New minor, new opportunities

by Onize Ohikere

The last thing history and political science major Kyle Sarpong needed to complete his career plan was a human resources minor. Since it wasn’t an option at MSUM at the time, Sarpong began to make plans involving the tri-college system.

“It’s pretty interesting, because I was looking for classes on human resources at NDSU,” Sarpong said.

But an announcement of a new human resources minor stemming from the Paseka School of Business rerouted his plan.

On Friday, Oct. 30, the School of Business sent out an official email announcing the new minor to students. By the following Monday, it had made a post on Dragon Digest. By then, the increasing number of interested students proved the program was a needed addition.

The School of Business made up its mind after several high schoolers touring campus asked if MSUM offered anything related to human resources.

“That happened enough times the dean asked me to work on it,” said Jane Pettinger, the school’s assistant professor of management.

That sparked the planning process in January. Pettinger looked into similar programs offered by other institutions and the courses those required. With a structure in mind, she set up a lunch to meet with some local employers and find out if they would hire students out of college with a human resources minor.

“They were very enthusiastic,” Pettinger said.

She explained because of that employer interest, the college will eventually offer a certificate program for non-traditional students interested in human resources.

The new minor includes 15 credits, with a different set of course requirements for business and non-business majors. The requirements stretch across other fields, including management and communications. Pettinger explained the tactic of using existing classes to avoid any budgetary impact.

C.T. Hanson, chair of the College of Journalism and Communication, agreed to using some communications classes for the minor.

“Human resources is a people business, and communications is a people business,” Hanson said. “Consequently, it makes a lot of sense for human resources people to take communications classes.”

With a diverse class selection and availability to all students, Pettinger said a minor in human resources could benefit students across all fields.

“Pretty much everyone who’s here on campus is here because they want to work on a higher level,” she said. “This minor will teach them how to manage people. It’s just kind of an upward spiral.”

Sarpong, who plans to take human resource management courses alongside political science courses at a graduate level, said he chose to include the minor because of its benefits.

“I heard political science and human resources tie well together,” Sarpong said.

Hanson agreed.

“It gives them added employment opportunities,” he said. “I see it as a hand-glove fit for students.”

The minor is still in its infancy, but as of now, the School of Business isn’t anticipating a major.

“If we had an HR major, we wouldn’t really have a well-rounded student,” Pettinger said. She explained there aren’t enough semesters to cram it all into a four-year program.

Pettinger said the first set of graduates with the minor will start trickling in by this spring, but she anticipates larger numbers by spring 2017.

As class registration for next semester wraps up, Sarpong plans to dive into his new minor in the coming semester with a principles of management class. With his dual major and involvement in the Dragon Leadership Program, a minor might add an extra year to his time in college. But he isn’t bothered.

“It’s worth extending my time in school,” Sarpong said. “HR is a  vital resource in a company.”

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