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“Genius Grant” Awardee Visits LER to Discuss Her Work

On February 11, LER welcomed Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, to campus for a presentation titled “The Future of Care: What We Need for a Changing America”. The talk was part of a tour to promote her book, “Aging with Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.” Poo’s inspirational talk was hosted by the LER’s Center for Global Workers’ Rights, and co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s Studies, the Department of Asian Studies., the Center for Global Studies, and the Central Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

On February 11, LER welcomed Ai-Jen Poo, Director of the National Domestic Alliance (NDWA) and Co-director of the Caring Across Generations campaign, to campus for a presentation titled “The Future of Care: What We Need for a Changing America”.  The talk was part of a tour to promote her book, “Aging with Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.”

Poo’s inspirational talk was hosted by the LER’s Center for Global Workers’ Rights, and co-sponsored by the Department of Women’s Studies, the Department of Asian Studies., the Center for Global Studies, and the Central Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

An organizer of immigrant women workers since 1996, Poo co-founded Domestic Workers United (DWU) in 2002.  The New York organization spearheaded the passage of the state’s historic Domestic Workers Bill of Rights 2010.  Poo is also the co-director of Caring Across Generations, through which she leads a movement of careworkers, parents, grandparents, children, and lawmakers to ensure that all people can mature in this country with dignity, security, and independence.

Poo is a 2014 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and was named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2012.  Other accolades include the Ms. Foundation Woman of Vision Award, the Independent Sector American Express NGen Leadership Award, and Newsweek’s 150 Fearless Women list.

Poo’s lecture opened with a warm introduction from current LER graduate student and domestic workers’ rights activist, Shirley Lee Pryce.  Poo then shared stories from her own life, discussing her personal experiences with her grandparents’ aging, then invited the audience to reflect upon the impact their families and caregivers have on their lives.  She shared that her grandfather spent the end of his life in a nursing home against his wishes.  Living in poor conditions and unhappy, he passed away within three months of entering the home.  Poo contrasted this experience with that of her grandmother who has been able to stay in her home with a caregiver and has had a far better quality of life.

Poo discussed how home care has many advantages for the elderly and said that this should be a part of our country’s  plan to handle the coming “elder boom.”  Sadly, it is not.  “By 2050, 27 million people will need care and assistance to reach daily needs,” she explained. “Care costs about $87,000 a year and domestic workers are making an average wage of $9 an hour.  The majority are women, people of color, with 30% relying on public assistance while working full time jobs.”

Poo discussed both the emotional and financial costs associated with not taking a stand on this topic. Homecare workers are the fastest growing industry in the nation, yet at the poverty wages paid, most are unable to take care of their own families despite working full time. According to Poo, as a country, the way we approach health and dying is marked by scarcity and fear, even though getting older is actually a blessing.

Poo explained that as a result of her own family’s life experience, she believes the true change will come with millennials stepping up, motivated by the relationships they have with their grandparents today. She stated, “If millennials want change, it will happen and now’s the time.”

She furthermore discussed how to get involved in the movement to take better care of the elderly and the people who care for them. She invited members of the sudience to sign up on her website, CaringAcrossAmerica.com, to help make the change happen.  “It is important that we, as a society, continue to talk about this issue. The conversation needs to start at home with our families,” she explained. “We need to ask our families how can we prepare for our future care needs?”

Poo suggested that after we have this conversation with our families, it is crucial that we continue to talk and take this discussion to our elected officials and make it a public conversation. “Ultimately, we need to age well together,” said Poo. “It is very costly, both emotionally and financially, not to and this fast growing industry of domestic care is worth investing in.”

While on campus Poo also made a second presentation as part of the School’s Brown Bag Lunch Speaker Series.. In this session, faculty and students had an opportunity to learn more about Poo pioneering work organizing domestic workers.  In closing, Poo stated that she was very impressed with the fact that Penn State has established the Center for Global Workers’ Rights. “This puts you light years above other schools.”

 

2nd Global Conference of International Human Resource Management Held on Campus in May

The 2nd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management was held on May 14-15, 2015 at the University Park campus following the success of the 1st Global Conference held in May 2013.  The conference attracted over seventy scholars from seventeen countries carrying out research in the field of international human resource management (IHRM). Some forty papers were presented covering a broad range of IHRM topics, including: global talent management; global leadership development; expatriate management and global careers; corporate social responsibility and the globalization of work; diversity and aging in different national settings; HRM in emerging markets; cross-national perspectives on IHRM; and high performance work systems in different country contexts.

Participants heard keynote speeches from two leading scholars in the IHRM field. Xiao-Ping Chen (Philip M. Condit Endowed Chair Professor and Chair of Department of Management and Organization at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington) gave a highly engaging presentation on “Beyond Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation: Empowerment, Passion, Creativity, and Innovation”, drawing from her research with the well-known Alibaba corporation in China. Michael Morley (Professor of Management at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland) presented a thought-provoking presentation on “Root Trajectories in International Human Resource Management Research and the Consequences for our Lines of Inquiry”.

The conference was supported by the School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State, as well as a leading HRM academic journal, the International Journal of Human Resource Management. Additional sponsorship was also provided by the Center for Global Studies at Penn State. The Organizing Committee included LER faculty Elaine Farndale, Maja Vidović, Sumita Raghuram, and Helen Liu.

75th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Celebration

As indicated in my note above, the School of LER will mark the completion of 75 years of service with a Gala Dinner and Celebration! The event will be held Friday, April 13 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. and a program to begin at 8:00. The theme of the dinner and program will be the Future of Work and the Workplace. The program will draw on the expertise of our School’s faculty and will include short presentations on the future of the workforce, the human resource profession, the labor movement, and labor and employment law. The presentations will be followed by a forum during which alums can ask questions of the faculty presenters or offer their own views about what the years ahead hold for labor and employment relations and human resource practitioners.

As indicated in my note above, the School of LER will mark the completion of 75 years of service with a Gala Dinner and Celebration!  The event will be held Friday, April 13 at the Nittany Lion Inn. 

The evening will begin with a reception at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:00 p.m. and a program to begin at 8:00.  The theme of the dinner and program will be the Future of Work and the Workplace.  The program will draw on the expertise of our School’s faculty and will include short presentations on the future of the workforce, the human resource profession, the labor movement, and labor and employment law.  The presentations will be followed by a forum during which alums can ask questions of the faculty presenters or offer their own views about what the years ahead hold for labor and employment relations and human resource practitioners.

For alums interested in recruiting our great undergraduate and Masters students, our Career Services Coordinator Jessica Steele will hold a session to familiarize you with our newly-created LER Career Center and the background and skills our students can bring to your organization.  The session will be held before the dinner at 4:00 pm on the 13th.  For alums who cannot make it to campus by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, the session will be repeated at 9:30 a.m. Saturday the 14th.

Alums are also encouraged to organize mini-reunions of friends and acquaintances with whom they shared their time on campus.  If you need help locating classmates you have lost touch with, just contact Mark Ivicic in our office at mci104@psu.edu.

The School is also looking for organizations interested serving as sponsors for the 75th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Celebration.  Sponsorship funding will be used to defray the cost of the dinner and fund the LER Student Enrichment Fund which provides financial support for out of class student activities such as internships, student organizations, study abroad, and case competitions.  Four sponsorship levels are available at the following amounts (and the number of dinner registrations the sponsor is entitled to):

  • Mt. Nittany Sponsor                    $5,000 (4 guests)
  • Beaver Stadium Sponsor             $2,500 (3 guests)
  • Penn State Blue Sponsor             $1,000 (2 guests)
  • Penn State White Sponsor           $500 (1 guest)

Registration information for the Anniversary Dinner will be sent by email in the next few days.  So, if you want to be sure of a seat, please register as soon as you receive the information.

Alumni Spotlight: Jim Sullivan Appointed to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission

Jim Sullivan, an LER alum (’77) and former member of the School’s Alumni (APG) Board, was appointed by President Trump to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) in May 16, 2017. He is currently awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation and hopes to be sworn in to his new position in the near future. OSHRC is an independent agency that adjudicates contested citations between employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration through administrative trials and appellate review. Jim, a graduate of Georgetown Law School and a current member of Cozen O’Connor’s Law Firm's Labor & Employment Section, will be one of three Commissioners.

Jim Sullivan, an LER alum (’77) and former member of the School’s Alumni (APG) Board, was appointed by President Trump to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) in May 16, 2017. He is currently awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation and hopes to be sworn in to his new position in the near future. OSHRC is an independent agency that adjudicates contested citations between employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration through administrative trials and appellate review.  Jim, a graduate of Georgetown Law School and a current member of the Cozen O’Connor’s Law Firm's Labor & Employment Section, will be one of three Commissioners.

During his 37-year career, Jim's law practice has focused on labor and employment law, including workplace safety and health matters. He recently completed a three-year term as the management co-chair of the American Bar Association's Committee on Occupational Safety & Health Law and has practiced law with fellow alum and APG Board Member Tom Giotto since 1997.

While at PSU, Jim served as President of the Interfraternity Council his Junior year and as a cheerleader (and as the substitute Nittany Lion mascot) during his Sophomore, Junior and Senior years. He cheered at the Cotton, Sugar and Gator bowls and was a part of the cheerleading squad which initiated the "WE ARE" cheer in the mid 70's.

Jim spent his college summers as a lifeguard in Ocean City, NJ.  In 1976, while still a labor studies student, Jim helped organize the Ocean City New Jersey Lifeguard Association and have it recognized as a collective bargaining unit by the New Jersey Public Relations Commission. In his last summer on the OC Beach Patrol Jim negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement for seasonal employees in Ocean City history. In August 2015, Jim was initiated into the OCBP Hall of Fame for his work on behalf of the lifeguard's union.

Jim has been married to his wife Terry since 1986 and has 3 grown children and one grandchild. Two of their children and their respective spouses are Penn State graduates.

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten delivers 24th Annual Philip Murray Lecture

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten delivers 24th Annual Philip Murray Lecture

Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO, delivered LER’s 24th Annual Philip Murray Lecture in April, offering her view on the future of American public education, collective bargaining, unions, and students’ roles in shaping the future of the new economy.

As part of Weingarten’s advice for students, she offered, “As you enter the workforce, remember: Power never yields willingly, but it cedes to the power of working people joining together and speaking out.”

Weingarten also spoke to the increasing power of education in determining long-term career success. “Our economy is different from the old economy,” she said. “Then, 1 in 3 workers was a union member. Now, 1 in 3 workers is a freelancer. Then, you didn’t need a college education to get a middle-class job. Now, college grads earn about $1.2 million more than someone with a high school diploma.”

She noted that as industries shift with changing technologies, and more careers are built by small businesses and emerging enterprises, the power of partnerships increases.

“For collective bargaining to work in the 21st century, it can’t be based on a 20th-century model,” said Weingarten. “We can no longer focus exclusively on the workplace or rely on union density to set market standards, raise wages or improve working conditions. As our economy changes, as work changes, how we bargain and what gets bargained must also change.

“Community is our new density. And we need a new approach that builds power through partnership with community and leverages that power at the bargaining table to advance community needs. Some call this bargaining for the common good, bargaining that addresses both the needs of the company and the needs of the community.”

Before the lecture, LER Director Paul Clark said, “We are honored to welcome Ms. Weingarten to Penn State to speak about the critical issues facing public education in our country today.  She is a very high profile figure in this important field and her talk should be of great interest to the University and regional communities.”

The AFT represents teachers; paraprofessionals and school-related personnel; higher education faculty and staff; nurses and other healthcare professionals; local, state and federal government employees; and early childhood educators. Its mission is to promote fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for students, their families and communities. Prior to her election as AFT president in 2008, Weingarten served for 12 years as president of the United Federation of Teachers, representing approximately 200,000 educators in the New York City public school system. In 2013, the New York Observer named Weingarten one of the most influential New Yorkers of the past 25 years. Washington Life magazine included Weingarten on its 2013 Power 100 list of influential leaders.

Article published on Liu and Raghuram research

http://news.psu.edu/story/407081/2016/04/27/research/bosses-should-maintain-goodwill-when-saying-goodbye-ex-employees

 

April 27, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Even though saying farewell to departing employees is a more frequent occurrence in today's high-turnover industries, researchers suggest that leaders should maintain good relationships with these workers as they exit.

"When we, as researchers, study organizations, or even when we study how managers look at employees, we see that businesses often assume that the relationship terminates when a person leaves the organization," said Sumita Raghuram, associate professor, human resource management, Penn State. "However, in our research, we extend the employment boundary outside of the organization. We believe that the relationship does not end there and you have to be mindful of the people who actually left the organization."

In a study, workers who had good relationships with their bosses carried that goodwill into their new jobs, which could lead to important benefits for their former workplaces, according to the researchers.

"These ex-employees, who we call organizational alumni, can be very important for you," said Raghuram. "They are the ones who can be your ambassadors."

She added that workers who felt good about their former employers could become future customers and could also relay new business knowledge and insights back to their old employers.

"They can also come back to work for you as boomerang employees," Raghuram said. "They are a very powerful force and we cannot ignore that."

One way to increase this alumni goodwill is to make a good effort to retain employees when they announce a pending departure, according to the researchers, who released their findings in a recent issue of Personnel Psychology.

"When an employee quits they are sensitive to how they were treated when they left the organization. For example, did anyone care to tell them that they will be missed, or try to stop them from leaving by offering genuine inducements?" Raghuram said. "What we find, once again, is that a strong retention effort can reinforce the effect between relationships with bosses and alumni goodwill."

The researchers also found that employees may actually be leaving their companies because good relationships with their bosses helped them build up their capabilities. Those improved skills can help them land better jobs with higher salaries than the positions they quit.

The researchers collected data from employees of a global information technology firm headquartered in India. A total of 128 employees were tracked over an 18-month period, which included time that they were employed and after they quit the company.

During the interviews, the former employees were asked their opinion of their former employers, whether there were efforts to retain them, their experiences when they left and details about their new jobs.

Raghuram worked with Xiangmin Liu, assistant professor of human resource management, Penn State and Ravi Shanker Gajendran, assistant professor of business administration and Deepak Somaya, associate professor of business administration and Stephen V. and Christy C. King Faculty Fellow, both of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The Society for Human Resource Management and the Indian School of Business Visiting Scholar Program supported this work.

Cargill Launches the 2016 Competition of the Cargill Global Scholars Program

Cargill Launches the 2016 Competition of the Cargill Global Scholars Program
Cargill and the Institute of International Education (IIE) are pleased to announce the launch of
the 2016 Cargill Global Scholars Program application cycle.

We have deeply valued our partnership with Pennsylvania State University over the past three years
of the program and hope to continue this partnership in the program’s fourth year. We would also
like to extend congratulations to the student from Pennsylvania State University who was selected
as a Cargill Global Scholars for the 2015 application cycle.

As a partner university, your first and second year undergraduate students who demonstrate
exemplary academic achievement, leadership potential and study in a field relevant to Cargill’s
world of food, agriculture and risk management are eligible to apply.

In addition to an annual scholarship award of $2,500 for up to two years, the Cargill Global
Scholars Program provides leadership development opportunities through seminars, networking events,
and a one-on-one mentoring program with executives from Cargill. These enrichment activities have
been designed to help foster and enhance the Cargill Global Scholars’ leadership potential and  
critical thinking skills, and equip them with the tools necessary for becoming global leaders and
decisions makers.
In the United States 10 scholarships will be awarded during the 2016 academic year. Students
specializing in any of the following areas are encouraged to apply:
The application deadline is March 1, 2016 and we are currently accepting applications online,
through our website. To access the
application or learn more about the Cargill Global Scholars Program please visit:
http://www.cargillglobalscholars.com/. We encourage you to please share this information with your
eligible students and encourage them to apply.

For further information on the Cargill Global Scholars Program in the United States, please
contact: Cargillglobalscholars@iie.org
Announcing the 2016 Cargill Global Scholars Program
2015 Cargill Global Scholars Program - U.S. Leadership Seminar
•    Agriculture Related Field
•    Business
•    Computer Science
•    Economics
•    Engineering
•    Food Science
•    International Relations
•    Political Science
•    Public

Center for International Human Resource Studies Making an Impact; Global Conference Begins May 14

Entering its third year of operation, the Center for International Human Resource Studies (CIHRS) continues to develop a strong community of academics and practitioners passionate about international human resource management (IHRM). The Center, under the direction of Professor Elaine Farndale, is now preparing for its second Global IHRM Conference, May 14-15 at University Park. At the first conference in 2013, more than eighty scholars and graduate students from twenty-three countries gathered to discuss IHRM topics. A similar gathering is expected again this year, largely attracted by renowned keynote speakers: Professor Xiaoping Chen (Foster School of Business, University of Washington) and Professor Michael Morley (Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland).
Center for International Human Resource Studies Making an Impact; Global Conference Begins May 14

From left to right: Sumita Raghuram, Lisa Pierson, Helen Liu, Dinçer Atli, Elaine Farndale, Elizabeth Rockey, Maja Vidović and Saahir Shafi.

Entering its third year of operation, the Center for International Human Resource Studies (CIHRS) continues to develop a strong community of academics and practitioners passionate about international human resource management (IHRM).

