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Training Talent

May 22, 2024 Erica Hulse
A group of four professionally dressed people talk while sitting around a small table.

At the heart of every organization and company is people. The business world thrives when engaged and committed team members work together toward a shared goal. Therefore, skilled human resource administrators must ensure quality candidates are hired and employees are supported. With this aspect of business in mind, the College of Business will be launching a new minor in human resources beginning in the fall of 2024, will be providing opportunities for students and faculty to engage with HR leaders and changemakers in the Louisville area and beyond, and will feature College faculty who research and publish findings about current HR-related management challenges.

Organizational Onboarding

Recognizing the continued growth of interest by students in the field of human resources, Assistant Professor of Practice, Management, and Entrepreneurship Alfred Frager, PhD, conceptualized a course of study in HR that would complement a student’s undergraduate degree program, eventually developing and implementing the newest minor in the College of Business. The minor in HR provides students the opportunity to complete courses in preparation for a variety of industries and to ensure a wide variety of entry-level HR roles, such as generalist, recruiter, employee relations specialist, instructor, benefits specialist, HRIS analyst, organization development specialist, internal DEI specialist, or HR team lead. 

With the completion of six skills-based experiential courses through this minor, students will not only be prepared to begin their careers in HR but will also qualify for a free Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) certification exam voucher, valued at $500 – a highly coveted certification for entry-level HR applicants. For students wishing to specialize in one area within this field, there are more than 17 electives from which students can choose, providing a more tailored education to prepare for a specific HR role or function. These electives include courses such as the newly designed HR Consulting Skills, Learning Development, Franchise HR and Leading Teams, and Collaboration and Negotiation, as well as courses from programs housed within other Colleges at UofL, such as the College of Education and Human Development and the Communication department at the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Connecting Community

Additionally, the institution of this new minor reaches far beyond the UofL campus, bringing together some of the most influential HR executives to consider current, pressing issues impacting this critical area of business administration. On Friday, April 5th, the first annual University of Louisville College of Business Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) Roundtable event brought together top HR executives from Fortune 500 businesses who considered how growing technological advances may impact the field of HR. The topic of this inaugural roundtable focused on how HR professionals can use artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance their work and support an organization’s overall goals. Mark Lagestee, CPO of Yum! Brands, John Ferguson, CHRO of NASCAR, Dr. Amy Dufrane, CEO of HRCI, and Alfred Frager, PhD, discussed how HR representatives support the ethical use and successful deployment of AI in the workforce, as well as how we should use AI to support and automate HR efforts and practices while considering DEI laws, statutes, and initiatives. Nearly 2,000 attendees participated in the live virtual event, with nearly 4,000 total attendees viewing the session on demand, including over 350 international participants.

These critical, continued community partnerships with HRCI and Fortune 500 organizations such as NASCAR, Yum! Brands, ADP, and Norton Health, have aided in designing applicable course content for this program, ensuring the HR minor will provide a comprehensive, real-world education that arms students with the necessary entry-level skills to thrive professionally in this area of business management. These courses can also complement a variety of majors, leaving students better prepared to step into a wide array of professional roles, such as managers at small companies who are required to fulfill many functions of HR as part of their positions, entrepreneurs who will need to hire staff for critical roles to create and launch their products or services successfully, and marketing staff who create advertising materials to recruit and source candidates.

Researching Resolutions

Along with the need for HR courses and programming to address real-world concerns, faculty must maintain an awareness of current trends and issues within the field of HR. UofL Professor of Entrepreneurship Carl Maertz has more than 30 years of real-world experience as an organizational consultant and researcher in various areas of HR for the following companies and organizations:

  • Thomson Consumer Electronics
  • Accenture
  • Brightpoint North America
  • Wabash National
  • U.S. State Department
  • Saint Louis University

Continuing to research and publish articles regarding current HR staff issues, Maertz focuses on high-impact areas of employee turnover, work-family conflict/balance, expatriate adjustment, and workplace creativity, appearing in the following top research journals:

  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Psychological Bulletin
  • Journal of Applied Psychology
  • Journal of Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 
  • Journal of Organizational Behavior
  • Human Relations
  • Human Resource Management
  • Journal of Vocational Behavior 

Maertz was featured in the February 2024 issue of the Organizational Psychology Review along with contributors Clark D. Johnson and Brittney C. Bauer. Their article, “An inconvenient truth about ‘bundling’ commitment, engagement, and embeddedness: Unbundling to extend theory on turnover motivations and beyond,” critiques concerns with lumping together, or “bundling,” three essential considerations in the workplace: organizational commitment, employee engagement, and organizational embeddedness. Understanding how connected employees are to each of these areas can best reflect how connected an employee feels to their professional role. When considered cumulatively, employee motives become more difficult to clearly understand – in particular, why individuals decide to leave their place of employment or “turnover.” Maertz et al. suggest we should separate, or “unbundle,” these ideas, considering each area independently to identify clues that will help leaders understand why individuals may choose to resign.

Flexible Future

In addition to more courses, exciting new HR-related programming is on the horizon for upcoming semesters due to the successful spring 2024 inaugural CHRO roundtable event. New HR internships with our corporate partners are also available for interested students through the Ulmer Career Management Center. With a new HRCI student group in development through the College, in addition to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) group based in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and other potential cross-college collaborative projects, there are growing opportunities for students to learn more about HR, get involved with campus professional organizations, and put into practice critical elements of HR through an internship experience.

Involvement Induction

If you or your organization are interested in offering HR-related or other business internship opportunities, contact the Ulmer Career Management Center at For Chief Human Resources Officers interested in getting involved in future roundtable sessions or for other information on this growing program, email Dr. Alfred Frager at

About the UofL College of Business:

Founded in 1953, the UofL College of Business fosters intellectual and economic vitality in our city, region, and the global business landscape. Our academic programs, research, community outreach initiatives, and commitment to student success inspire lives and businesses to flourish through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical thinking, diversity, and the power of people.

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