HR Instructor Brings Real-World Experience to the Classroom

Mary-JoMary-Jo Williams is an independent leadership and organizational development consultant as well as a trainer and coach. When she’s not busy with her clients, she teaches in our Human Resource Management and Management Development programs. She is a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP).

We chatted with her recently about the changes she’s seen in the field of human resources over the past few years.

Q: What changes in the field of human resource management have you seen during the time you have been teaching in our program?

A: When I first began teaching at MRU, we were in the midst of a big transition from HR being “personnel” to becoming more strategic in nature. I’ve seen that continue to evolve over the past six years. The human resources function is an integral part of organizational strategy. People who are coming into the course are looking at HR as being a business partner rather than just a service-oriented function that’s reactive.

Q: How can students best prepare to enter the field of HR?

A: First of all, you need to be a people person. And you also have to have the desire to build and grow a culture in business. People who are most successful are those who are passionate about helping the business grow and helping the people part of the business.

Q: What questions do your students ask most frequently?

A: They really want to know what it’s like to be in the real world — making that connection between what they’ve been hearing, what they’ve been seeing, or reading about in textbooks, with what’s it’s actually like to be in various roles in HR in the real world.

Q: What is your teaching style?

A: My style is very facilitative. It’s important to me that my classes are highly participative. I feel it’s my job to engage, enable and empower the students to get the most out of the learning experience as possible.

Q: What feedback do you get from students?

A: They really appreciate that there’s so much of a real-world connection. They like to see the practical application of the learning points that we go through. It’s not just learning the “what”, it’s learning “how”.

Q: Why is MRU a good place to study?

A: I actually took the MRU HR Certificate myself a few years ago. The culture of the university as a whole is what makes it great. It’s professional yet friendly and supportive — a nice balance of learning and learning together.

— photo by Krystal Hurt


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