The Center, under the direction of Professor Elaine Farndale, is now preparing for its second Global IHRM Conference, May 14-15 at University Park. At the first conference in 2013, more than eighty scholars and graduate students from twenty-three countries gathered to discuss IHRM topics. A similar gathering is expected again this year, largely attracted by renowned keynote speakers: Professor Xiaoping Chen (Foster School of Business, University of Washington) and Professor Michael Morley (Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland).

Formed in 2012, and recognized as a full-fledged research center in 2014, CIHRS encourages IHRM scholarly research to serve the International HR practitioner community. Through targeted events, the Center enables the sharing of ideas to advance knowledge and practice in the field. Current research includes collecting data on HRM policies and practices across the US as part of the on-going international CRANET project.

Professor Farndale is assisted by LER professors Sumita Raghuram and Helen Liu, post-doctoral scholar Maja Vidović, and administrative assistant Lisa Pierson. This year, Saahir Shafi and Elizabeth Rockey (current and former LER students) have also served as research assistants. Dr Dinçer Atli joined CIHRS as a post-doctoral visiting scholar for the 2014-15 academic year. An Assistant Professor at Uskudar University (Turkey), Dr Atli’s research focuses on talent management and employer attractiveness in media companies.

 

Clark Receives President’s Award

Paul Clark, professor and director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations, has been awarded the 2014 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration. The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment and service.

Paul Clark, professor and director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations, has been awarded the 2014 President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Integration. The award is given to a full-time faculty member who has exhibited extraordinary achievement in the integration of teaching, research or creative accomplishment and service.

Over the past decade, Clark led School of Labor and Employment Relations faculty in developing and implementing an online professional master’s degree in human resources and employee relations. Launched in 2008, the degree is targeted toward working professionals and currently has the largest enrollment of any World Campus degree.

Even though Clark has been the department head and graduate program director since 2002, he continues to teach the 100-level introduction to labor and employment relations course to up to 200 students each year, saying he is passionate about introducing students to his field.

Clark is also widely recognized for his scholarship. He is the author or editor of six books and 55 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has presented papers and invited lectures at professional meetings and universities across the United States and around the world.

For the full story see http://news.psu.edu/story/308546/2014/03/20/clark-recognized-president%E2%80%99s-award-academic-integration

Coming and Goings

The School is sad to report the loss of long-time faculty member Richard Z. Hindle. Dick joined the then Department of Labor Studies in 1970 and retired in 1995 as Associate Professor. Primarily working in the school’s labor education program, Dick conducted programs with unions in eastern Pennsylvania as well as statewide programs at University Park and was widely known and respected by union leaders and activists across the Commonwealth. Dick also taught in the Department’s undergraduate programs and served for many years as the program’s internship coordinator. A native of Reading, Dick held degrees from Kutztown and Temple Universities. He also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict. Labor Studies students fortunate enough to know Professor Hindle will remember him for his warmth and welcoming smile.

The School is sad to report the loss of long-time faculty member Richard Z. Hindle.  Dick joined the then Department of Labor Studies in 1970 and retired in 1995 as Associate Professor.  Primarily working in the school’s labor education program, Dick conducted programs with unions in eastern Pennsylvania as well as statewide programs at University Park and was widely known and respected by union leaders and activists across the Commonwealth.  Dick also taught in the Department’s undergraduate programs and served for many years as the program’s internship coordinator.  A native of Reading, Dick held degrees from Kutztown and Temple Universities.  He also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict.  Labor Studies students fortunate enough to know Professor Hindle will remember him for his warmth and welcoming smile.

In August, the School added Valerie Braman as a labor educator and Lecturer of Labor and Employment Relations.  Valerie’s main responsibilities will be to promote and conduct the School’s labor education work in southeastern Pennsylvania.  She will also teach in the programs World Campus degree programs.  To facilitate this work she will be based in the Philadelphia area.  Valerie comes to the School following six years as a Staff Representative/Affiliate Organizer with the Pennsylvania affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers.  She holds degrees from Brown and Gwynedd Mercy Universities and is a graduate of our School’s Labor Leadership Institute. 

 Professor Helen Liu left LER at the end of the Fall 2016 semester.  She came to the School in 2009 and taught courses in human resource management and research methods at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

 

Congratulations to Meghan Stouter for winning the 2016 James Elliott Award

James Elliott began his distinguished career at Penn State in the central Office of Human Resources in October 1954.  Having served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, and being a graduate from Penn State University, it came as no surprise when Mr. Elliott demonstrated leadership abilities that led to many promotions and added responsibilities throughout his HR career.  He quickly became Director of Human Resources, and was a highly respected HR professional both locally and nationally.  He was instrumental in starting the Centre County Personnel Association, which ultimately developed into the Human Resource Association of Centre County.  Mr. Elliott was also the chief negotiator for many years in bargaining with Teamsters Local Union No. 8 and the Pennsylvania Nurses Association. 

Upon his retirement in June 2006, Mr. Elliott was awarded the high honor of emeritus rank in recognition of his exemplary and meritorious service to Penn State.  James M. Elliott died tragically in an auto accident in 2007, shaking the Penn State and HR community.  In 2008, Penn State’s Board of Trustees named the building housing the Office of Human Resources in Mr. Elliott’s honor.

James Elliott served as a mentor to several generations of human resources and other professional staff, whom he considered his extended family. His razor-sharp intellect and wit were legendary, and he was a firm believer in clear-headed thinking.  He was a dedicated student of the English language and gently insisted on its proper usage. Most of all, he was the epitome of integrity and trust, and he never missed an opportunity to help someone in need.

Congratulations to Meghan!

Congratulations to Our 2014 Student Marshall, Ian Dowling!

Ian is the son of Jerome and Deborah Dowling of Titusville, Pennsylvania. An active student in the School of Labor and Employment Relations integrated undergraduate/graduate program, Ian will graduate with three degrees: a M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations and undergraduate degrees in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and History. During summers he completed HR internships at Air Liquide in Houston, TX and Alcoa in Lancaster, PA.

Ian is the son of Jerome and Deborah Dowling of Titusville, Pennsylvania. An active student in the School of Labor and Employment Relations integrated undergraduate/graduate program, Ian will graduate with three degrees: a M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations and undergraduate degrees in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and History. During summers he completed HR internships at Air Liquide in Houston, TX and Alcoa in Lancaster, PA. He attended Penn State on the James Broadhurst and Lee McKinney Scholarships and enjoyed working part-time at the University Library and as a research assistant. After graduation he will be employed in Bell Helicopter Textron's HR Leadership Development Program and his first rotation will be Amarillo, Texas.

Director’s Update - January 2017

2017 is here, students have returned from the holiday break, and the Spring semester is underway. This year New Year’s has special significance for the School of Labor and Employment Relations as 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of our program. LER was founded in 1942 as part of an effort to ensure peaceful labor-management relations in Pennsylvania during World War II. Penn State was asked to provide training for union leaders and activists working in industries important to the war effort on the basis that informed union leaders would be better able to resolve disputes with management and prevent disruption of the war effort. In fact, the first such program was conducted at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, a key production facility that built battleships for the U.S. Navy.

2017 is here, students have returned from the holiday break, and the Spring semester is underway.  This year New Year’s has special significance for the School of Labor and Employment Relations as 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of our program.  LER was founded in 1942 as part of an effort to ensure peaceful labor-management relations in Pennsylvania during World War II.  Penn State was asked to provide training for union leaders and activists working in industries important to the war effort on the basis that informed union leaders would be better able to resolve disputes with management and prevent disruption of the war effort.  In fact, the first such program was conducted at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, a key production facility that built battleships for the U.S. Navy. 

From its origins as a small labor education program, LER has evolved into a School offering six different undergraduate degrees, three graduate degrees, and three certificate programs in residence at University Park and online through the World Campus that prepare practitioners to work in employment relations and human resource management for employers, unions, and government.  Our faculty are involved in cutting edge research on a range of issues related to work and employment and regularly publish their findings in books, journals, and practitioner publications.  And we have growing outreach programs that bring the expertise of LER’s faculty to management practitioners through our Academy for Human Resource Development and to unions and union leaders through the School’s Labor Education Program.  As the work of our School has grown, so has our faculty.  In 2016, we reached a high of 25 full-time, and 75 part-time, faculty members.

It takes the contributions of many people over many years to build the kind of School we have today.  Our program has been fortunate to have had many committed faculty who helped build a student-centered culture that has stood the test of time.  We have also had caring and knowledgeable staff who took a genuine interest in our students and helped steer them through the maze of requirements, forms, and deadlines that stand between every Penn State student and their degree.  And when our students have become alumni and gone on to successful careers, they have remained in touch with the program and have demonstrated their loyalty by giving of their time, expertise, and money to help the generations of students who have followed in their footsteps.

So, as we reach this important milestone in the history of our School, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni can take pride in what we have accomplished over three quarters of a century.  And I hope we can all bring the same commitment and passion that has served us so well as we embark on the next chapter in our history.

Director’s Update: October 2015

Summer is a nice time of year in Happy Valley.  Most of the students leave for home, internships, or other adventures.  The town is quiet (except for Arts Festival week!), the hills are green, and there are no lines at restaurants.  But after a few months of this tranquility, the folks who live here year round start to miss the students and the energy they bring to campus.  And just about then… they come back.  All 48,000 of them!  This happened just a few weeks ago, and now that we have gotten through the chaotic first few weeks, we are settling back into the routine of fall semester.

Like always, we have a busy semester of activities planned.  Our student organizations have all held there first meetings and are busy trying to recruit new members.  One development in this regard is that two of our most active groups have decided to merge because of a significant overlap in membership.  The Society of Labor and Employment Relations (SLER) (which traces its roots back to The Labor Studies Club) and the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) have joined together to form one group which at this moment is unnamed (the frontrunner is SHRM-ER!).  Our two labor-oriented groups, United Students Against Sweatshops and Student Works at Penn State continue as separate organizations since the former focuses on international issues and the latter on domestic.

Surprisingly, even though we are still in the early part of the semester there is a lot of buzz among our students about jobs. This is because the big Fall Career Fair at Bryce Jordan is held in the third week of classes.  Based on the experience of the last few years, we are pretty confident that this year’s graduates will do very well in the job market.  In fact, even though the semester just began several of our M.S. students have accepted positions with great employers.  Since many of our alums have responsibility for recruiting new employees for their employer, I want to invite you to let us know If your company or organization is looking for young talent in the human resources, employment relations, or labor areas.  Better yet, set up a recruiting trip to Penn State.  We’ll make sure our best and brightest students know of your opening.

Fall means the return of football weekends.  If you come to campus on the Friday afternoon before a game, stop by, say hello, and check out our still relatively new offices.  You won’t find us in the Liberal Arts Tower, Old Botany, or Williard.  We have moved since those days.  We are now on the 5th Floor of Keller Building, right across the street from the Nittany Lion Inn and the Nittany Parking Deck.

 

Director's Update January 2016

Well, it is mid-January here in Happy Valley and winter has finally arrived. At last, there IS snow on the Lion.

Well, it is mid-January here in Happy Valley and winter has finally arrived.  At last, there IS snow on the Lion.

And like the snow, the students have come back and classes are underway.  Spring semester always brings one of the highlights of the year—THON.  I am proud to say that LER students are again in the thick of the world’s largest student-run charitable fund-raiser.  But to break last year’s record and add to the $127 million THON has raised since its inception ($127 MILLION!!), they need your help.  Take a look at the article below and, if you can, contribute to one of the greatest causes possible—pediatric cancer research.

Spring semester also brings our second Alumni Weekend of the year.  On April 14 and 15 the LER Alumni Board and other interested alums will return to campus to meet and mentor our students, participate in our annual student/alumni forum, and reconnect with LER faculty and other alums.  We will be sending out details in the weeks ahead, but block off the dates and make plans to come to campus in the spring.  After the snow melts.

Director's Update - January 2018

This past year marked the 75th anniversary of our program. Completing three quarters of a century of service to the Penn State community is a significant achievement and we intend to celebrate this milestone with a Gala Dinner and Celebration in the spring! The big event will be held Friday, April 13 on campus and all alums are invited. Beaver Stadium and Bryce Jordan were booked , so we had to settle for the Ballroom at the Nittany Lion Inn. It only holds 150, so seating will be limited. Registration information will be sent by email in the next few days. If you want to be sure of a seat, please register as soon as you receive the information (more detail in the story below). 2017 was notable, not only because it was our 75th anniversary, but because it was one of the most productive, and most challenging, years in our program’s history. Among the many good things that happened was the continued enrollment growth of our residential and online undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, a record number of our students chose to have some kind of international experience (study abroad, study tour, or international internship) in the past year, something our School has made a priority. Our students are also having great success in the job market and more and more companies are coming to our office to recruit our undergraduate and graduate students.

This past year marked the 75th anniversary of our program.  Completing three quarters of a century of service to the Penn State community is a significant achievement and we intend to celebrate this milestone with a Gala Dinner and Celebration in the spring!  The big event will be held Friday, April 13 on campus and all alums are invited. Beaver Stadium and Bryce Jordan were booked J, so we had to settle for the Ballroom at the Nittany Lion Inn.  It only holds 150, so seating will be limited. Registration information will be sent by email in the next few days.  If you want to be sure of a seat, please register as soon as you receive the information (more detail in the story below).

2017 was notable, not only because it was our 75th anniversary, but because it was one of the most productive, and most challenging, years in our program’s history.  Among the many good things that happened was the continued enrollment growth of our residential and online undergraduate and graduate programs. In addition, a record number of our students chose to have some kind of international experience (study abroad, study tour, or international internship) in the past year, something our School has made a priority. Our students are also having great success in the job market and more and more companies are coming to our office to recruit our undergraduate and graduate students. 

Our faculty have also been very productive.  Over the last two years, they have completely redesigned our undergraduate and graduate curricula. In the area of research and scholarship, they have presented their work at meetings around the world and publishing articles in many of the top academic journals in human resource management and labor and employment relations.  They have also worked hard to grow our School’s outreach programs to both the labor movement and the HR community.

At the same time, our School has been challenged by the loss of a number of faculty and staff.  Some of these losses have been due to retirement (Professors Alan Derickson and staff member Lisa Pierson) and new opportunities (Professor Helen Liu).  Others have been tragic.  In October, Professor Stan Gully unexpectedly passed away.  Also this fall, Professor Amy Dietz was forced to take a leave of absence to battle cancer.  Losing these people (even for a semester in Amy’s case) has been difficult for our students, staff, and faculty alike.  If there is a silver lining to these losses, it is the way our School has come together as a community, supporting and taking care of one another through some trying times.

Another encouraging sign has been the School’s ability to begin to fill the void left by these departures. In December we completed what might be the most successful faculty search in School history. The result will be the addition of five new faculty in the year ahead.  This month, Professor Rebecca Tarlau joined our faculty; she will split her time between the Department of Adult Education and LER.  In the Fall, we will welcome four outstanding young scholars.  Kameron Carter and Dorothea Roumpi will join us as Assistant Professors of Human Resource Management and Michael Maffie and Kate Maich will come on board as Assistant Professors of Labor and Employment Relations. We believe this recruiting class includes five of the most talented and dynamic young scholars in the HR and ER fields and we are confident that our students will greatly benefit from the chance to work with, and be taught by, them.

So the future looks bright.

 

Director's Update - July 2017

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for our School, and Spring 2017 was no exception. Among other highlights, fifteen of our students traveled to Silicon Valley, California during Spring Break to learn about human resources in the high tech sector. The trip was part of a course on that subject taught by Professor Sumita Raghuram. Visiting company headquarters and meeting with HR professionals from Facebook, Survey Monkey, Uber, Cisco, Yelp, and Google provided students with a great opportunity to get first-hand knowledge of HR practices in this exciting industry. Jessica Steele, our School’s Career Advisor, helped lead the trip and took every chance to tell the companies visited about the great students we are turning out.

Spring is usually the busiest time of year for our School, and Spring 2017 was no exception.  Among other highlights, fifteen of our students traveled to Silicon Valley, California during Spring Break to learn about human resources in the high tech sector.  The trip was part of a course on that subject taught by Professor Sumita Raghuram.  Visiting company headquarters and meeting with HR professionals from Facebook, Survey Monkey, Uber, Cisco, Yelp, and Google provided students with a great opportunity to get first-hand knowledge of HR practices in this exciting industry. Jessica Steele, our School’s Career Advisor, helped lead the trip and took every chance to tell the companies visited about the great students we are turning out.  

Spring also saw our School’s students traveling abroad.  For the first time, we offered our World Campus Masters students a chance to take a study tour.  Sixteen online students traveled to Ireland to learn more about international human resources and employment relations.  And a second group of University Park students spent several days in Sweden learning about the country’s approach to HR.  More on both trips below.

Our Annual Philip Murray Memorial Labor Lecture is always one of the highlights of the spring semester.  This year’s lecture was presented by Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union, the second largest union in the country.  She gave a great talk and also met with LER students interested in the labor movement.

Spring also means commencement.  As has become our tradition, we participated in two receptions for graduates of our program during commencement weekend.  On Friday night, a large number of our World Campus students attended a reception in their honor at the Bryce Jordan Center.  These students came from all over the country to attend graduation, and for many, this was their first visit to campus.  On Saturday, we held our Annual Commencement Reception on the lawn in front of Pattee Library for students from both University Park and the World Campus. The reception presents a chance for faculty and staff to meet the families and friends of our graduates and, in turn, grads take the opportunity to introduce loved ones to the faculty and staff who helped them along the way.  This year we had record crowds at both receptions.

