School of Labor and Employment Relations Reflects Program’s Growth

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Penn State Board of Trustees recently approved a proposal to establish a School of Labor and Employment Relations. Formerly the Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, the new school will continue to reside in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts.

The name change reflects the growth in the size and national reputation of the program, which is regarded as one of the top labor and employment relations and human resources programs in the U.S. The School offers seven residential undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the University Park campus. It is also the leading provider of online courses and degrees in its field, offering six fully online undergraduate and graduate degree programs through Penn State’s World Campus.

LER’s World Campus master’s degree in human resources and employment relations is designed for working practitioners and has an enrollment of more than 600 part-time students. Its online bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees in organizational leadership enroll nearly 1,000 part-time students. The school’s overall enrollment is more than 2,000 students.

”Work and employment are issues that are central to the success of our economy and the organizations that make up our society, whether private or public, profit or nonprofit. They are also central to our well-being as individuals,” said Paul F. Clark, professor and director of the School of Labor and Employment Relations. ”Our program has the expertise to prepare professionals who deal on a daily basis with work and employment issues, including human resource practitioners, government officials and union representatives.

“Also, we have been innovative in developing degrees and curriculum for both professionals currently working in the field and for those who want to prepare for these kinds of careers,” he added. “Since virtually all organizations need expertise in recruiting, hiring and managing employees, the job outlook for graduates of our program has been consistently strong.”

The faculty conducts cutting edge research on national and international workforce issues of interest to employers, employees, unions and government. This research work is aided by the school’s two formal research initiatives: the Center for Global Workers Rights and the Project on International Human Resource Management.

In addition, the school shares its expertise with labor and management practitioners through non-credit outreach seminars, workshops and webinars offered by its Labor Education and Research Program, and Academy for Human Capital Development.

”Future plans include the development of two new professional master’s degree programs, an MPS (master of professional studies) in international human resource management and an MPS in global workers’ rights, which will build on our faculty’s emerging research initiatives,” Clark said. ”Our goal is to be one of the top two or three schools in the U.S in our field.”

For more information on the LER’s degrees and programs, go to: http://lser.la.psu.edu/.

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