Most disciplines expect their professionals to stay current in their fields. In the area of human resources (HR), it’s a formal—and rigorous—requirement for those who wish to maintain their certification as Professionals in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professionals in Human Resources (SPHR). Hard work on the part of the staff of Executive and Professional Education (EPE) in the College of Business Administration just made the challenge of meeting the requirement much, much easier.Recently, EPE received word from the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) that it was awarding EPE “HRCI Approved Provider” status. The designation enables EPE to assign recertification credit hours (based on stringent HRCI standards) to its HR-related continuing education programs. Florida International University is the only university in South Florida to have earned this status.
Members of the field applaud the news.
Yvonne Lievano (MSHRM ’03, BBA ’96)
“The ability to offer certified courses is critical,” said Yvonne Lievano (MSHRM ’03, BBA ’96), HR director at Hamilton Risk Management. “As an HR professional, I find my time is precious. I am reluctant to attend a training that won’t give me the credits and value I need. EPE having HRCI-approved provider status definitely makes it more worthwhile to take the great programs they offer.”
Lievano, an adjunct professor in the college’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management (MSHRM) and a member of the MSHRM Advisory Board in her adjunct role, teaches a course in critical thinking, which helps prepare students to take their four-hour, 250-question exam for certification.
“Once students pass that exam, they don’t want to take it again,” said EPE Director Robert Garcia (EMBA ’97), SPHR. “The alternative is to amass sixty credits every three years to maintain their certification. Now, our courses will offer recertification credits. That means that participants will not only have an excellent professional development experience when they attend, but also the programs they take will play a direct part in their recertification.”
Debbie Winkles, SPHR, vice president of HR, Commercial Bank of Florida, and a member of the MSHRM Advisory Board since its inception, thinks the certification “is great for the profession.”
As 2007 president of the Greater Miami Society for Human Resource Management (GMSHRM), she needs to line up programs to attract members to the meetings. Now, she can offer HRCI-certified courses from EPE.
“In the past, we had to submit a program a couple weeks ahead to get it HRCI-certified,” she said. “Having a resource in the College of Business Administration simplifies it for us. We can select a program from EPE knowing it’s already certified and can offer it to all 500 members.”
Winkles also sees the new certification capability as a way to strengthen the relationship between the school and the HR community in South Florida, which includes thousands of professionals.
“This will be a partnership,” she said. “Through GMSHRM, the college will get exposure for its EPE offerings, and GMSHRM will be able to help its members.”
Achieving the milestone posed challenges while paving way for further efforts.
“HRCI has a rigorous application process. We had to submit a list of our courses and curriculum with learning objectives spelled out, explain how we handle course evaluations and record retention, supply marketing materials, and indicate benefits to participants, among many areas we had to document,” Garcia said.
EPE will have the HRCI-approved provider designation through December 31, 2009, during which time it will have its name on the HRCI homepage at www.hrci.org along with a link to its web site (http://business.fiu.edu/epe/overview.cfm).
With this accomplishment in hand, Garcia and his staff are planning to enlarge the number of courses that qualify for recertification in other areas, such as insurance and banking. EPE is already a “Registered Education Provider” for the Project Management Institute and is able to award credits for the project management programs it offers. EPE also is applying to become a provider of the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
“Our commitment to gain certifying capabilities demonstrates our seriousness about the quality of our courses,” he said. “With recertification credentials, we are adding another practical dimension to our programs’ well-established appeal.”