Our faculty and staff always look forward to the summer based on the mistaken belief that the hectic pace at our School will slow down.  But we seem to be as busy as any other time of year.  Since commencement we have hosted a Global Conference on International HR Management in New York City, conducted a four-day seminar for regional union leaders as part of the Mid-Atlantic Labor Leadership Institute, and had 54 of our online MPS students visit campus for our annual One-Week Intensive Summer Class program.  This in addition to offering 49 online classes throughout the summer.    

One constant for our faculty and staff is how quickly the summer flies by.  Fall classes start August 21, so it will not be long until the students are back on campus and a full schedule of classes for our University Park and World Campus students gets underway.  As is always the case at LER, we have a lot planned for our students when they do return.  We are looking forward to a great 2017-2018!

 

Dr. Sarah Damaske has an article published in Harvard Business Review

https://hbr.org/2016/04/the-two-main-sources-of-stress-for-high-status-workers

 

High-status jobs are known to bring with them a number of benefits: higher incomes, greater job autonomy, and even, according to some research, longer lives. Yet there may also be some downside to these jobs: greater stress levels and less happiness at work.

Although social scientists have long assumed that low-status jobs brought higher stress, research in recent years has suggested otherwise: those in high-status jobs appeared to be more stressed. But the research was incomplete as it relied on people’s memories of how stressed they had generally been over the past few days or weeks. This could be problematic as people may misremember how stressed out they were or conflate stress experienced at a different location (like home) with stress on the job.

In order to investigate differing stress levels for high-SES (socioeconomic status, measured in our study by someone’s education and income) and low-SES workers in the workplace, our research used a novel data collection technique in which workers, using handheld devices we provided, reported their stress levels on the spot when prompted by an audio signal several times a day while going about their daily life. This let us repeatedly measure stress levels and work perceptions on the job in real time so that we could better understand how they might change over time. We also asked participants to collect a saliva sample at the time of the prompt in order to measure whether their cortisol levels (a biological measure of stress) had also risen, which would show an increase in stress.

The data collected using these novel methods allowed us to confirm in our research (forthcoming in Social Science & Medicine) that, indeed, high-status workers report greater stress on the job than do low-status workers. They also reported being less happy at work. We did not, however, find differences in cortisol levels in stress at work between those with high- and low-status jobs.

What could explain these differences in stress? Our data collection included three sets of in-the-moment questions that asked participants about their perceptions of work at the time of the prompts. The workers’ answers – what we call their “momentary perceptions” – suggest some important clues.

Perhaps surprisingly, at the time of the prompts, individuals with higher-SES reported significantly less ability to meet job demands at work and fewer resources to do their jobs than did individuals with lower-SES. High-SES individuals also were slightly more likely to report that their jobs were less positive than lower-SES workers. In other words, despite having jobs that confer higher incomes, higher-SES workers appear to feel less able to complete work tasks, more likely to lack the resources they need to complete those tasks, and somewhat less positive about their workplaces.

Stress and happiness rose and fell with these momentary experiences. For example, when workers reported more resources they also reported being happier and less stressed. Similarly, at moments when the workplace was seen as more positive, workers were happier, less stressed, and had lower cortisol levels. In contrast, the experience of meeting work demands was more complicated – moments in which workers reported meeting lots of demands were associated with less happiness, more stress, and more cortisol. Although meeting workplace demands may be important and valuable, the act of doing so may entail physical, emotional, and cognitive costs as individuals expend effort to meet these demands. Our momentary assessments may have captured these subjective “costs” of productivity. This is not to say that failing to meet demands would not also be stressful, but there may be different costs associated with each. Future research should assess whether the stress of getting everything done may be more or less stressful than not getting all of one’s work done

Additionally, not having the resources to do one’s job was associated with lower levels of happiness and greater stress. Our findings suggest that high-SES workers more often report that they lack the resources needed to do their job. One explanation may be because their jobs are more demanding and require more resources than are available; alternatively, high-SES workers may expect more resources than are available, which leads to the perception of lack of support at the workplace.

We would caution that we would not interpret these findings to suggest that low-status jobs are more beneficial to workers. In fact, we wonder if some of the stresses of low-status jobs play out more directly at home than at work, even while experiences at work are less stressful. For example, a low-status worker’s job may be more predictable while working, but there are likely to be more concerns about shift changes or unstable scheduling, or low wages and their relationship to food or housing security. Future research should carefully address these and related questions. Of course, our findings speak to these differences between job types on average, and don’t directly address any individual case.

For now, employers might consider asking employees two simple questions based on our findings:

  1. Do you have the necessary resources to do your job?
  2. Do you feel able to meet the demands of your job?

Based on how employees answer these questions, employers may decide to reconfigure the work itself or find ways to compensate for insufficient resources. Taking such steps may in turn lead to a happier and less-stressed workforce.


Sarah Damaske is Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Sociology at Pennsylvania State University.


Matthew J. Zawadzki is Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at the University of California, Merced.


Joshua M. Smyth is Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Medicine at Pennsylvania State University.

El Salvadoran workers face triple threat to securing better treatment

February 10, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Foreign clothing companies that operate in El Salvador could exert their influence to help break apart an alliance that is suppressing access to better pay and working conditions for garment laborers, according to an international team of researchers.

Some greedy factory owners, corrupt labor union representatives and complacent government officials are -- wittingly or unwittingly -- aligned against the country's garment industry workers, said Mark Anner, associate professor of labor and employment relations and the director of the Center for Global Workers’ Rights.

"The nature of the violations to workers' rights and the number of violations are extreme," said Anner. "The violence that is directed at workers is bad and getting worse."

Factories in El Salvador, one of the largest suppliers of clothing to the United States, are part of a global competition in which cutting costs and corners can mean the difference between winning and losing contracts with major clothing brands. Some factories are resorting to underhanded and illegal practices to suppress workers in order to compete, according to the researchers. Workers have even been physically threatened for attempting to exert their rights.

"A lot of workers are caught in a vicious circle with factories facing tighter and tighter margins that lead to lower wages and greater intimidation," said Anner.

The researchers suggest that if major apparel brands that operate in El Salvador, such as Hanes and Nike, could increase the value of their contracts, even slightly, workers and workers' rights groups could benefit.

"Brands can do a lot to lessen this race to the bottom," Anner said. "They could pay a little more and add more stability in contracts, which would go a long way in helping workers."

Companies should also be more aware of possible violations and must be willing to suspend or terminate contracts from firms that violate workers' rights, he said.

Workers who were once protected by unions now believe that some organizations are corrupted, or simply tools of the owners. In some cases, factory owners force workers to join their own unions as terms of employment, or for consideration for special loans. Some owners have reportedly paid off officials of once legitimate unions to keep workers from organizing with legitimate worker organizations.

Workers also told researchers that street gang members have intimidated them from joining or organizing legitimate unions. Anner said the use of these gangs as a form of coercion is relatively new in the struggle for workers rights in El Salvador.

"At first we didn't understand why street gangs would be interested in denying worker rights, but after putting together pieces of the puzzle, a plausible explanation that emerged was that factories are often located in gang territory," said Anner. "The owners of the factory were basically being extorted by the gangs and eventually were brought into regular contact with gang leaders, and these contacts possibly opened up the use of gangs when owners were faced with union problems that they wanted to address through violence or intimidation."

Despite a government that is more sympathetic to workers than previous administrations, officials have done little to stop violations of workers' rights. The laws are out-of-date and full of loopholes, according to the researchers. There are only a few factory inspectors to enforce current laws and, because of low pay, the inspectors are susceptible to bribes and intimidation.

"I would like to think the current government is doing more than previous governments, but there is still a long way to go," said Anner.

El Salvador is not unique in facing a wave of workers' rights suppression, according to Anner.

"We are seeing similar problems in other places in Central America -- Honduras and Guatemala -- and we are seeing it in Asia, especially in Bangladesh and Cambodia," he said.

Anner has spent several years researching worker movements and labor practices in El Salvador.  He and his colleague conducted a series of in-depth interviews from 2012 to 2013 with workers, representatives from union and worker organizations, factory monitors, lawyers and labor rights experts, as well as factory owners and managers. Anner lived in El Salvador for eight years in the late 1980s and 1990s and was himself the target of anti-union violence during that period.

The researchers presented their findings in a recent report published through a joint effort between the Center for Global Workers' Rights and the Worker Rights Consortium.

Embedded course Human Resource Management in Sweden – Maymester 2017

In May, a group of LER students traveled to Sweden to learn about HR policies and practices. The feedback we received from students was very positive:

In May, a group of LER students traveled to Sweden to learn about HR policies and practices.  The feedback we received from the students was very positive:

 “I am extremely grateful to Penn State and the School of Labor and Employment Relations for giving me me such an amazing opportunity to increase my knowledge of human resource management practices exponentially. I have always been accepting of others, but sheltered from the outside world like many other American young adults due to our lack of knowledge of other countries.”

“Most notable to me was their protection of the LGBT community, a major population group that is continuously neglected in and out of the workplace in America.”

 “Fika is a social break when you have a coffee or snack with colleagues. This is a time where work issues can be discussed and not avoided like it often is in America. I would like to start a weekly lunch meeting on Mondays where everyone in each department has lunch together to discuss issues.”

These student voices confirm the value of the embedded programs we offer at our School and their potential for the personal and academic growth of our students.  The group that traveled to Sweden consisted of 12 students from LER and 6 students from the Department of Health Policy and Administration (HPA). The students were accompanied by LER Professor Sumita Raghuram and HPA Professor Diane Spokus.  During the trip the students attended lectures at Gothenburg University, Jonkoping University and the Karolinska Institute and visited Volvo, Husqvarna and IKEA where they discussed HR practices with their managers and had worksite tours. They also learned about the co-determination process where unions have a voice in company policy, the efforts of companies to de-emphasize hierarchy, and the welfare system, among other practices unique to Sweden. The trip was capped off by a visit to Stockholm. 

Embedded courses are one of the ways the School is working to “globalize” the experience of our students.  This is the second year in a row a group of LER students have visited Sweden.  The School conducted its first study tour in 2015 when LER students visited China. 

Where in the world will LER students go in 2018?  Stay tuned.

Faculty Openings in LER

Faculty Position in Labor Education

The School of Labor and Employment Relations at The Pennsylvania State University invites applications for a non-tenure track faculty appointment at the Lecturer rank. The position will be a twelve-month appointment and will include a three-year renewable contract. The position will either be located in the Philadelphia/Southeastern Pennsylvania area or at the University Park Campus. Start date is negotiable. The School of LER is committed to providing union members and leaders with educational opportunities, both through online undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as through non-credit training programs. The successful candidate will have an opportunity to help the School aggressively move forward in these areas. The position will include a combination of responsibilities related to the School’s labor education mission. Among these are: 1) planning, administering, and teaching non-credit labor education programs 2) promoting the School’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs to unions and union members 3) teaching in Penn State’s online degree programs Candidates should have experience working with unions on the development and delivery of labor education programs, as well as the ability to teach non-credit training programs for union members and union-relevant online credit courses. Because of the nature of this work, applicants should be willing to travel and to be involved with evening and weekend programs. Applicants must possess a minimum of a Master’s degree in a relevant field. The School of Labor and Employment Relations is a multidisciplinary program with large residential and online Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, strong research programs, and growing outreach initiatives. Candidates must electronically submit a letter of application and a curriculum vita. All candidates should request letters from three references to be sent directly to Trisha Everhart at pxm205@psu.edu. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Apply here!

Faculty Spotlight: Professor Sarah Damaske, University Park

As a School, we are fortunate to have an accomplished faculty of varied research and teaching interests, as well as extraordinary academic accomplishments. Professor Sarah Damaske is that, and more. Professor Damaske began her life in higher education as an undergraduate at Hamilton College where she received her B.A. in comparative literature, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She subsequently received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from New York University, and spent two years at Rice University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology. She joined the faculty at LER in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Sociology. After establishing an exceptional record of research and teaching she was promoted last spring to Associate Professor with tenure.

As a School, we are fortunate to have an accomplished faculty of varied research and teaching interests, as well as extraordinary academic accomplishments. Professor Sarah Damaske is that, and more.

Professor Damaske began her life in higher education as an undergraduate at Hamilton College where she received her B.A. in comparative literature, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She subsequently received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from New York University, and spent two years at Rice University as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology. She joined the faculty at LER in 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Sociology.  After establishing an exceptional record of research and teaching she was promoted last spring to Associate Professor with tenure.

As a faculty member she has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate courses, including:

  • Race, Gender, and Employment
  • Work-Life Policies and Practices
  • Sociology of the Family

Since joining the faculty, she has published more than a dozen referred articles, most in top scholarly journals.  She also has written articles aimed at sharing the results of her work with practitioners and the general public.  These articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, among other popular publications.  In addition, she has authored a highly acclaimed book titled For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women's Work that was published by the prestigious Oxford University Press and has a second book in progress.  And she has served as a featured speaker at numerous conferences. It is also notable that her research is widely reported by the media, having been cited in stories in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, and by NPR, ABC Nightly News, and the BBC.

Recently, the Penn State Social Science Research Institute published an article on their website featuring Sarah’s latest research on gender and employment relationships. It can be found at http://www.ssri.psu.edu/news/1958/gender-and-employment-relationships-are-explored-damaske-recent-projects

LER faculty and students, however, recognize Professor Damaske as more than an accomplished scholar and teacher.  To faculty, she is also a valued colleague who steps up when the hard work of keeping an academic program running needs to be done.  She also is recognized as someone who is more interested in solving problems and getting things done, then winning esoteric debating points.  To her students she is someone who can push and inspire them to meet high expectations, while also exhibiting empathy and kindness.  In short, she personifies what we hope our School is all about.

Fall 2014 Newsletter

The School of Labor and Employment Relations Fall 2014 Newsletter is now online!

Fall 2014 Newsletter (.pdf)
Fall 2014 Newsletter (.docx)

First HRER On line Faculty Development Workshop

On Sunday, June 22, twenty five of our on line instructors got together at the Atherton Hotel in town to discuss on line teaching techniques. Instructors from both our undergraduate and graduate programs attended, with many traveling long distances (California, Florida and even Denmark!) to attend. This was the first of what we hope will be an annual faculty workshop where our faculty can learn some new teaching techniques, exchange best practices and just have the opportunity to "talk shop" with other members of our geographically diverse teaching staff.

On Sunday, June 22, twenty five of our on line instructors got together at the Atherton Hotel in town to discuss on line teaching techniques. Instructors from both our undergraduate and graduate programs attended, with many traveling long distances (California, Florida and even Denmark!) to attend.  This was the first of what we hope will be an annual faculty workshop where our faculty can learn some new teaching techniques, exchange best practices and just have the opportunity to "talk shop" with other members of our geographically diverse teaching staff.

After opening comments from the staff covering areas like student advising and our efforts to assist students from the now closed National Labor College, the sessions began with talks on basic learning principles and on line instructional techniques from Dr. Angela Linse, Director of the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and Dr. Larry Boggess, the World Campus Director of Faculty Development.  Both were warmly received. They were followed by Dr. Brian Redmond of the PSU Psychology Department, an on line instructor with significant experience. who gave the group a basic tutorial on producing personal You Tube videos for our online classes.  We believe that can add a more personal touch to the on line learning environment.

The afternoon sessions featured group discussions on key areas of concern such as feedback techniques and grading practices, followed by an examination of best practices for team and group assignments.  There were a number of productive thoughts raised that will be distributed to the rest of the online faculty. 

The faculty sessions were then followed in early evening by a reception and welcoming dinner involving students coming in for our summer "hybrid" courses'  one week residential sessions.  Preliminary feedback on the faculty development workshop has been overwhelmingly positive and our hopes are to do an even bigger and better session next summer.

HRER World Campus Masters Program Offers First Embedded Course with Travel to Ireland

In March, after more than a year of planning, the School of Labor and Employment Relations embarked on its first study abroad/hybrid class for online MPS in HRER students. The course, Comparative Employment Relations Systems -- the United States and Ireland, drew sixteen students who completed five online sessions prior to traveling to Limerick, Ireland for their first meeting on March 26. In this respect, the course was comparable to the one-week hybrid classes the School has offered students for several years on campus.

In March, after more than a year of planning, the School of Labor and Employment Relations embarked on its first study abroad/hybrid class for online MPS in HRER students. The course, Comparative Employment Relations Systems -- the United States and Ireland, drew sixteen students who completed five online sessions prior to traveling to Limerick, Ireland for their first meeting on March 26. In this respect, the course was comparable to the one-week hybrid classes the School has offered students for several years on campus.

Students spent the first three days of the trip in Limerick which is situated in the beautiful southwest part of the country. They attended presentations each morning delivered by Department of Personnel and Employment Relations faculty from the University of Limerick’s Kemmy School of Business.  Prior to coming to Ireland the students had read about the research conducted by the faculty making the presentations. Students also attended an evening class that allowed them to meet Limerick students who, like them, were practitioners pursuing Masters degrees. The opportunity gave students from each country a chance to exchange perceptions of their academic and professional activities from their differing points of view.

During their time in Limerick, the students also met with HRER staff from Johnson & Johnson and a representative of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU).  They then traveled by train to Dublin to meet with HRER staff from ICON (an Irish multi-national company) and Guinness. They also found time to take a walking tour of Dublin with a tour guide from the National University of Ireland.

