HR Careers at the Forefront of the COVID Crisis: A Q&A with Assistant Professor Sandra Mervosh
"Current and new HR professionals will be required to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to enable their organizations to continue moving forward in a strategic manner — and individuals with knowledge in these areas will be in demand."
Why is HR management a critical career field, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Assistant Professor of HR Sandra Mervosh
Human resources professionals have been critically involved during the COVID-19 crisis, advising organizations and their leadership on multiple fronts including, but not limited to:
- Identifying jobs that are capable of working remotely
- Providing resources and training for the remote workforce
- Ensuring a safe environment for essential workers including job redesign
- Reviewing benefits
- Ensuring compliance of new legislation
- Engaging heavily in employee mental health, engagement and development initiatives
- Focusing on inclusion to ensure new policies do not adversely impact a particular population
Moving forward, there will be a need to continue evaluating all job positions from a flexibility perspective, as well as a continued review of corporate policies for inclusion.
Ultimately, this pandemic will change job descriptions, job design, recruitment, selection, training, development and performance evaluations. Current and new HR professionals will be required to have the knowledge, skills and abilities to enable their organizations to continue moving forward in a strategic manner — and individuals with knowledge in these areas will be in demand.
What should high school students and their parents know about being a HR management major at Point Park?
At Point Park, we have a unique mentoring program called the HR Partner Program. HR students are individually matched with an HR professional to provide career insight, shadowing and networking opportunities.
Also, we have an active Student Human Resources Association on campus, in which our students network with HR professional members of SHRM and the Pittsburgh Human Resources Association. These organizations host multiple functions a year on our campus and our students attend many of their industry events and conferences.
Tell us about Point Park’s new 4+1 HR management program offered in collaboration with Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
This is an unique opportunity to earn two degrees — a Bachelor of Science in HR management from Point Park and a Master of Arts in HR and employment relations from IUP — in five years with two institutions from your current location. We chose this academic path to provide our students with a diverse and expansive learning opportunity.
At the end of their junior year, students in the 4+1 program may apply for early admission into IUP’s M.A. in HR and employment relations program. During their senior year, students will earn 12 credits that apply toward both degrees. Six credits are IUP classes that will be delivered online via Zoom in a synchronous fashion and six credits will be master-level courses from Point Park.
At the completion of their senior year, students will earn their B.S. in HR management from Point Park and then proceed to complete their M.A. in HR and employment relations from IUP in one year. Completion of the IUP program can be online via Zoom in a synchronous fashion. Graduates of our 4+1 program will jump start their careers by having two degrees and extensive professional networks and experience.
Kevin Dotson '16, hired as a physician
employment coordinator and now a project
analyst for UPMC
Where have graduates of your program landed jobs?
The organizations where our grads have landed jobs include, but are not limited to:
- Advance Sourcing Concepts
- Duquesne Club
- HCR ManorCare
- Pittsburgh Human Resourceas Association
- PPG Industries
- SAP Ariba
- Synergy Staffing
How will Point Park University make students career-ready in HR management?
Olga Herrera '19, HR director for HCR
At Point Park University, our HR program is focused on practical knowledge and experiential learning. This is accomplished by providing students first with a solid business education. We teach our students to understand an organization's industry and strategy in order to strategically align human resource functions.
Additionally, our HR program contains content consistent with the requirements of an HR generalist, the starting point of many HR careers and a strong position to develop into a HR specialist field. A supportive and positive network connects together our HR program, our student HR organization and the local HR industry, thereby providing numerous experiential opportunities for students such as networking, job shadows, internships and co-ops.
Also, our HR students have connected internationally with organizations and universities in Ireland and Madrid, and in the U.S., have analyzed Walt Disney World through live presentations from WDW top management and WDW leadership sponsored programs.
Lastly, it's important to note that the employment rate of Point Park HR graduating seniors on the day of commencement is 75 percent in the HR field.