mike prinzo illus

It takes years for names to stick at universities. Harold Doty, chair of the renamed Department of Strategy and Human Resources, knows it will take time for people to use the new name. He speaks from experience. He visited his alma mater—Southwest Texas State University—last year and asked faculty about a business building renamed when he was a senior. "It had taken 20 years, but it was finally called by the new name," he says.

Doty says eliminating the original name, Organization and Management, will improve the department’s image. "The change is intended to reflect a clear strategic mission and a more descriptive name for the elements we focus on," Doty says. He defines human resources as managing people to create a competitive business, and strategy as determining how to position a company to develop an edge in its field. By combining human resources and strategy, a company uses the assets of its workforce to develop long-term competitive advantages.

On campus, Doty wants to attract students majoring in such fields as political science, psychology, and sociology to the department by offering a minor in strategy and human resources. On a national level, he says, the department and school want to raise their profiles. "We will be proactive rather than complacent," he says. "It will motivate us to work harder and improve even faster."

In the academic realm, course offerings will be updated at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The core curriculum will reflect current practices in the business world, with an emphasis on developing and understanding leadership and its structure. Such skills are necessary to position a company strategically in the competitive arena. In addition, courses will better integrate the School of Management’s themes of globalization, innovation, and entrepreneurship. These changes were the result of feedback from alumni, business recruiters, and professionals. "It’s challenging, but it’s going to be fun," Doty says.

Jeremy Larman ’00, a strategy and human resources major, says human resources is often misunderstood, but understanding the field helped him learn what interviewers look for in job applicants. "It’s one of the majors that complements just about anything you do," Larman says. "You get an edge when looking for a job."

Kelly McIntyre ’00, who also majored in strategy and human resources, believes that human resources involves understanding people—where they come from and how they will reach where they want to go. "Human resources helps develop the vision for the company, and the company’s overall direction," she says.
                                        —STACEY FELSEN



Eight years ago, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established the Scholars in Health Policy Research Program to generate interest in health care policy research among some of the nation’s brightest young scholars. Each year, 12 recent economics, political science, and sociology doctoral graduates from the nation’s top research universities are selected for the elite program. The scholars are fully supported for up to two years to conduct research and gain an understanding of health policy issues.

For the program to select one scholar from an institution is an honor. To have three scholars and the evaluator of the program in one school is exceptional. John Palmer, dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, was named to head a 12-month evaluation of the program. Two Maxwell faculty members—political science professor Grant Reeher and economics professor John Moran—have completed the program, while political science professor Rogan Kersh is currently participating in it.

Reeher says the program’s goal is to identify scholars who might not otherwise study health care and spark their interest in the topic to bring new ideas to the field. "My sense is that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wanted to breathe new life into a field that had become stale in some respects," Reeher says. "They look specifically for candidates who don’t have an extensive health care background and put them through an intensive learning process to get a grasp of the field before letting them plunge into research."

Moran says one of the program’s key benefits is the broad institutional knowledge it imparts to researchers from more theoretically oriented disciplines. Because of his background in economics, Moran found significant overlaps between existing research in industrial organization and topics of interest to health policy researchers. "I believe that the scholars program has succeeded in getting people from traditional social science disciplines excited about studying health-related issues," he says. "I can tell you that it has left me with a strong interest in health policy issues, which will continue to be a focus of my research in the years to come."

The Princeton, New Jersey-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—the nation’s largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to health and health care—approached Palmer to oversee evaluation of the program because of his extensive experience with health care policy in Washington, D.C., as well as his broad knowledge of social science disciplines and academia. Palmer will head a team of consultants that includes Elaine Wolf, an SU sociology instructor who will coordinate the project on a day-to-day basis. The evaluation is crucial, Palmer says, because the Health Policy Research Program is so important. "The health care system in the United States accounts for almost 15 percent of the GNP," Palmer says. "There are big issues being studied in the Health Policy Research Program that will be ongoing issues. We need to evaluate whether the program is making a difference, what impact the research is having, and whether it is worth continuing."
                                                —JONATHAN HAY


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