Credit for the study tour goes to Assistant Director of Online Programs Trisha Everhart, who handled the trip’s logistics. The entire Online Team (Trisha, Amy Dietz, Rex Simpson and Brian Redmond) helped craft the initial vision into reality, and Trish and Antone accompanied the delegation to Ireland. Jane Moyer, a PSU alum, member of LER’s Alumni Board, LER online faculty member, and resident of  Dublin, organized the students’ Dublin company visits.  Jane joined the tour in Dublin and provided useful background information that helped the students better understand HR practices in Ireland.

There was a general consensus that this first study abroad/hybrid class was a big success.  Much of the credit for this goes to the students who represented our University, our School and our online programs with extraordinary professionalism. They drew on their coursework and professional experience to ask insightful questions at all of the presentations and took every opportunity to learn about their host country.  were respectful of everyone, including their fellow students. The group bonded together during the trip and continuously interacted in ways that complemented the formal elements of the study tour. Beyond the value of expanding their professional networks, they have made new friends of their fellow students and their Irish counterparts.

Inaugural class of Pennsylvania Labor Leadership Institute graduates

One of the key initiatives of the School of Labor and Employment Relations’ educational outreach to the labor community is a year-long leadership development program called the Pennsylvania Labor Leadership Institute (PA LLI).  The program, co-sponsored by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, is designed for full-time union staff and officers with significant leadership responsibilities and includes five intensive, multi-day, workshops during the year.  The eighteen labor leaders in the first PA LLI class were recognized at a graduation lunch and ceremony at the Nittany Lion Inn on May 30. Rick Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, was the featured speaker. 

The first graduating class included participants from building trades, public sector, service and industrial unions.  This program is now in its second year, with a new class that will graduate this coming June.  

Like all Penn State graduates, the class showed their Penn State spirit with a graduation picture at the Nittany Lion Shrine.  

Interns share first-hand accounts of life-changing experiences

In May and June dozens of LER undergrad and grad students took off to destinations from New York City to Portland, Oregon, to Taiwan to participate in internships.

In May and June dozens of LER undergrad and grad students took off to destinations from New York City to Portland, Oregon, to Taiwan to participate in internships.  Very often the internships our students do are life-changing experiences.  And very often our students are able to do these internships because of the financial support they receive from alumni contributions to our School.  Below, four of our students share their recent experiences from various internships around the U.S. and the world.

You can help students have these important experiences by:  1.) sponsoring a summer internship for one of our students.  To do so contact Jessica Steele, our Career and Recruitment Coordinator at (814) 863-5389 or jgs18@psu.edu  2.)  Make a contribution to help cover the living and travel costs of LER students doing internships (often these costs exceed the compensation interns receive and in some cases the internships are not paid).  You can send checks made out to Penn State, with LER Internships in the memo line, to Trish Everhart, Penn State LER, 5th Floor Keller, Bldg., University Park, PA 16802.

 Intern, GE Aviation

Loredana Abreu
GE Aviation

“The summer will go by so fast”, “it will be done before you know it….”  Those were the phrases I heard the most during my first weeks as a Human Resource Leadership Program (HRLP) intern at GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. I didn’t actually believe those words when I first heard them. To my surprise, they were true as the summer was over in the blink of an eye. When you are working in a place where there is never a dull moment, time flies.

After a few weeks of orientation and adjustment, the pace of the work quickly picked up and I  soon had as much freedom and autonomy as any other fulltime employee. Those two words are what stand out for me when I think of my experience: freedom and autonomy.

Freedom: As an HRLP intern you have projects you work on independently that are important for the business and you are the only one responsible for them. Many of my projects required me to work with people overseas and with GE interns located at other facilities.    

Autonomy: At GE you own your development. What you learn depends on what you put into the work. During my internship I was constantly competing with myself, getting feedback, and trying to get better. There was something in the air that motivated me to go out of my comfort zone and reach a whole new professional level. In 12 weeks I was exposed to succession planning, competency models, strategic workforce planning, compensation, and workplace policies. I validated data analysis tools and created training to close employee’s knowledge gaps. In sum, I learned about a business that is constantly evolving and providing the latest technology to the world.

  Pepsi Logo

Christen Sheroff
Pepsico

Working at a production facility of Pepsico's Frito-Lay division in Tennesee gave me great exposure to human resources responsibilities in a plant environment.  I had the opportunity to participate in employee discipline cases which involved leading and conducting my own employee investigations.  This experience was rewarding because it allowed me to really see and understand the work and the challenges of front-line employees.  If I were in a more corporate environment, it would have been much more difficult to help front-line employees since I wouldn't truly understand what their work was like every day in the factory.

 Deanna Nagle at her internship with AFSCME

Deanna Nagle
AFSCME

This past summer I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with an amazing union, AFSCME, in their Union Scholars Program. The Union Scholars Program brings young activists together to support campaigns that will help improve the worklives of public sector workers.  I spent 10 weeks in Louisville, Kentucky where I participated in union negotiations, mediation, grievance hearings, rallies, discipline hearings, internal organizing and more. I received first-hand experience in how unions works and met wonderful people who passed on knowledge and taught me skills I will use for the rest of my life. At the end of the internship I had the opportunity to attend a union education program at Harvard University (AFSCME’s partner in the Union Scholars Program) and officially graduate from Harvard Law School’s the Labor and Work Life Program. This was a great once-in a-lifetime experience for which I will be forever grateful! 

 

 

 Jerry Liu at his internship at the American Institute of Taiwan

Jerry Liu
American Institute of Taiwan

I am a first generation Taiwanese-American born in South Jersey.  My parents immigrated to NYC in 1983 to get their respective degrees.  Now, I am an MS3 (Army ROTC junior) in the Nittany Lion Battalion and I am ecstatic that I will eventually be a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

This summer I participated in an internship at the American Institute of Taiwan (AIT) in Taipei, Taiwan.  It was a life-changing experience.   AIT is a non-profit, private organization that undertakes a wide range of activities representing U.S. interests in Taiwan, including commercial services, agricultural sales, consular services and cultural exchanges. Since I am fluent in Mandarin-Chinese, I was able to update the Phone Tree and Contact Directory for the Institute, help unload and sort unclassified mail pouches for Dept. of State employees, answer phone calls regarding visa applications (visas to the U.S.), and network with Chiefs of various sections within the Institute such as the Economic, Political, Information Management, Regional Security, and Consulate sections.  I hope to possibly work again at the Institute again during the summer of 2016.  

Internships help broaden students’ education

Internships help broaden students’ education

Carla Marano taking a short break while on her internship at GE (Erie,PA)

Completing one or more internships is one of the most important things students can do during their time at Penn State.  Internships help students gain insight and practical experience into various HRER-related career paths. And they sometimes lead to full-time job offers.  Each semester, internships are offered to students looking to gain practical experience in their field, or to help them better understand possible career paths. This summer is no different.

The school offers a broad range of both online and live resources to help candidates find the perfect internship.  Early in the process, students meet the School of LER’s Internship Coordinator, Amy Dietz, who explains the school’s expectations for internships, as well as deadlines, registration, and other practical matters.

A list of employers who have offered internships to LER students over the past few years can be found at:  (http://ler.la.psu.edu/careers/where-our-grads-get-jobs ).  A list of current internship opportunities is available at (http://ler.la.psu.edu/careers/internship-job-postings ). 

Sponsoring an internship is one of the most important things LER alums can do to help our current students.  If you are interested in sponsoring a student internship in 2015-2016 please contact Jessica Steele at jgs18@.psu.edu or complete the online posting form is here.

Jackie Brova ‘75 delivers LER’s 19th Annual Outstanding Alumni Lecture

The School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) Homecoming Weekend was kicked off by Jackie Brova, a 1975 Labor Studies graduate and retired Executive Vice President of Human Resources at Church & Dwight, who delivered the school’s 19th Annual Outstanding Alumni Lecture on Thursday, October 8.  Brova’s talk was titled “Golden Memories and Other Disasters: 40 Years on the HR Front Line,” and focused on the importance of networking and lifelong learning while chronicling the lessons of her four decades in human resources, and employee and labor relations.

“In a single day you could be in a multitude of meetings and conversations around a business,” said Brova. “Learn how to effectively make ties and connections in every single one. The ability to continuously expand your network is always a valued skill to have.”

At Church & Dwight, Brova lead a global team responsible for leadership development, talent acquisition, compensation, benefits, HRIS, employee relations, and employee communications. Reporting to the CEO and Chairman, she worked closely with the company’s Board of Directors on executive compensation and governance matters.

“Building a resume is a lifelong process. At the end of every year assess what you have learned and whether you are more employable,” said Brova. “Learn the language of the business. This will be an advantage in your career and give you a better understanding, as well as more insight.”

Her previous experience includes roles as General Manager of Corporate Compensation and Benefits as well as Manager, Union Relations at Bethlehem Steel.

“I worked 300 feet underground in a coal mine during my first job. I was threatened with a baseball bat at an entrance to a mine during a protracted work stoppage. I had a prosthetic leg thrown at me during a contract negotiation,” Bravo detailed, speaking of some of the unique experiences of her career.

After Penn State, Jackie received an MBA from Moravian College. She also attended the University of Virginia’s Executive Development Program at the Darden School.

Her takeaways for the audience included advice aimed at current students as well as lifelong learners. “What you learn at Penn State is essential. Utilize your network and connections you can make here,” she said. “People who work hard have more luck than those who do not work as hard. Luck and accomplishment come to those who value and reach for it.”

Jackie currently is a member and past-co-president of the LER Affiliate Program Group Board, the School’s alumni organization.  She is also a Board Member and Trustee for ArtsQuest, a non-profit music and arts organizations located in Bethlehem, PA.

In 2012 she was recognized by the University with the Liberal Arts Alumni Society – Service to Penn State Award. She also established a financial need-based scholarship for students in the Liberal Arts in the names of her parents, Victor and Joyce Brova,

A complete video recording of the presentation is available on YouTube, courtesy of Jessica Steele.

January 2018 Faculty Notes

Faculty Notes

--Comings

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Bora Kwon joined our School as a Post-Doctoral Scholar for our Center for International Human Resource Studies in August.  She earned her Ph.D. from Penn State’s Workforce Education Program.

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Kate Maich came to LER in August as a Post-Doctoral Scholar for our Center for Global Workers Rights.  Kate holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters in Labor Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Hee Man Park joined the LER faculty in August as an Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management.  Professor Park received his Ph.D. from the College of Business at Ohio State University.  He also holds a Masters of Industrial and Labor Relations from the Cornell ILR School.  His research interest include the role that the social environment (especially leader behavior, interpersonal relationships, and social networks) plays in explaining the performance and well-being of organizational members.  He is currently teaching compensation as well as the capstone course for the MS in HRER Program.

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Kim Trahan also joined our faculty in August as an Assistant Teaching Professor of Organizational Leadership.  Professor Trahan holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Systems from Saybrook University. She teaches courses in Organizational Leadership for our School’s World Campus Program.

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Paul Humphries assumed the role of Administrative Support Coordinator in May.  He is responsible for the overall administration of the School’s office and finances, duties previously performed by Trisha Everhart.  Paul comes to LER from the Department of Mechanical Engineering.  Paul is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard where he served for many years as a helicopter pilot.

--Goings

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Alan Derickson retired as Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and History in May after 29 years of service.  LER students may remember Professor Derickson as their instructor in LER 458—The History of Work in America.

--Promotions

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Sarah Damaske was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Sociology and granted tenure last spring.  More on Professor Damaske in the article below.

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Trisha Everhart was promoted from office administrator to Assistant Director of Online Programs within our School in May.  She served in her previous position for five years?.  In her new role she will help direct our World Campus programs while also serving as an academic advisor for our MPS in HRER students.  More on Trisha in the article below.

--Notable Achievements

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Valerie Braman, Lecturer in LER, was selected to participate in the 2017-2018 Glass Leadership Institute sponsored by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League. The Glass Leadership Institute is a nationally recognized leadership development program designed to give a select group of young professionals an up-close and personal view into the Anti-Defamation League, one of the nation's premier civil rights and human relations organization

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Mark Gough, Assistant Professor of LER, had his research cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in two recent amicus briefs. The most research occurrence cited his article with Alexander J.S. Colvin, “Individual Employment Rights Arbitration in the United States: Actors and Outcomes” (68 ILR Rev. 1010, 2015).

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Steve Greenblatt, a member of the School’s World Campus Graduate Faculty, published an article in the Employee Relations Journal titled “Why I feel Like a Fish Out of Water, or, Monachopsis – Part 1” (Vol. 43, No. 3 Winter 2017). As the title suggests, stay tuned for another installment!

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Rex Simpson ‘70--The LER Alumni Board (APG) named Rex Simpson the Outstanding Alumni Award for 2017. On October 19 he presented his Outstanding Alumni Lecture titled, “Patient and Persistence Fueled with Perspiration – an Unbeatable Formula.”  In 2013, after a long and distinguished career as a practitioner, Rex joined the School’s faculty as a Professor of Practice.  Since then he has served as an instructor and administrator in our online programs.

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Niki Dickerson VonLockette--On September 26-27, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors held a conference exploring, “Disparities in the Labor Market: What Are We Missing?”  Nikki was one of only 15 invited speakers.

Jessica Steele promoted to Career and Recruitment Coordinator

LER students regularly seek out staff member Jessica Steele for advice on career development and professional networking, has been promoted to the role of Career and Recruitment Coordinator.

In this role, Jessica is charged with contacting, connecting, and aligning partnerships with corporations to create opportunities for students. Jessica hosts recruiters for School-related information sessions and events and provides them with excellent customer service. 

She will continue to meet with students to discuss career plans, identify resources available, review resumes, assist with LinkedIn profiles, and provide guidance on interviewing skills and professionalism. Consultation will lead to individual plans made for each student based on their individual needs.

Jessica will also attend career-related university events, build strong and ongoing relationships with other career offices at Penn State, track student and alumni career placements, as well as research, identify, and understand different industries and their recruiting strategies plus their approach to how human resources and labor relations is incorporated into their companies.

Students looking for potential internships, or alumni with job or internship opportunities, are encouraged to contact Jessica at jgs@psu.edu.

June Director's Update

It’s June in Happy Valley.  The students, at least most of them, have left and the town is much quieter than it was just a month ago.  You might think that means a nice, long, summer break for our faculty and staff.  But that definitely is not the case.  Since graduation in early May, the School has hosted a major conference on international human resource management for 70 scholars from 17 countries, sponsored a study tour to China for our students, and brought more than 30 of Pennsylvania’s up-and-coming union leaders to campus for an intensive Labor Leadership Institute.  In the next two months we will conduct a week of intensive, on-campus, graduate courses for 60 of our MPS students and play host to more than 100 union activists who will be attending the Northeast Union Women’s Summer School at University Park.  And those faculty not involved with these programs are scattered around the globe working on research projects and other initiatives.  The summer will see LER faculty travelling to Bangladesh, China, Switzerland, India, and Scotland.  And if that isn’t enough to keep us busy, we also are running over 40 online undergrad and grad courses and a handful of courses in residence.   Happy Valley may slow down for the summer, but LER does not.

LER Alum Adam Taliaferro named to New Jersey State Assembly

Adam Taliaferro, the School’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Lecturer and former Penn State football player, was chosen by New Jersey Democratic Party leaders to represent the state’s Third District in the State Assembly. Taliaferro was sworn in by State Senate President Steve Sweeney in January and quickly became the leading candidate for election to the position.

Adam Taliaferro,  the School’s 2014 Outstanding Alumni Lecturer and former Penn State football player, was chosen by New Jersey Democratic Party leaders to represent the state’s Third District in the State Assembly. Taliaferro was sworn in by State Senate President Steve Sweeney in January and quickly became the leading candidate for election to the position.

According to Sweeney, Adam was clearly the best candidate to the represent the district. He told nj.com, "I think Adam's really distinguished himself as an exceptional human being, and he's got some really amazing talents. After suffering the tragedy he suffered, he's shown how hard he's willing to fight to get to be where he wants to be. I think he's really done a good job, and I think he's a very genuine person."

Taliaferro suffered a severe spinal injury during a game in 2000 against Ohio State that left him paralyzed. While doctors gave him a three percent chance of regaining the ability to walk, Adam not only beat those odds, but went on to earn a LER degree from Penn State and a law degree from Rutgers, while ultimately starting a career working for global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb as a patient advocate and lobbyist.

He then entered public service and was elected to the position of Gloucester County Freeholder before being named to the State Assembly.

In November, Taliaferro delivered the school’s 16th Annual Outstanding Alumni Lecture to a crowd of nearly 300 students, staff, alumni, and community members.

 

LER Faculty Member discusses key workplace issues with national media

LER Associate Professor Niki Dickerson vonLockette recently appeared on two national media outlets speaking about key issues facing various segments of the workforce.

LER Associate Professor Niki Dickerson vonLockette recently appeared on two national media outlets speaking about key issues facing various segments of the workforce.

In May, Dr. vonLockette was featured in a New York Times' debate on low wage workers. In a piece titled “Desperation Felt by Workers and Consumers”, she pointed to the larger impact of individual business exchanges and price reductions. vonLockette stated, “Stagnant wages combined with increased work hours for Americans create a higher demand for services, while simultaneously providing them with less money to pay for these services.”

