Executive HRD Program Celebrates First Group of Graduates

Professionals from a diverse range of industries – from oil and gas, retail, and higher education, to consulting, government and the medical fields –completed the requirements to earn the Master of Science in Human Resource Development.  The 2012-2013 cohort was the first group of students enrolled in the University of Houston Executive Human Resource Development Program (ExHRD), which was launched in fall 2012. 

The intensive, experiential program culminated in a weeklong international experience in Sao Paulo, Brazil, complementing their classroom and online learning. Students explored the macro and micro aspects of global human resource development through an academic and business lens, visited with senior executives from four major companies, and spent a day at the University of Sao Paulo.

The rigorous curriculum provided opportunities for students to investigate the application of human resource development by leading inquiry projects related to learning and development, leadership, workforce planning and culture. Students’ action research projects focused on new-hire on boarding, mid-career development, diversity and inclusive leadership programs, talent and performance management, and volunteer recruitment and retention. Each student managed stakeholder buy in, then diagnosed, designed, monitored, and evaluated their interventions. In addition, students designed and implemented change management plans for their projects.

Reviews of the program demonstrated its value to working professionals.

“The challenges and required commitment resulted in a truly rewarding experience. The program provided a multitude of benefits to my personal and professional life because of the wealth of knowledge, and experiences shared by instructors, students, and the guest speakers. It was worth the money, the time, and the effort,” said Mario Espinosa, Texas Children’s Hospital.

Toni Forrest, a manager at ConocoPhillips, said, “The program experience enabled me to make tangible contributions to my organization from day one. The curriculum was a winning mix of experiential-based learning, timely and relevant research, along with direction and support from reputable faculty and guest lecturers.” 

 “My incentive to enroll in the ExHRD program was to sharpen the saw, Dr. Steven R. Covey’s, 7th habit of highly effective people,” said Nydia Gonzalez, president, Gonzalez Success Strategies. “The UH faculty is first rate and top quality.   From the beginning, the program was intellectually stimulating, and the experiential component offered the opportunity to practice Covey’s eighth habit of unleashing the greatness in yourself and others,” she reflected. 

“The instruction was excellent and included professionals who had solved real world problems for a variety of businesses and organizations. I now feel better equipped to aid in the development of organizations and people to improve business performance,” said David Sweeten of SBM Offshore.

The next Executive HRD program cohort will begin classes in fall 2013. Visit www.uh.edu/executivehrd for more information or register for an information session.