percent. I believe that is why we were selected,” said Mary Breckenridge, Ph.D., dean of the Walker College and associate professor of Organizational Leadership in the Walker College of Business and Management.

The national average exam pass rate is 60 percent but Mercyhurst’s students performed at an 85 percent exam pass rate.

Nearly every company and agency has a human resources department. Mercyhurst offers SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP certifications and a master’s degree available as part of the 4 + 1 program as options for higher education for Human Resources.

“Our department [Organizational Leadership] is led totally by adjunct professors who are in the field. All of our faculty are leaders, attorneys, across the spectrum,” Breckenridge said.

Many people work in human resources without the certifications or master’s degree. The prep course is designed to work around people’s schedules. It is a semester long, but offered during evening hours to accommodate traditional work schedules.

“It’s not necessary in all places, but in bigger corporations it usually is. We offer a prep course for the certification exam and we open that up to the community,” Breckenridge said.
Student research inspired the Organizational Leadership program, of which HR is a concentration.

“We actually had a student thesis that did research showing there was a need for this type of program,” Breckenridge said.

Mercyhurst attempts to be as convenient as possible in higher education. Student can begin working on their master’s as early as the summer after their junior year of undergraduate.
“It was sort of a risk, a bit of an experiment. We thought they (undergraduate students) can’t do this. We were totally wrong. We were so surprised. The 4+1 students we have are very strong; strong writers and strong contributors,” Breckenridge said.

The 4+1 program also provides a lot of opportunities to the students.

“It can allow student athletes to play an extra year. It can help international students who are interested in staying here longer,” said Breckenridge. “It applies to any major.”

The 33-credit program can be completed online, enrolled as a full-time or part-time student. There are five concentrations of the Organizational Leadership Master of Science Program.

Concentrations include accounting, higher education administration, human resources, sports leadership and strategy and innovation.