Dr. vonLockette was also invited to be a panelist on a Google Hangout seminar, “Occupational Segregation Primer” for Re:Gender, formerly the National Council for Research on Women. She was also appointed to the national program advisory committee for Re:Gender.

LER Office celebrates Halloween in Style

LER Office celebrates Halloween in Style

LER Staff, as the Seven Dwarfs, and School Director Paul “Snow White” Clark, pose for photos during the Annual LER Halloween Party.

Who better to embody a group known for the song “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off to work we go” than the staff of the School of Labor and Employment Relations?

This past semester, LER Staff once again organized the School’s legendary Halloween costume party.  Using their collective power, the staff threatened LER Director Paul Clark with a work stoppage if he would not concede to their demand to play Snow White to their Seven Dwarfs (“Mirror, mirror on the wall, is he REALLY the best you could do?”).  As a result the staff won the group costume for the 14th year in a row.

Most of the LER faculty joined in the fun including Sumita “the Wicked Witch” Raghuram, Amy “The Riveter” Dietz, and Doug “The Donald” Allen.  A large number of graduate students also “suited up” for the party. 

Like the LER Facebook page, for more pictures of the festivities.

LER Professor Joins U.S. Worker Delegation Abroad

For the second year in a row, LER Professor of Practice Paul Whitehead is serving as an observer to the U.S. worker delegation at the annual conference of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland.  A branch of the United Nations, the ILO is unique among worldwide organizations in its tri-partite makeup.  Government, employer, and worker delegations share in the organization’s decision making power.

Held in June of each year, the International Labor Conference (ILC) attracts government, employer, and worker delegations from around the world.  The delegates debate labor issues, adopt international labor standards, and evaluate whether ILO member nations are translating those standards into national law and practice.

“There’s a lot going on at these conferences,” Whitehead said, “so you have to choose your topics of interest.”  He added that he devotes most of his attention to ongoing employer efforts to establish that the internationally recognized rights of workers to freedom of association and collective bargaining does not include a right to strike.  “That has been the single hottest dispute at the ILO over the last four years,” he reported.

LER Professor Raises Awareness of the Plight of Garment Workers in El Salvador

A recently released report by Mark Anner, Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Director of the Center for Global Workers’ Rights, sheds new light on violations of basic rights of thousands of garment industry workers in El Salvador by some of the United States largest clothing companies. "The nature of the violations of workers' rights and the number of violations are extreme," said Anner. "The violence that is directed at workers is bad and getting worse."

A recently released report by Mark Anner, Associate Professor of Labor and Employment Relations and Director of the Center for Global Workers’ Rights, sheds new light on violations of basic rights of thousands of garment industry workers in El Salvador by some of the United States largest clothing companies.

"The nature of the violations of workers' rights and the number of violations are extreme," said Anner. "The violence that is directed at workers is bad and getting worse."

According to Anner, factory owners and corrupt labor union representatives and government officials are suppressing better pay and working conditions for garment laborers as part of a global competition to cut costs and corners in order to win contracts with major clothing brands. Some factory managers regularly use violence, including murder, to intimidate workers who attempt to exert their rights.  A recent development is the employment of street gangs by managers to assault union leaders and members.

"A lot of workers are caught in a vicious cycle with factories facing tighter and tighter margins that lead to lower wages and greater intimidation," said Anner.

Anner suggests that if major companies operating in El Salvador, including such global brands as Hanes and Nike, would increase what they pay the contractors who make their apparel, workers would ultimately benefit.

"Brands can do a lot to lessen this race to the bottom," Anner said. "They could pay a little more and add more stability in contracts, which would go a long way in helping workers."

According to Anner, El Salvador is not alone in facing this rise in workers' rights suppression. "We are seeing similar problems in other places in Central America -- Honduras and Guatemala -- and we are seeing it in Asia, especially in Bangladesh and Cambodia," he said.

Anner has spent several years researching worker movements and labor practices in El Salvador.  From 2012 to 2013, he and his colleague conducted a series of in-depth interviews with workers, union and worker organization representatives, factory monitors, lawyers and labor rights experts, as well as factory owners and managers. Anner himself lived in El Salvador for eight years in the 1980s and 1990s and was the target of anti-union violence during that period.

 

 

LER Professor’s Class Undertakes Project to Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Through the Performing Arts

Can the performing arts play a role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at Penn State, in higher education more generally, in our communities, and in the global workplace? This is the action research focus of Dr. Tom C. Hogan, professor of practice in Human Resource Management, and his LER 460 HR Ethics class.

Can the performing arts play a role in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at Penn State, in higher education more generally, in our communities, and in the global workplace?  This is the action research focus of Dr. Tom C. Hogan, professor of practice in Human Resource Management, and his LER 460 HR Ethics class.

Dr. Hogan is leading a collaborative diversity and inclusion initiative to help Penn State become a global leader in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion through the performing arts.  The initiative involves a number of organizations across the University including the College of Arts and Architecture, the Office of the Vice Provost of Educational Equity, the Penn State Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity, the Penn State Commission on LGBTQ Equity, and the Penn State Commission for Women, and the Penn State Alumni Association.

The initiative’s first program was held on September 27 and took the form of a community welcoming dinner held on the stage of the Eisenhower Auditorium for the Sphinx Virtuosi, a group of young black and Hispanic string musicians who won prizes at the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition.  More on the event is available at http://news.psu.edu/gallery/428945/2016/09/29/sphinx-virtuosi-all-diversity-welcome-event.

In lieu of a final exam, students in Dr. Hogan’s LER 460 HR Ethics class are required to undertake a community service project. The projects represent engaged scholarship (i.e., out-of-classroom learning) experiences.  For the fall 2016 semester, one group of students partnered with the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State to develop and deploy an assessment tool to determine the profile of students who are or could be highly engaged with the arts.  The objective of the project was to identify students who could be more engaged with the Center for the Performing Arts and to develop a strategy to encourage them to become more involved.

LER School Center to Present Practitioner/Academic Seminar on International HRM in NYC, May 18, 2017

“Emerging markets are becoming the new centers of gravity for the global economy, and competition for talent is becoming fiercer almost by the day. Access to talented workers is considered by some as the top indicator of a country’s competitiveness.” (Deloitte, 2013)

“Emerging markets are becoming the new centers of gravity for the global economy, and competition for talent is becoming fiercer almost by the day. Access to talented workers is considered by some as the top indicator of a country’s competitiveness.” (Deloitte, 2013)

On May 18, LER’s Center for International HR Studies (CIHRS) is organizing a practitioner/academic seminar focused on “Addressing Multinational’s Challenges of Talent Management in Emerging Economies”. The complementary seminar for industry executives and managers will include a combination of academic and practitioner speakers addressing current challenges, with plenty of opportunities for networking (http://ler.la.psu.edu/cihrs/IHRMconference/industry-event). The speakers, including Kevin Owens (LER alum and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Siemens PLM Software), Professor Mary Yoko Brannen (University of Victoria, Canada), and Professor David Collings (Dublin City University, Ireland), will share cutting-edge research and practice on issues affecting talent management for globally-operating organizations.

There is no registration fee for this event, however, we are seeking sponsors interested in providing financial support for the seminar. For more information on the event or on sponsorship, please contact Dr. Maria Beamond at the Center (mtb38@psu.edu).

 

 

LER School Hosts 40th Northeast Summer School for Union Women

Penn State hosted nearly 150 women from unions and worker centers throughout the northeastern U.S in July as part of the 40th UALE Northeast Summer School for Union Women.

Penn State hosted nearly 150 women from unions and worker centers throughout the northeastern U.S in July as part of the 40th UALE Northeast Summer School for Union Women. Sponsored by the United Association for Labor Education (UALE), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 13, and the Labor School at Penn State, this four-day residential school provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about leadership, grievance handling, collective bargaining, global solidarity, and generational styles in order to be more effective leaders in their organizations.

Attendees represented the Transport Workers Union, the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the United Steelworkers, the Service Employees International Union, AFSCME, and other unions and worker centers, as well as labor educators from both unions and universities.

Under this year’s theme, “Reaching and Reinventing: Labor Women Taking Charge,” the UALE NE Summer School celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special celebration commemorating the school’s history. Ida Torres, who has attended all but one of the forty summer schools, shared the importance of “never letting another sister walk alone.”  With a focus on embracing issues of diversity, younger workers, and new methods of organizing, sisters built on these discussions to strengthen their unions and labor as a whole, while taking special care to address issues that affect women and minorities in the labor movement.

The Summer School is one of numerous events planned and administered by the LER School’s labor education program which was reinstated in 2013 after a ten year hiatus.

LER School’s Director featured on Discovery Channel documentary on the Homestead Strike of 1892.

Paul Clark, School Director and LER Professor, is featured in a Discovery Channel documentary on Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Homestead Strike of 1892.  Many LER alums will recall learning about these American industrialists and the historic Homestead Strike in their LER 100 Intro and their LER 458 Labor History courses.  Clark, who occasionally conducts on-site tours at the site of the conflict between the Homestead steelworkers and Pinkerton Detectives on the Monongahela River outside Pittsburgh, was invited to provide commentary for the film by Shawn Abraham, an LER alum now working for the Discovery Channel.  The film, titled American Titans!  Carnegie vs. Frick, first aired in August on Discovery’s American Heroes Channel (AHC), and is now available on-demand on many cable TV packages. 

LER Staff Member Honored by the College of the Liberal Arts

At the 2015 College of the Liberal Arts Staff Appreciation Ceremony, held at the Nittany Lion Inn on February 24, Trish Everhart, Administrative Coordinator for LER, was recognized with two awards.

At the 2015 College of the Liberal Arts Staff Appreciation Ceremony, held at the Nittany Lion Inn on February 24, Trisha Everhart, Administrative Coordinator for LER, was recognized with two awards. 

Trisha received the Exceptional Service Award for her exceptional efforts in managing the LER Office and all aspects of the program. 

She also received the 2014/2015 Filippelli Staff Scholarship Award. This has particular significance to LER as the award was funded in honor of Ronald L. Filippelli, former Head of LER (1982-1992) and Associate Dean Emeritus of the College and goes to a staff member in the College of the Liberal Arts who is pursuing a part-time degree at Penn State. The award was created in Ron’s name as he was a staunch supporter of staff who undertook study towards a degree while working full-time.  Trisha is pursuing a Masters degree in Higher Education.

 

LER Staff Member Jessica Steele Receives College Award

Jessica Steele, staff member in LER, was presented with the College of the Liberal Arts Rising Star Award at the College’s Annual Awards reception on February 25 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The award is presented annually to a staff member whose “performance on the job is exceptional and best exemplifies professionalism and dedication to the mission of the College and the University.” Jessica was nominated by Professor Elaine Farndale for her initiative and energy in helping to improve the School’s career services.

Jessica Steele, staff member in LER, was presented with the College of the Liberal Arts Rising Star Award at the College’s Annual Awards reception on February 25 at the Nittany Lion Inn.  The award is presented annually to a staff member whose “performance on the job is exceptional and best exemplifies professionalism and dedication to the mission of the College and the University.” Jessica was nominated by Professor Elaine Farndale for her initiative and energy in helping to improve the School’s career services.  Her work has resulted in several job placements and internships for LER students. Jessica received an engraved Nittany Lion statue and a one-time monetary award. 

LER Staff Participate in Office Olympics

On August 4th, the LER staff competed in the College of the Liberal Arts Office Olympics.  The Office Olympics is a fundraiser for the United Way in which the College’s academic and administrative offices compete as teams in off-beat games of skill and chance.  The event is part of a year-long effort by College staff to raise money for the Centre County-based charity. LER staff are also raising money by selling snacks and drinks in the LER Office.  Visitors to the Keller Building are welcomed to stop by and help the staff reach their goal of raising  $1,000.  A silent auction is also being planned for later in the year.

LER Student-Athletes Excel on the Field and in the Classroom

Three LER majors were among the 72 Penn State student-athletes named to Academic All-Big Ten teams this fall.

Three LER majors were among the 72 Penn State student-athletes named to Academic All-Big Ten teams this fall.  Leigha Anderson is a member of the Women's Cross Country squad, while Jesse Della Valle and Miles Dieffenbach represented Penn State on the Nittany Lion football team.  Leigha, Jesse, and Miles take their place along a long line of LER student-athletes who have earned this recognition in the past. 

 

LER Student-Athletes Receive Academic All-Big Ten Honors

LER has a long tradition of students excelling both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. This past semester three LER majors students received Academic All-Big Ten accolades in recognition of their excellent academic records and their performance in intercollegiate athletics.

LER has a long tradition of students excelling both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities.  This past semester three LER majors students received Academic All-Big Ten accolades in recognition of their excellent academic records and their performance in intercollegiate athletics.  Brian Gaia, a senior from Pasadena, Maryland, was recognized for his outstanding season as the starting center for the Nittany Lion football team that played in this year’s Rose Bowl, as well as for his efforts in the classroom.  Also recognized were two members of the men’s soccer team.  Riley Grant, a senior forward from Coplay, Ohio and Robby Sagel, a senior defender from Las Vegas, Nevada, helped their team finish the season with an 8-8-3 record.  Sagel has been invited to tryouts for Major League Soccer, the top professional soccer league in the U.S.

LER Student Speaks at Schreyer Fall Medal Ceremony

Schreyer Honors Scholar Jocelin Linares graduated in December from the integrated undergraduate/graduate program, obtaining her bachelors in Labor and Employment Relations and a masters in Human Resources and Employment Relations. As a result of her strong academic and extracurricular record, she was asked by the Honors College to speak at the Fall Medal Ceremony on December 18, 2015 For the past two summers, Jocelin has been a Human Resources Summer Analyst in New York City for Morgan Stanley. She has accepted a full time position with the company upon graduation. At Penn State, Jocelin has been a Resident Assistant for first year students, a tour guide, and Vice President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) She enjoys giving back to her community whenever possible and loves motivating others to achieve more in their academic careers. In her remarks at the Fall Medal Ceremony, Jocelin shared her journey as a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar. “The expectations and achievements of a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar never go unnoticed,” said Jocelin. “At the end of the day when college is over, I may not remember the hardest exam I had to take or the countless hours I spent writing my thesis (okay we’re all going to definitely remember that), but it’ll be the people and the opportunities I was exposed to that will stay with me for a lifetime.”

Schreyer Honors Scholar Jocelin Linares graduated in December from the integrated undergraduate/graduate program, obtaining her bachelors in Labor and Employment Relations and a masters in Human Resources and Employment Relations.  As a result of her strong academic and extracurricular record, she was asked by the Honors College to speak at the Fall Medal Ceremony on December 18, 2015
For the past two summers, Jocelin has been a Human Resources Summer Analyst in New York City for Morgan Stanley.  She has accepted a full time position with the company upon graduation.  At Penn State, Jocelin has been a Resident Assistant for first year students, a tour guide, and Vice President of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
She enjoys giving back to her community whenever possible and loves motivating others to achieve more in their academic careers.  
In her remarks at the Fall Medal Ceremony, Jocelin shared her journey as a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar.  “The expectations and achievements of a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar never go unnoticed,” said Jocelin. “At the end of the day when college is over, I may not remember the hardest exam I had to take or the countless hours I spent writing my thesis (okay we’re all going to definitely remember that), but it’ll be the people and the opportunities I was exposed to that will stay with me for a lifetime.”

LER Student Team Preps for 2015 SHRM Case Competition

A team of LER/HRER students are getting ready for the 2015 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Northeast Regional Student Conference and Case Competition, March 20 and 21 in Baltimore. The Penn State team is the defending Northeast Regional Champions and will defend their title against 27 teams from other universities. Penn State’s victory last year was no accident, as the team spent countless hours preparing for the competition, including a number of practice sessions where LER faculty played the roles of judges and provided feedback to the team members.

A team of LER/HRER students are getting ready for the 2015 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Northeast Regional Student Conference and Case Competition, March 20 and 21 in Baltimore.

The Penn State team is the defending Northeast Regional Champions and will defend their title against 27 teams from other universities.  Penn State’s victory last year was no accident, as the team spent countless hours preparing for the competition, including a number of practice sessions where LER faculty played the roles of judges and provided feedback to the team members.  As champions they won $2,500 and an invitation to the National SHRM Conference in Orlando, which the team attended.

Making up the 2015 team are Thomas Agosta, Matthew Body, Sara Bolwing, Megan Flaherty, Brandon Krieder, and Julie McClarnon, with Haley Guay and Meagan Wright serving as alternates. Professor Tom Hogan, an active member of SHRM and holder of the SPHR, GPHR certifications, serves as the team’s faculty adviser.

The conference provides students with several professional development opportunities including workshops, career development mentoring, and networking. We wish the team the best of luck!

 

LER Students learn about HR in China first-hand through May study tour

This May, LER students had the unique opportunity to gain valuable, first-hand insight into human resource management practices in one of the world’s most significant economies, China, with a first-of-its-kind course, LER 497: Managing Human Resources in China.

A group of Penn State students studied at the Nanjing Business School, part of Nanjing University, during the two-week course. The course also included guest lectures and local business site visits arranged utilizing contacts made by LER alumni and faculty.  The visits, in both Nanjing and Shanghai, helped students gain insight into Chinese business systems and transition challenges, the changing legislative and institutional arrangements, disparities and inequalities in local labor markets, and HR in private family owned businesses, as well as state-owned enterprises.

Student recruitment for this initial offering began in January, with preference given to members of the School's Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Program with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Other Master’s students were also invited.

