HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (June 3, 2013) - Each year, the Society of Human Resource Management, a global HR professional organization, recognizes outstanding student chapters with three award designations: Superior Merit, Merit, and Honorable Mention. And this year, the student chapter at The University of Alabama in Huntsville received the highest of these three, the Superior Merit Award.
"To my knowledge, this is only the third time our chapter has received an award from SHRM - the first was in 1997 and the next was in 2006," said Dr. William MacKenzie, chapter faculty advisor and assistant professor in the College of Business Administration. "Perhaps even more exciting is that this is the highest award our chapter has ever received in its history."
To earn the award, the 17-member UAH chapter had to meet SHRM chapter affiliation requirements and complete a variety of activities related to professional development, chapter operations, and support of SHRM and the HR profession in general. Dr. MacKenzie said the students did all that and more.
"At the beginning of the year they engaged in quite a bit of planning, including creating operating, recruiting, and fundraising plans," he said. "The students also held a voter registration drive this past fall. And our members gave over 18 presentations this year to students at UAH and even the local community college to promote the field of human resources and the benefits of joining SHRM."
Networking was another area of emphasis. "Our chapter recruited HR professionals from North Alabama to present on a variety of topics throughout the year, such as social media in HR recruiting," he said. "Additionally, students attended North Alabama SHRM meetings throughout the year, which were a great opportunity for our members to network with HR professionals and to learn more about HR in practice."
Founded in 1948, SHRM currently has 250,000 members in 140 countries. And since the chartering of the first student chapter 40 years ago, 450 more have sprung up, comprising over 15,000 members. Yet only 135 of those chapters received an award of any designation during this past 2012-2013 award year, making UAH's honor that much more special.
For Dr. MacKenzie though, it's not the award itself but the fact that it acknowledges the chapter's efforts that brings the most satisfaction. "To me, receiving this award is a great recognition of our students' hard work and highlights their potential," he said. "I think this is a strong indication of the quality of students we have pursuing concentrations in human resources."
It's also an indication of the quality of the curriculum offered at the College of Business Administration. "I want UAH to become recognized as having one of the strongest HR programs in the state," he said. "I believe this is an excellent first step."