Associate Professor Sumita Raghuram served as the lead Penn State faculty member, with the Nanjing Business School hosting faculty consisting of Dean Lui Hong, Professor Zhengtang Zheng, and Professor Chunyan Jiang.

Upon completion of the course, and return to the United States in late May, students presented detailed reports, including an analysis of some of the key issues addressed during the trip and a reflection on what they have learned.

Future May trips for LER students are tentatively planned for Sweden in 2016 and Ireland in 2017.

LER Students Team Up with Faculty and Alumni for THON Success

Supporting the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, two LER-sponsored student groups, the Society for Labor and Employment Relations (SLER) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), volunteers partnered with LER alums and faculty to raise a record $6,655 for the Four Diamonds Fund. The 2015 total was more than three times the amount raised in 2014.

Supporting the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, two LER-sponsored student groups, the Society for Labor and Employment Relations (SLER) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), volunteers partnered with LER alums and faculty to raise a record $6,655 for the Four Diamonds Fund. The 2015 total was more than three times the amount raised in 2014.

Julie McClarnon served as THON Chair for SLER with Megan Flaherty chairing the SHRM THON team.

“A large portion of our total was donated by the amazing faculty and alumni, and we would like to thank them,” said McClarnon. “We would also like to thank Jessica Steele for assisting us in spreading awareness to the faculty and alumni.”

Maddy Mulert, an officer in SLER, and Brandon Krieder, an officer in SHRM, danced during the 46-hour event, which in total raised more than $13 million for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

 

 

LER Welcomes Its Second MPS in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights Students

This fall LER welcomes its second class of Labor and Global Workers’ Rights (LGWR) students

This fall LER welcomes its second class of Labor and Global Workers’ Rights (LGWR) students.

The cohort includes seven students from India, Brazil, South Korea, and the United States.  They are embarking on a 12-month program in which they will learn about international labor standards and employment relations practices, women and work in the global economy, research and writing for labor practitioners, and labor in China. These mid-career labor unionists and professionals will spend part of the summer interning for US labor unions before returning to Penn State to finalize their capstone projects and finish the program.

 On August 15, just one week before the new students arrived, the first group of LGWR students graduated. They included Shirley Pryce, a domestic worker organizer from Jamaica; Michela Cirioni, an Italian unionist, and Zhihang Ruan, a labor researcher from China.

New MPS students in LGWR

 The incoming class includes:

  • João Gabriel Buonavita (Brazil) who works with the largest labor federation in hise country, CUT. Focuses on organizing youth workers.
  • Anjali Sinha (India) has worked with a range of labor groups in India, and also in the documentary film industry there.
  • Hyunsu Hwang (South Korea) Is a teacher and works with the Korean teachers’ union, which is a member of Korea’s largest labor center, the KCTU.
  • Irene Arellano (USA-California) has worked with different US labor unions and has conducted research on wage theft in southern California.
  • Denny Monteiro (Brazil)  is doing the program part time. He is also doing the HRER program part time.
  • Danna Jayne Seballos (USA-Pennsylvania) is also a part time student. She has been living in State College for over ten years and works with the Penn State World in Conversation project.

 

Mark Schnurman to Receive 2014 Kelley-Willits Award for Excellence in Online Teaching

Mark Schnurman has been named the 2014 recipient of the Kelley-Willits Award for Excellence in Online Teaching. This award is given each year to an instructor in the School’s Labor and Employment Relations/Human Resources and Employment Relations Online Programs who demonstrates exceptional teaching ability, concern for students, and commitment to the School’s mission of preparing practitioners for productive careers in the field of human resources and employment relations.

Mark Schnurman is a veteran instructor who has taught courses both in the MPS in HRER program and the undergraduate online program since 2009. Mark maintains full time employment as the Chief Sales Officer for Eastern Consolidated,   a large commercial real estate firm in northern New Jersey, while regularly teaching HRER 505—Seminar in Human Resources as well as LER 460 Human Resources Ethics.

Schnurman consistently receives excellent student evaluations. He is a demanding, but fair, instructor, who challenges the students in his classes. He is also an alumnus of the School who is a member of the Affiliated Programs Board. In addition to his teaching duties, he works tirelessly with students outside the class room to help prepare them for employment by mentoring students on career development and assisting with resume preparation and interview practice. Mark Schnurman has always been willing to give back to Penn State and our students and is truly a worthy awardee of the Kelly-Willits Award.

 

Schnurman will receive his award on campus during the APG semiannual meeting on campus, November 14th.

May 2017: 3rd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management

The 3rd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management was held on May 18-20, 2015 in New York City. This conference built on the success of the 1stand 2nd Global Conferences held on campus in May 2013 and 2015 respectively. The 2017 conference attracted over 85 scholars in the field of international human resource management (IHRM) from 25 countries. Sixty-five papers were presented covering a broad range of IHRM topics, including: cross-cultural values; global careers; HRM in multinational corporations; knowledge management; global diversity challenges; HRM in emerging economies; millennials across cultures; global talent management; global leadership; expatriate management; cross-national perspectives on IHRM; and high performance work systems in different country contexts.

The 3rd Global Conference on International Human Resource Management was held on May 18-20, 2017 in New York City. This conference built on the success of the 1stand 2nd Global Conferences held on campus in May 2013 and 2015 respectively.  The 2017 conference attracted over 85 scholars in the field of international human resource management (IHRM) from 25 countries.  Sixty-five papers were presented covering a broad range of IHRM topics, including: cross-cultural values; global careers; HRM in multinational corporations; knowledge management; global diversity challenges; HRM in emerging economies; millennials across cultures; global talent management; global leadership; expatriate management; cross-national perspectives on IHRM; and high performance work systems in different country contexts.

Delegates were delighted to hear keynote speeches from two leading scholars in the field. Professor Mary Yoko Brannen (Jarislowsky East Asia Chair at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives and Professor of International Business at the University of Victoria, Canada) drew on her research on biculturals to gave a highly engaging presentation on “Learning from the Other: IHRM and the New Demographic.”   David Collings (Professor of Human Resource Management and co-director of the Leadership & Talent Institute at Dublin City University, Ireland) was equally inspiring, helping us move our thinking forward in the field of global talent management, with his presentation entitled “Global Talent Management: Progress and Prospects.”  In addition, delegates were able to engage with HR practitioners in a seminar focused on “Addressing Multinational Challenges of Talent Management in Emerging Economies,” as well as enjoying a lively publishing workshop for IHRM academics.

The School of Labor and Employment Relations at Penn State co-sponsored the conference with St. Johns University.  Sponsorships from a leading HRM academic journal, the International Journal of Human Resource Management, a prominent publisher Taylor & Francis, as well as Rutgers University, helped make the conference possible.

LER faculty Elaine Farndale and Maria Beamond organized the conference, with assistance from School staff.  Professor Sven Horak from St. John’s University served as a co-organizer.

Member of the Program’s First Graduating Class (1952) Reconnects

An alum from the Class of 1952, Joseph G. Arteritano of Lower Burrell in western Pennsylvania, sent a note in response to the School’s invitation to attend last Spring’s Alumni Reception in Pittsburgh. He expressed regret at not being able to attend, but passed on some interesting information about the School’s history. Joe’s class was the program’s first. He characterized his time in the major, and that of his 21 classmates, as “an experiment in progress.” He noted that the name of the major initially was LMR for Labor-Management Relations and that Penn State then was still “Pennsylvania State College” and not yet a university. Joe recalled that he was the first president of the program’s student organization (a group that has been continuously active, with a few name changes, for 65 straight years!).

An alum from the Class of 1952, Joseph G. Arteritano of Lower Burrell in western Pennsylvania, sent a note in response to the School’s invitation to attend last Spring’s Alumni Reception in Pittsburgh.  He expressed regret at not being able to attend, but passed on some interesting information about the School’s history.  Joe’s class was the program’s first.  He characterized his time in the major, and that of his 21 classmates, as “an experiment in progress.”  He noted that the name of the major initially was LMR for Labor-Management Relations and that Penn State then was still “Pennsylvania State College” and not yet a university.  Joe recalled that he was the first president of the program’s student organization (a group that has been continuously active, with a few name changes, for 65 straight years!).

Joe also mentioned that he was never able to take advantage of all that he learned in the major as, after serving time in the U.S Air Force, he went on to a successful career in pharmaceutical sales, retiring in1993 as Director of Teaching  Hospital Sales with Johnson & Johnson’s Eye Care Division.  He also mentioned that he has had a number of connections to the program since graduation, including living next door to School Director Paul Clark years ago and being married to a distant relative of APG Board Member Tom Giotto. 

If any graduates of the program in the 1950s and 1960s have additional recollections, please pass them on to pfc2@psu.edu.  We are trying to putting together a history of the Program/Department/ School over the years and any details from the “early years” will be helpful.

Ohio State Expert on Workplace Commitment to Speak in October

Professor Howard Klein, Professor of Management and Human Resources, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, will deliver a talk titled “Contemporary Workplace Commitments” on Friday, October 16 from 2-4 p.m. in Keller Building, Room 502.

Professor Howard Klein, Professor of Management and Human Resources, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, will deliver a talk titled “Contemporary Workplace Commitments” on Friday, October 16 from 2-4 p.m. in Keller Building, Room 502.

Professor Klein will summarize his recent work aimed at facilitating the study of the multiple commitments employees simultaneously hold in the contemporary workplace, outline future research needed to better understand what commitments are most desirable in what contexts, and share the results of a recent study examining how employees explain the workplace commitments they have, as well as commitments they previously held.

His research interests center on the commitment, motivation, and performance of individuals and teams through the study of workplace commitments, socialization, goal setting, training, and performance management. Professor Klein has authored more than 50 articles and book chapters and made over 65 presentations at scholarly conferences on these and other topics.

The talk is open to the public.

 

Penn State Alum Leads Workers in Bringing “Cooperative” Back to Food Front Co-op

Penn State Alum Leads Workers in Bringing “Cooperative” Back to Food Front Co-op

Food Front Cooperative Grocery workers with Penn State alum Joyce Sinakhone (right).

LER alum Joyce Sinakhone is helping Food Front Co-op, a neighborhood grocery store in Portland, Ore., connect the community with producers of regionally grown fresh food. With more than 10,000 member-owners, democratic governance is a stated foundational value of the co-op. But during a critical time in the store’s infancy, it was a value workers felt they lacked.

Sharp criticism about an autocratic management began leading to what Sinakhone called “widespread fear that speaking out leads only to reprisal or dismissal.” With a Masters in HRER from Penn State, and as a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) organizer and Organizing Institute (OI) alum, Sinakhone took up the challenge to help the co-op workers win a voice in the workplace. She related that she had previously been fired herself for trying to organize teachers at a language school where she taught in Japan. (A union there helped her win back her job).

Sinakhone was once an activist with Student Works at Penn State (SWAPS). She describes the training as a crash course in organizing, with intense role-playing exercises designed to illicit a spectrum of emotions, from getting a door slammed in your face to having the union-yes breakthrough with a worker.

After an overwhelming favorable vote, close to 100 Food Front Co-op workers are now new members of UFCW Local 555.  They now enjoy a democratic voice at the workplace through their union. Sinakhone has also found a home at UFCW and is exhilarated by her first win as a new organizer.

Penn State gives JanSport 90 days to sign Bangladesh safety accord

Penn State LER/SHRM Chapter Wins Northeast Case Competition!

On April 12 members of Penn State’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Chapter travelled to Rhode Island to compete in SHRM’s Annual Northeast Region Case Competition. The competition involves a team of student’s analyzing human resource management case studies and presenting their analysis and recommendations to a panel of SHRM judges. Penn State’s team prevailed over undergraduate teams from ten other universities including Cornell, Rutgers, and Villanova!

On April 12 members of Penn State’s Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Chapter travelled to Rhode Island to compete in SHRM’s Annual Northeast Region Case Competition.  The competition involves a team of student’s analyzing human resource management case studies and presenting their analysis and recommendations to a panel of SHRM judges.  Penn State’s team prevailed over undergraduate teams from ten other universities including Cornell, Rutgers, and Villanova!  As a result they brought back a four foot long check for $2,500 (now on display in the LER Office) that will help pay their expenses to the national SHRM Conference in Orlando in June to which all the regional winners were invited. 

The members of Team Penn State worked very hard in preparation for the event, spending parts of several weekends honing their skills and their hard work paid off.

Congratulations to team members Christen Sheroff, Olivia Washington, Brandon Kreider, Jocelin Linares, Malory Sanchez, and Josh Loder and our alternates Julia McClarnon, Megan Flaherty, and Porche Maloney. Thanks to Tom Hogan and Greg Loviscky who coached the team to victory!

Please Consider Giving Back to LER

Several years ago LER took on the challenge of building one of the best programs in our field in the nation. Since that time we have made significant progress towards that goal. Evidence of that progress is our elevation in 2013 from a Department to a School. Throughout the process of building our program one thing has remained constant. That is our efforts to make sure that every student in our program has the best academic experience possible.

Several years ago LER took on the challenge of building one of the best programs in our field in the nation.  Since that time we have made significant progress towards that goal. Evidence of that progress is our elevation in 2013 from a Department to a School.  Throughout the process of building our program one thing has remained constant.  That is our efforts to make sure that every student in our program has the best academic experience possible.  

However, to continue to make sure that is the case, and to continue to make our program better, requires the on-going financial support of our alums.

Please consider making a contribution today to our School.  All such donations will be used to benefit our students through our School’s student enrichment programs.  To make sure that our School benefits from your generosity, please indicate that you want your gift credited to the “School of LER.”  The best way to do this is to include that information on the memo line of your check and mail your contribution directly to the School of LER, 506 Keller Building, University Park, PA 16802.  Or go our web page at http://ler.la.psu.edu/alumni/please-consider-supporting-ler and follow the directions. 

And thanks for giving back and making a difference in the lives of our students. 


President Barron speaks to LER students as part of the Sustainable Communities Collaborative

As part of The Sustainable Communities Collaborative (SCC), a partnership of Penn State faculty, students, and staff with local communities to address sustainability challenges, President Eric Barron spoke to Professor Tom Hogan’s LER 460 Ethics class about Ethical Leadership.

Throughout the year, students from Hogan’s class developed a program titled “Net-Zero Energy: Engineering & Human Resources,” a list of practical ways to produce energy that are not fossil fuel based, estimated the effort/costs to develop these energy sources, identified other communities throughout the world that have similar goals, and proposed public policies that the State College Borough should enact that will ensure achievement of these goals.

Hogan, a Professor-in-Residence for Penn State’s Sustainability Institute, explains how the findings of the partnership have far-reaching implications, “One of the objectives of this collaborative is not only to work with the Borough to come up with solutions, but to also develop models and practices that comparable communities can use.”

In addition to President Barron’s appearance, Hogan also co-presented the group’s work along with SCC Director Dr. Michele Halsell at the Engaged Scholarship Symposium.

Professor Hogan Appears with President Barron on WPSU to Discuss Civility

Tom Hogan, LER Professor of Practice, recently appeared on an episode of “Higher Education in Focus” with Penn State President Eric Barron to discuss civility and ethics in the classroom, the workplace, and society. During the half-hour program, hosted by WPSU’s Patty Satalia, Hogan discussed the recent call for civility from University leadership and the reactions of the Penn State community to the request.

Tom Hogan, LER Professor of Practice, recently appeared on an episode of “Higher Education in Focus” with Penn State President Eric Barron to discuss civility and ethics in the classroom, the workplace, and society.

During the half-hour program, hosted by WPSU’s Patty Satalia, Hogan discussed the recent call for civility from University leadership and the reactions of the Penn State community to the request.

“For a university, we have a variety of stakeholders,” said Hogan. “Defining and establishing civil behavior is a collaborative process. But the leadership team must lead.”

Hogan went on to explain how civility in the workplace goes beyond a company’s focus on serving the needs of its customers, but begins with exciting and engaging employees.

“We have to demonstrate what expected behavior looks like,” Hogan said. “We want to excite our clients and our customers. Well first, we must excite our employees.”

President Barron spoke about how, in today’s digital environment, negativity is prevalent and civility is diminishing, perhaps because of the user’s growing ability to speak anonymously.

Hogan suggested that social media is not the cause of increasing acts of incivility, but rather an enabler to voice negativity and changing morals more freely. “Prior to the internet we had things like bullying, character assassination, gossiping going on,” he said. “It’s the people behind the technology, the users, that should be held accountable.”

The monthly program welcomes guests from Penn State leadership and the community to discuss issues in higher education. It airs on WPSU as well as PBS affiliates in Harrisburg and Erie.

 

Recruiter’s Look for Top Talent at LER

This fall The School of Labor and Employment Relations is happy to be hosting nine outstanding companies at the top of their respective fields. The companies include Anheuser-Busch, GE, Pepsi, Airproducts, Mylan, Southwest, Textron, PNC, and Gartner. Each will be hosting information sessions, with several conducting on site interviews for undergraduate and/or graduate students for both internship and full time positions.

Each session is customized to fit the individual needs of each employer with exceptional personalized service to each recruiter.

If you are interested in joining one of these great companies to recruit our students, contact Jessica Steele at jgs18@psu.edu or 814-863-5389. Virtual sessions are also available at your request.

School of Labor and Employment Relations organizes global conference on workers' rights


From September 30 to October 2, the LER School hosted the Tenth Global Labour University Conference in Washington, DC, in cooperation with the AFL-CIO.   The Conference was attended by 226 scholars, students, government and nongovernmental organizations, and labor leaders from 44 countries, including Nepal, Moldova, Bangladesh, Ghana, and Brazil.  Among the issues discussed during the Conference were strategies for addressing workers rights abuses in a range of industries around the world, the problem of global income equality, and the adverse impacts of international trade agreements on workers.   Sessions were also held on sweatshops, child labor, the sex trade, and slavery around the world. 

Many of the conference participants then traveled to University Park for additional sessions held on campus from October 4-7.  These sessions allowed participants from around the world to discuss common workplace problems and potential strategies for addressing these problems.

The Global Labour University (GLU) is a consortium of five universities on five continents.  Countries represented are Brazil, Germany, India, South Africa and the U.S.  Penn State's School of LER is the North American member of the consortium.

The School of LER's Center for Global Workers Rights (CGWR) organized and hosted both the Washington DC and University Park conferences.  For more info, contact the CGWR Director, Professor Mark Anner at msa10@psu.edu.

School of Labor & Employment Relations mourns the loss of Stan Gully

Stan Gully, Professor of Human Resource Management in our School, passed away unexpectedly on October 9th, 2017. Professor Gully made a significant contribution in the three years he was a member of our faculty. He was an exceptional teacher, mentor, and colleague. He was also a well-respected scholar in the fields of human resource management and organizational behavior, having been named a fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2014, as well as having been ranked by the Academy of Management in 2012 in the top 50 of the most influential scholars who received their degrees since 1991. His publication record includes a range of articles in top journals including Personnel Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Professor Gully also co-authored several books with Professor Jean Phillips, including Strategic Staffing, Human Resource Management, and Organization Behavior: Tools for Success. He earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1997 and previously was on the faculty of the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers.

Stan Gully, Professor of Human Resource Management in our School, passed away unexpectedly on October 9th, 2017.  Professor Gully made a significant contribution in the three years he was a member of our faculty.  He was an exceptional teacher, mentor, and colleague.  He was also a well-respected scholar in the fields of human resource management and organizational behavior, having been named a fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2014, as well as having been ranked by the Academy of Management in 2012 in the top 50 of the most influential scholars who received their degrees since 1991. His publication record includes a range of articles in top journals including Personnel Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.  Professor Gully also co-authored several books with Professor Jean Phillips, including Strategic Staffing, Human Resource Management, and Organization Behavior: Tools for Success.   He earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1997 and previously was on the faculty of the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers. 

A memorial service was held on campus on November 4 to celebrate Professor Gully’s life.  Over 150 current and former students and colleagues attended. 

To honor Professor Gully’s contributions, our School is working to establish the Gully Development Program.  Using assessment and development, the Program will help students develop important professional competencies that will facilitate their becoming influential HR and ER leaders.  This program will allow the School to go above and beyond our curriculum to provide an individual assessment and personalized career competency development action plan for participating students.  A fund-raising effort is underway to establish the Center.  Friends and former students and colleagues of Stan’s who wish to contribute to this effort should make checks payable to Penn State University and note on the check’s memo line that the check is intended to support the Gully Development Program. 

School of Labor & Employment Relations mourns the passing of Stan Gully

School of Labor & Employment Relations mourns the passing of Stan Gully

Stan Gully

The School is very sad to report that Stan Gully (PhD Michigan State University, 1997), Professor of Human Resource Management in our School, passed away unexpectedly on October 9th, 2017.  Professor Gully made a significant contribution in the three years he was a member of our faculty, as well as to the fields of HRM and Organizational Behavior. Professor Gully was made a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2014, as well as having been ranked by the Academy of Management in 2012 in the top 50 of the most influential scholars who received their degrees since 1991. His publication record includes a range of articles in top journals including Personnel Psychology,  Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice,  Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Professor Gully also co-authored books with Professor Jean Phillips, including the popular titles ‘Strategic Staffing’,

 

Human Resource Management’, and Organization Behavior: Tools for Success’. Perhaps most of all, Stan was known for his role as a mentor and life coach to many of his students. He was dearly loved and respected by colleagues and students alike.

A memorial service to celebrate Stan’s life will be held on November 4, 2017 from 2-4 pm in 121 Sparks Building, University Park PA 16802 (Penn State Campus). If you plan to attend, it would be very helpful to us if you can please RSVP using the following link by Nov 2: https://pennstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aeN5uNfMXzSxZEV.

The closest parking deck is the Nittany Parking Deck, next to the Nittany Lion Inn and across from Keller Bldg.
http://www.geog.psu.edu/print-campus-maps

For hotel information please see the information below.

Shaner Info

School’s Fully Online MPS Degree in Human Resources and Employment Relations Ranked as Best in the Nation

In 2008, LER became the first academic unit in the College of the Liberal Arts, and one of the first at the University, to offer a fully online Master’s degree through Penn State’s new World Campus (WC). The Masters in Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER), is currently the most popular MPS degree offered online through the WC.

In 2008, LER became the first academic unit in the College of the Liberal Arts, and one of the first at the University, to offer a fully online Master’s degree through Penn State’s new World Campus (WC). The Masters in Professional Studies (MPS) in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER), is currently the most popular MPS degree offered online through the WC.  While the majority of students in the program are early-to-mid career HRER professionals, the program also attracts individuals wishing to transition to the HRER field.  The program has proven to be particularly popular with graduates of our program who are looking to add a masters degree to their credentials.

The degree is aligned with SHRM curriculum guidelines and has been granted Approved Provider status by the HR Certification Institute (HRCI). The Best Schools web site (http://www.thebestschools.org/rankings/best-online-master-human-resources-degree-programs/) has ranked the program as the best online Master’s in HR degree program in the country.

Students in the program also report high levels of satisfaction. The first question on the exit survey distributed to graduates asks students is “Overall, how would you characterize your experience in the MPS in HRER Program?” As the table below indicates, for the 2016 spring, summer and fall semesters, all of the students in the program who completed the survey indicated their experience was either “extremely positive” or “positive.”

2016 MPS in HRER Graduate Exit Survey

 

Totals

Percent

Extremely positive

41

64%

Positive

23

36%

Neither positive nor negative

0

0

Negative

0

0

Extremely negative

0

0

For more information on the program, please visit the following website: http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/degrees-and-certificates/human-resources-and-employment-relations-masters/overview

 In addition, if you would like to speak with someone about the program, you can contact the following members of our Online Program Team--Trisha Everhart (pxm205@psu.edu),  Amy Dietz (ard5@psu.edu), or Antone Aboud (aja19@psu.edu).

 

SHRM and SLER once again join forces for THON; Alumni Can Help

The Society for Human Resource Management - Society of Labor and Employment Relations (SHRM-SLER) is an organization dedicated to providing students with professional development opportunities in the fields of labor, employment relations, and human resources.

In addition to achieving academic and professional excellence, the organization strives to engage in beneficial philanthropic events.  Their favorite event is THON - Penn State's Dance Marathon benefiting The Four Diamonds Fund. This 46-hour dance marathon, the world’s largest student run philanthropy, raises money and awareness towards pediatric cancer research.

Since its inception, THON has raised more than $127 million. This year, THON Weekend will occur February 19-21 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

According to Julia Rose, Special Events Coordinator for SHRM-SLER, “With THON only a few short months away, SHRM-SLER is in need of donor support to help us raise money For The Kids!  Thus, we are soliciting as much online donation as possible.”

To contribute to the SHRM-SLER efforts to support pediatric cancer care and treatment, visit the SHRM-SLER page on the THON website.

SHRM awards staff and students with year-end honors

This spring, the Penn State Student Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), handed out their annual awards recognizing local leaders in the HR community.

Jessica Steele, LER’s Student Services Coordinator, was named the recipient of the Carolyn Fisher Bacon “Make a Difference” Award for her hard work in professional development and providing students with internship opportunites and assistance in securing full-time positions.

The Carolyn Fisher Bacon Award is named after the Penn State SHRM student chapter founder who wanted to give students exposure to the field of HR in ways that complement the classroom experience.

Each year, this award recognizes a professional who embodied Carolyn's spirit of involvement in the development of members of the PSU student chapter.

Three students were also honored at the annual event.  Jocelin Linares was awarded the James M. Elliott Scholarship.  Tom Agosta was the named the “Most Involved SHRM Member” and Megan Flaherty was named the “Most Involved SLER Member.”

SHRM chapter receives Merit Award

 

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has named Penn State’s Student Chapter a 2014-2015 Merit Award winner, honoring the group for its efforts to provide growth and development opportunities to its student members.

 

SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 professional and 20,000 student members in over 160 countries, the association serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.

“SHRM is pleased to announce our 2014-2015 Student Chapter Merit Award winners. These chapters, led by an inspiring and dedicated group of student volunteers and chapter advisors, truly represent the future of the HR profession,” said Susan Post, Divisional Director, East and the lead for SHRM’s Student Programs.  “Their achievements, which go above and beyond their everyday academic and work commitments, is commendable, and we applaud the positive impact their efforts have on their schools, the local community and beyond.  The future of HR shines bright knowing these students are among those leading the way.”

The Penn State SHRM student chapter receives a digital logo for use in electronic or print communications and will be recognized in SHRM’s publications, on its website, and at the SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas June 28-July 1.

Social skills in a business setting practiced as part of special etiquette dinner

As part of the school’s Spring LER Alumni Events, students received practice in social skills and business dining etiquette with “The Art of Dining”, a business networking and practical application training event at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Topics covered included: The Nine Key Rules Of Business Dining, Seating Etiquette and The Art Of Using Napkins, The Most Commonly-Made Table Manners’ Faux Pas, and more.

Prior to the dinner, students were also given instruction on strategies for successful personal presentation including networking tip, advice on how to make a powerful first impression, and what to watch out for when following up with new business contacts.

A mini mocktail reception also gave students practice in business mingling.

Each Fall and Spring, LER alumni gather to network with students and offer practical, real-world advice on how to make contacts and hold professional conversations with new colleagues and potential business partners.  Any alums who are interested in participating in future Fall or Spring alumni activities should contact Lisa Pierson (lkh13@psu.edu) in the LER Office.

Spring 2017 Commencement

The School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) continues to graduate a large number of majors each year. Spring commencement ceremonies saw 186 students graduate from both our undergraduate and graduate programs, both residentially and online (see details below).

The School of Labor and Employment Relations (LER) continues to graduate a large number of majors each year.  Spring commencement ceremonies saw 186 students graduate from both our undergraduate and graduate programs, both residentially and online (see details below).

Residential Programs

56 BA/BS in Labor and Employment Relations
22 MS in Human Resources and Employment Relations

 

Online Programs

24 BA/BS in Organizational Leadership
14 BA/BS in Labor and Employment Relations
70 MPS in Human Resources and Employment Relations


In addition to the ceremonies themselves, Spring Commencement Weekend was busy as there were social events scheduled throughout the weekend. On Saturday afternoon, May 6, LER sponsored a reception for graduates, family, friends, faculty and staff on the Mall area in front of the libraries. Approximately 100 persons attended the gathering, which included refreshments. Paul Clark, LER School Director, and Paul Whitehead, the Undergraduate Officer, spoke to the graduates. Another featured speaker was Meghan Stouter, the School’s Marshall for the graduation ceremony itself.

The World Campus also sponsored a reception on Friday evening, May 5, at the Bryce Jordan Center for all World Campus students, family and friends. It is a very special to see students “in the flesh”, as in many cases they are making their first trip to campus. In addition to the party atmosphere of the occasion, there was a bit a speechmaking. One of the presenters was Stephen Verigood, a HRER May 2017 graduate and a member of the World Campus Alumni Society Board. He addressed the graduates and their families about continued participation in the future as alumni of Penn State.

Another highlight of that evening is always our group photo and audible contribution to the festivities. This semester the photographers from WC sought us out for permission to film our traditional "We are...PENN STATE" shout-out which they posted on the WC Social Media site. If you click the here, it will be as if you were there!

Student activists convince Penn State to take action over sweatshop concerns in Bangladesh

This March, Penn State’s United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Chapter successfully lobbied the university to terminate its licensing agreement with apparel manufacturer JanSport because the company failed to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The decision was made after the university sent a letter in December to the company, a subsidiary of VF Corporation, giving it 90 days to sign the accord or face the possibility of the marketing agreement coming to an end.

Penn State Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims said that the university had previously ended licensing agreements with other VF Corporation brands for failing to sign the accord.

“JanSport has argued that it is not subject to Penn State's expectation that licensees sign onto the accord,” Sims said. “At the same time, JanSport is a subsidiary of VF Corporation.  They have a significant presence in Bangladesh.”

According to a USAS press release, Penn State joins 16 other universities in ending licensing agreements with JanSport, including fellow Big Ten member, Rutgers University.

Penn State USAS President and LER student Deanna Nagle said that Penn State administrators told her they had received no response from VF to the December letter. She, along with other members of USAS, met with Penn State administrators including Sims, Vice President for Administration Tom Poole, and Penn State President Eric Barron to discuss the university’s decision.

“We’re really happy the university did the right thing and followed through on their promise,” Nagle said. “It was really important that they did this given the size of Penn State and its visibility.”

VF Director of Corporate Communications Craig Hodges defended the company’s efforts in Bangladesh in a March article that appeared in the Daily Collegian. He said that those concerned about VF’s role in worker safety in Bangladesh would find the company is a member of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety.

But according the Penn State USAS Vice President and LER student Elexa Mabry, “The alliance differs from the accord in that it is not legally binding and fails to allow the workers affected by safety issues a voice in decisions.  The alliance is controlled by the big corporations, and is kind of a mystery — it seems like they created the alliance to run things how they want.”

The Penn State USAS Chapter was started by LER and other majors in 2005 to ensure that Penn State-licensed apparel is not made in sweatshop conditions.

Student/Alumni Tailgate Highlights Homecoming Activities

LER students enjoyed the opportunity to connect with alumni and faculty at a special pregame tailgate before Penn State’s homecoming football game in October against Indiana.  The Annual Tailgate is jointly sponsored by the LER Alumni Board and student organizations.  Alumni Board Co-President John Gerak has generously hosted the tailgate in his space in the Letterman’s parking lot now for several years. 

Some photos are included here. For a complete collection, visit the LER Facebook page.

Student Spotlight: 2016 MPS Graduate Kimberly Madsen

If you break the speed limit in Gainesville, Florida you may meet a recent graduate of the School’s MPS in HRER program. Officer Kim Madsen is not only a full-time police officer in Gainesville, but a December 2016 graduate of our Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER).

If you break the speed limit in Gainesville, Florida you may meet a recent graduate of the School’s MPS in HRER program. Officer Kim Madsen is not only a full-time police officer in Gainesville, but a December 2016 graduate of our Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program in Human Resources and Employment Relations (HRER).

A career in law enforcement is a long way from Kim’s roots.  She grew up helping out at a fishing and hunting resort her family operated before attending and graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Behavioral Science and Law as well as a certificate in Criminal Justice.

Kim has been a full-time officer since 2003 and was promoted to detective in the Criminal Investigations Bureau in 2005.  She subsequently has worked in the Department’s Personnel Services Division, Juvenile Division, and Operations Division. Her work in Operations currently puts her in a position as a first responder in emergency situations.

Kim’s interest in human resource management began when she started working with the Department’s Personnel Services Division in 2012.  In that capacity she conducted background investigations of applicants and employment interviews and engaged in other HR related activities. She quickly realized that however skilled police officers were in serving and protecting the public, they were much less knowledgeable with respect to managing human resources.  It was this insight that caused her to “get the bug”.

Kim subsequently applied to the MPS in HRER program.  In addition to her online coursework, she routinely attended webinars sponsored by the School’s Academy of Human Capital Development.  She also completed a summer hybrid class on campus in both 2015 and 2016.  And like more than a dozen of our recent World Campus graduates, she traveled to State College in December to attend graduation.

Her capstone project connected her MPS studies with her police experience. Kim notes that,

The theme…was to figure out the key drivers associated with avoidable police officer turnover at my agency.  Comparative data from four other agencies was analyzed and surveys via Survey Monkey were sent to former and current employees from my agency. 

Like many World Campus students, Kim was able to complete the master’s program while juggling both work and family responsibilities.  Kim’s husband is also a member of the Gainesville Police Department, and they have two children ages four and six.

Kim is not certain where her MPS degree will take her.  She has fond memories of her early years working in the family’s resort business.  If she decides to pursue a career in the hospitality industry, she will be well equipped to successfully manage the business’ most valuable resource.


 

Student Spotlight: 2017 BS/MS Graduate Meghan Stouter

Meghan Stouter '17 graduated from Penn State this spring with undergraduate degrees in LER and Sociology and a graduate degree in HRER through the School's Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate program. LER faculty choose Meghan to represent the School as the LER Student Marshall at graduation. In addition, Meghan received the Filipelli-Stelts award for her in-class and out-of-class accomplishments. As a junior, Meghan won the Shah award for her outstanding academic work. In addition to compiling a stellar record in and out of the classroom, Meghan was known both for her thoughtful and insightful participation in the classroom and the positive energy and enthusiasm she brought to all of her endeavors.

Meghan Stouter '17 graduated from Penn State this spring with undergraduate degrees in LER and Sociology and a graduate degree in HRER through the School's Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate program.  LER faculty choose Meghan to represent the School as the LER Student Marshall at graduation.  In addition, Meghan received the Filipelli-Stelts award for her in-class and out-of-class accomplishments.  As a junior, Meghan won the Shah award for her outstanding academic work. In addition to compiling a stellar record in and out of the classroom, Meghan was known both for her thoughtful and insightful participation in the classroom and the positive energy and enthusiasm she brought to all of her endeavors. 

Meghan’s contributions include her work as Vice President of the School’s Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) student chapter and her participation in THON.  In addition, she worked as a graduate research assistant and as a teaching assistant for LER 100. She wrote her senior honors thesis, under the supervision of Dr. Damaske, on men working in childcare centers, as she was interested to see what challenges and benefits men faced in a female dominated field. Meghan collected her own data and was commended by her Thesis Committee for her thoughtful and insightful final product.

Meghan is very excited about starting her career as an analyst for Ernst and Young (EY).  

Student Spotlight: World Campus Graduate Student, Carrie-Ann Barrow

In June of 2006 the Washingtonian published an article: “The list of Powerful Women to Watch”. It began: To be successful, a lot has to fall into place: brains, drive, personality, and a little luck. These ten women have all those things and more—and they haven’t reached 40 yet… The second person on the list is Carrie-Ann Barrow, now a student in our MPS program in HRER.

In June of 2006 the Washingtonian published an article: “The list of Powerful Women to Watch”. It began:

To be successful, a lot has to fall into place: brains, drive, personality, and
a little luck. These ten women have all those things and more—and they
haven’t reached 40 yet…

The second person on the list is Carrie-Ann Barrow, now a student in our MPS program in HRER.

Carrie-Ann resides in Washington, DC where she has spent the largest part of her professional career. What originally caught the Washingtonian’s attention was the fact that Carrie-Ann had founded and was CEO to DBTS, an IT company involved in a variety of high profile DC area projects, particularly with respect to District of Columbia government. This included work with the Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) that improved information technology available to the schools and students. When she sold the business it had an increase of sales of 444.7% over a period of three years.

Notwithstanding being a Mother to three children, Carrie-Ann wasn’t leaving the world of business. She immediately positioned herself as Leadership and Organizational Development consultant, achieving certifications from the Project Management Institutue, as an ACC Certified Coach (International Coach Federation), and as a Certified Practitioner (Leadership Circle Profile & Culture Survey). In 2014 she founded Barrow Consulting Services. Its mission, according to the website is “simple but impactful”:

By bringing out the best in each individual and business, the world is a better place. By knowing what fulfills us and how to reach it, we are our best and can help others achieve the same. Barrow believes in the spirit of the individual and also believes that bringing out the best in each, we bring out the best in all.

The commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) that the mission statement illustrates helps explain the company’s active involvement in supporting the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency Partners for Kids in Care (PFK). The groups provides financial support for children in foster care and other at risk situations.

Carrie-Ann is not only an excellent student, she represents the values we so often discuss in our classrooms: the commitment to CSR; the development of business acumen; and, a belief that she can use her human resources and employment relations degree “to bring out the best in all”.

 

Students visit Cincinnati for 2015 SHRM Case Competition

Students visit Cincinnati for 2015 SHRM Case Competition

(L to R): Megan Flaherty, Sarah Bowling, Haley Guay, Tom Agosta, Julia McClarnon, Meagan Wright, Matt Body

A team of LER/HRER students recently travelled to Covington, KY, just outside Cincinnati, to compete in the 2015 Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Center Regional Student Conference and Case Competition.

As defending Northeast Regional Champions, the team spent countless hours preparing for the competition, including a number of practice sessions where LER faculty played the roles of judges and provided feedback to the team members.

Whereas the team, this year, did not advance to the final round, the conference provided students with several professional development opportunities including workshops, career development mentoring, and networking.

The students’ trip was completely funded by alumni gifts to the School of LER.

Study Tours: A New Way for LER Students to Study Abroad

In today’s globalized economy, the ability to understand, and function in, different cultural settings is more of an asset than it has ever been. For that reason, in our most recent strategic plan our School made increasing the number of LER majors studying abroad a priority. Towards that end, we have been actively promoting semester-long and year-long study abroad opportunities to our students. This has resulted in a growing number of our students to universities in Spain, Ireland, France, South Africa, and Australia, among other locations. However, some of our students are not able to commit this much time to an international experience. For that reason, our faculty have added another study abroad option for our students. Study tours provide a shorter, more intense, international experience than traditional study abroad programs. In recent years our faculty have organized such tours to China, Sweden, and Ireland.

In today’s globalized economy, the ability to understand, and function in, different cultural settings is more of an asset than it has ever been.  For that reason, in our most recent strategic plan our School made increasing the number of LER majors studying abroad a priority.  Towards that end, we have been actively promoting semester-long and year-long study abroad opportunities to our students.  This has resulted in a growing number of our students to universities in Spain, Ireland, France, South Africa, and Australia, among other locations. However, some of our students are not able to commit this much time to an international experience. For that reason, our faculty have added another study abroad option for our students.  Study tours provide a shorter, more intense, international experience than traditional study abroad programs.  In recent years our faculty have organized such tours to China, Sweden, and Ireland.   

In May 2016, Professor Elaine Farndale took 12 students to a university in Sweden for a ten-day study tour focusing on human resource management practices in that country.  In May 2017, Professor Sumita Raghuram took another group of 12 students to Sweden and this May Professor Farndale will take a new group of students there to study.

The study tours have been based in Jönköping, an attractive city of 130,000 people, located approximately midway between the two major cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg.  Students study Sweden’s culture and history in classes at Jönköping University, gain insight into Swedish human resource management and social welfare practices, and make site visits to Swedish businesses.

In March of 2017, our School broke new ground in online education at Penn State when it organized a study tour to Ireland for students in our World Campus MPS in Human Resources and Employment Relations program.  The trip included time in residence at the University of Limerick, as well as site visits with corporations and unions in Shannon and Dublin.  Organized by Professor Antone Aboud and Assistant Director of Online Programs Trisha Everhart (with assistance from LER Alumni Board Member Jane Moyer who was in residence in Dublin as a HR executive), the program was the first at Penn State to offer an international experience to online students. 

The Ireland study tour was so well-received that the School has organized another one for 2018.  This March our MPS students will have the chance to travel to Scotland to learn about HR practices in that country.  Of special interest will be the opportunity to learn about how Brexit and the movement for Scottish independence will potentially impact business practices there.  Napier University in the capital city of Edinburgh will host students for classes three mornings during the week-long stay.  The other times will be spent on site visits where students will meet with HRER professionals at IBM, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Standard Life Aberdeen, Skyscanner, and the Edinburgh City Council. They will also participate in a private dinner at Edinburgh Castle where they will meet with Fiona Watson Braco, a Scottish historian, writer and contributor to the BBC.

The School plans to continue to offer these opportunities to students in 2019.  Australia is one possible destination currently being considered. 

Summer 2014 HRER Hybrid Course

Once more the School of Labor and Employment Relations offered summer hybrid classes for HRER students pursuing the Masters in Professional Studies degree. Fifty students attended one of the following three offerings.
Summer 2014 HRER Hybrid Course

Summer 2014 HRER Hybrid Course

Once more the School of Labor and Employment Relations offered summer hybrid classes for HRER students pursuing the Masters in Professional Studies degree. Fifty students attended one of the following three offerings.

 

HRER    504   Seminar in Employment Relations

HRER    802   Organizations in the Workplace

HRER    825   Strategic Business Tools for HR Professionals

 

These classes are taught as a combination of online and residential lessons. Students engage in preparatory work in the weeks preceding the campus visit, and write a paper in the weeks following the residential experience. Rex Simpson, Dan Geltrude and Antone Aboud were this year's instructors.

This blended learning approach is coupled with a truly "Happy Valley" experience. Students this year made several visits to the Creamery, which was only a short walk from our classrooms. Too often they returned to class with large dishes of ice cream, often to taunt the one lactose intolerant instructor, himself craving the heavenly mixtures. On another night the group attended a minor league baseball game, sitting in an air conditioned area with a variety of great snacks. Some of us even watched the game. The last evening on campus we ate dinner at the Nittany Lion Inn's patio. Except for a very few early sprinkles, we enjoyed a final goodbye together, with a short walk to the Nittany Lion statue for group photos. That evening ended with a rousing rendition of, "WE ARE...PENN STATE!" And to prove their commitment to our University, the majority of the students spent a week in university housing.

One additional wrinkle this year was the Sunday afternoon orientation reception and dinner. We've always conducted this event, but this year it included approximately 20 online faculty members who were completing a one-day workshop on campus. Although most of the participating faculty were not teaching in the hybrid classes, they did have the opportunity to meet and greet students they had to that point only known in the virtual universe. It was a blast.

The Academy of Human Capital Development: Providing Professional Development Opportunities for HR Practitioners

Human resource (HR) practitioners seeking professional development opportunities and HR executives seeking HR consulting services can now find such services at the LER’s Academy of Human Capital Development. The Academy is the School’s HR management outreach arm and provides webinars, workshops, onsite programs, and consulting services. Led by Professor’s Tom Hogan and Antone Aboud, the Academy’s mission is to promote and advance the HR profession by utilizing the talent and expertise of the School of LER’s distinguished faculty. The Academy provides an opportunity for the School to reconnect with LER alum/practitioners.

Human resource (HR) practitioners seeking professional development opportunities and HR executives seeking HR consulting services can now find such services at the LER’s Academy of Human Capital Development. The Academy is the School’s HR management outreach arm and provides webinars, workshops, onsite programs, and consulting services. Led by Professor’s Tom Hogan and Antone Aboud, the Academy’s mission is to promote and advance the HR profession by utilizing the talent and expertise of the School of LER’s distinguished faculty.  The Academy provides an opportunity for the School to reconnect with LER alum/practitioners.

The Academy is an approved provider of recertification programs by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRIC). Program participants earn recertification credits toward their SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP and/or HRCI PHR, SPHR and GPHR.

A preliminary list of programs offered this academic year includes: “Giving Voice to Values: A New Approach to Ethics and Value-Driven Leadership,” “The On-Demand Workforce of the Future: Implications for HR Practitioners,” and “The ‘How’ of Values-Driven Leadership Development.”

For additional information regarding the Academy, please visit their website or contact Professor  Hogan at tch12@psu.edu.

The School and APG Board Holds Alumni Reception in Pittsburgh

This past Spring the School held a reception for LER alums in western Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh event was sponsored by the LER Alumni Program Group (APG) Board and hosted by Board Member Tom Giotto at the office of his law firm, Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney. Thirty-five alumni attended, along with several LER faculty who traveled from University Park.

This past Spring the School held a reception for LER alums in western Pennsylvania.  The Pittsburgh event was sponsored by the LER Alumni Program Group (APG) Board and hosted by Board Member Tom Giotto at the office of his law firm, Buchanan, Ingersoll, and Rooney.  Thirty-five alumni attended, along with several LER faculty who traveled from University Park.  The alums had the chance to meet a dozen current LER majors who were in town for the Annual SHRM/SLER student club spring trip.  There was lots of reminiscing by the alums’ about their years on campus—life in the dorms, Saturdays at Beaver Stadium, visits to the Rathskeller, and interesting classes they took (really!).  The APG Board is considering organizing a reception this spring in the Philadelphia area.  If you live in the tri-state area, look for an invitation in the months ahead.

Trisha Everhart in New Role

This past summer Trisha Everhart assumed the role of Assistant Director of Online Programs for the School of Labor and Employment Relations. For several years Trisha has worked as our School’s Administrative Support Coordinator. In addition to those duties, she has been a member of our Online Team since joining LER and has also had administrative responsibility for the curricular consultation process, a critical role supporting faculty efforts to create and revise our courses and curricula.

This past summer Trisha Everhart assumed the role of Assistant Director of Online Programs for the School of Labor and Employment Relations.

For several years Trisha has worked as our School’s Administrative Support Coordinator. In addition to those duties, she has been a member of our Online Team since joining LER and has also had administrative responsibility for the curricular consultation process, a critical role supporting faculty efforts to create and revise our courses and curricula.

In her new role Trisha will continue to handle the curricular responsibilities; however, she will more fully engage as the primary contact for our LER undergraduate students. Her objective is to increase engagement with that group of students, and also generate online alumni support for LER well into the future. She will also continue to help administer the Study Tour classes that began with the course in Ireland this past Spring semester.

Trisha recently received a Masters degree in Higher Education through World Campus here at Penn State.  Before coming to our School Trisha gained a background in business, working for four years for Nittany Bank, the last two years as a branch manager. In that job she was actively involved in recruiting, selection, training and supervising staff. She also worked as a finance manager for a local car dealer. Those experiences allow her to bring a business perspective to the many issues that the School must address on a constant basis. Coupled with her expertise in higher education, Trisha is an invaluable asset to the School and its online programs.

For those who have worked with Trisha, you know her as that person who will step up to help. Her focus is always on what will best serve our students and School.

 

Update on the School’s Training Opportunities for HR Practitioners

The School of Labor and Employment Relations has continued to grow its management outreach activities through its Academy for Human Capital Development (AHCD). Our experience to date reinforces our belief that our programs can be a useful resource for LER alumni and others looking for effective training and development interventions.

The School of Labor and Employment Relations has continued to grow its management outreach activities through its Academy for Human Capital Development (AHCD). Our experience to date reinforces our belief that our programs can be a useful resource for LER alumni and others looking for effective training and development interventions.

In February we conducted an additional set of workshops for Foxdale Village, a retirement community in State College. The title of the course was, Supervision: Helping People Work Better. The content focused on the various ways in which managers and supervisors could improve their coaching skills.

This summer we created and delivered a two-day workshop for ICS, Inc., an executive recruitment firm, titled Promoting Employee Engagement. The workshop was delivered to managers in both New York City and Chicago.

If your job responsibilities include training and development, please consider using the services of the Academy.  We offer great on-site programs at a reasonable cost and would be happy to discuss how we can help with your training needs.  We have the capability to do programs on a wide range of topics.  Below is just a sample of the on-site training programs that are currently available. 

  • Introduction to Supervision: Leadership
  • Introduction to Supervision: Coaching
  • Counseling and Discipline
  • Managing People
  • Win/Win Negotiations
  • Facilitation
  • Conducting Workplace Investigations 

You will find course outlines at http://ler.la.psu.edu/profdev/professional-development.

If you are interested in our training programs please contact Tom Hogan (tch12@psu.edu) or Antone Aboud (aja19@psu.edu).

One of the additional services that AHCD routinely provides to students, faculty, alumni and guests is a series of webinars conducted throughout the academic year. The webinars are designed to provide non-credit opportunities for participants to become familiar with critical issues associated with human resources and employment relations. This past year the Academy conducted six such programs, delivering content to as many as 54 participants (see below).

Date

Title

Guest Speaker

9/1/2016

Follow Me™: How to Grow Yourself and Your People

Steve Gilliland, Speaker and Author

11/16/2016

Trending from Annual to Real-Time Performance Reviews

Jim Ryerson, General Electric

2/1/17

Introduction to Workplace Investigations

Antone Aboud, Professor of Practice, LER

2/15/2017

Motivation and Engagement: Finding Success in Work and Life

Stan Gully, Professor, LER

3/21/17

How Technology Innovation is Changing the Face of Talent Acquisition

Franz Gilbert, VP Vice President, Delivery and Operations, Futurestep, a Korn Ferry Company

4/18/17

Managing (Your) Talent Globally

Elaine Farndale, Associate Professor, LER

Those attending the webinars were eligible to receive recertification credits from both SHRM and HRCI.  Look for notices of our 2017-2018 webinars in your email.

World Campus Alum paying forward value of a Penn State education

Penn State World Campus Alum Mike Russo knows exactly how valuable a Penn State degree can be to future employers. That’s why, as a World Campus ambassador, he’s helping current students build their careers by creating opportunities for tomorrow’s leaders.

After working in HR for almost 12 years, Mike Russo decided he needed to obtain an undergraduate degree for his career to progress. Now the Vice President and Head of U.S. HR Shared Services for Bayer, Mike earned a BS in Organizational Leadership, Management, and Labor Studies and Employment Relations from Penn State in 2012 and followed with a Masters in HRER in 2013. He completed the degrees with a GPA of 3.93.

“I continue to be an ambassador for World Campus,” said Mike, “and this year we are launching an HR Training program at Bayer and have chosen Penn State as one of the two campuses we will recruit from for this program.”

Mike chose Penn State World Campus mainly because of the reputation of the school and the flexibility of the program. Leading a recruiting organization, he understood a school’s reputation was essential. “I travelled extensively at the time and needed the flexibility to work anywhere in the world. I recognized the LER program at Penn State is one of the finest in the country and having worked for American Airlines, I had a passion for labor. I wanted to learn from the best.”

Prior to Penn State, Mike held various roles with American Airlines and Textron, Inc. - a multi-industry conglomerate.  He joined the America HR team after working in Airline Operations and Information Technology.  Mike explains that he had no real knowledge of HR but having started in HR at American two weeks before 9/11, he had to learn quickly. “It was an incredibly challenging time and life altering experience.”

His Penn State education continues to serve him in his daily challenges. “I found the undergraduate programs gave me a broader perspective,” says Mike. “For example, the organizational communication and psychology courses gave me an understanding of what I experience in the workplace. It has enabled me to see the relationships and work dynamics from a different perspective and has helped me better relate to people in the workplace