Graduate Education

Graduate Education

Human Resources: A Vital Link

Not all human resources managers are created equal. In fact, they come from a variety of backgrounds on their way to higher-level HR positions. Still, despite these different paths, many still share basic HR manager responsibilities.

Wondering what a day in the life of an HR manager really entails? Let’s take a closer look at the commonly asked question, “What do HR managers do?”

A Microscope on HR Managers

Whatever the title or specialization, HR managers serve as a vital link between employees and management. A part of doing this well is realizing that 21st Century employees have very different expectations compared to the past.

HR managers who understand, acknowledge, and respond to these expectations help create a culture of respect, trust, and engagement – all keys to reducing turnover and fostering retention.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines HR managers as professionals who “plan, direct, and coordinate the administrative functions of an organization.” While this is an adequate description, other skills are required to successfully accomplish what’s needed from a modern human resources department.

  • A modern HR is a place where employees feel comfortable going to with questions and concerns.
  • It’s a place where small issues result in proportionate changes and not over-reaction.
  • A modern HR department knows employees have a lot going on and bend over backwards to make sure explanations of policy and changes are clear.
  • It’s a place that makes it easy to know what’s expected of all employees, rather than just throwing a lot of information out and expecting employees to absorb it without reminders or updates on progress.

To summarize, the modern human resources department shapes everything about employee’s day-to-day life at work and should strive to be a well-regarded part of a company. Work in an HR department these days has evolved into prioritizing inclusion as well as planning what’s best for people, at every level, who work there.

There are still many duties – benefits and payroll for example – that have to get done as a matter of routine. Though they can feel more administrative than developing and executing strategy, these day-to-day functions are obviously quite important.

To get more specific about what an HR manager does, their duties include all or some of the following, depending on the size of the business or organization where they work:

  • Consult with executives on human resource strategies and values
  • Act as an advocate for employees, and a liaison for employers
  • Set up fun internal company events and activities to develop an environment of workplace community
  • Oversee hiring processes, including recruitment, interviewing and selection
  • Handle employee benefits
  • Handle staffing, including conflict resolution and disciplinary procedures

Not only do HR managers work in all industries, but they’re also employed in different capacities. While some human resources managers act in a more general capacity, others have more specialized expertise, such as labor relations directors, payroll managers, and recruiting managers.

Becoming a Human Resources Manager

While there’s no single formula for becoming an HR manager, there are several factors which can enhance marketability with today’s employers. A bachelor’s degree program in human resources or an alternate field such as finance, education, or information technology is a strong start. It’s not necessarily enough in today’s competitive business climate, though. Catching the eye of employers takes something more.

Many management-level jobs require advanced studies in HR or HR-related fields. However, even for positions where a Master of Science in Human Resources Management is not required, an advanced degree can set you apart – and get you in the interview door. That demonstration of commitment can also put you at the front of the queue when promotions come around.

What can you expect to learn in a master’s degree program? Being a people person who is empathetic to different personal circumstances of employees is merely the beginning.

A quality degree program in HR focuses on the human side of business. The University of Scranton’s program is aligned with the HR Curriculum Guidebook created by the Society for Human Resource Management. What this means is that our curriculum stays contemporary with what’s going on in the world and up-to-date with the enhanced and changing role of working HR professionals.

The more informed you are on ethics and organizational behaviors, the greater the contribution you can expect to make. These are covered in Scranton HR courses, along with a focus on rewards and promoting and managing diversity in the workplace

Certifications, also, build on a degree. They demonstrate a continued desire to improve and learn more. They are clear marks that you’ve attained expertise in a certain area such as executive HR leadership or benefits management.

Any HR work experience, even in a supporting role or as an intern, helps as well.

Characteristics of Highly Effective HR Managers

In addition to similar duties and responsibilities, many HR managers also share key competencies, including the following 10 characteristics:

  • Organization
  • Decision making
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Multitasking
  • Ethics
  • Conflict management
  • Change management

The last two, in particular, can be the differentiating factors between a good HR manager and a great one. Contemporary organizations are anything but static and HR managers are charged with helping organizations manage change to remain competitive. HR professionals who are prepared to cope with change and lead them through a business, offer sought-after added value.

Beyond Human Resources

HR managers don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, they function as one of many moving parts within the companies they represent.

Bob Brady, founder of BLR, a business compliance firm, says that, “HR is a creature of, and serves, the business strategy. It’s important for HR people to know what that strategy is and what makes the business tick so the approach to HR can be tailored accordingly.”

In other words, it’s not enough for HR managers to simply understand the field of HR. It’s not even enough for them to understand how best to put employee talents to work for their organizations. They must also understand the roles and responsibilities of an HR manager within the overall context of an organization and its objectives.

Ultimately, whether you have years of experience in human resources or want a career change to this increasingly popular field, understanding both the day-to-day responsibilities of an HR manager as well as the strategic “big picture” of the role within the organization is essential.

The truth is that there’s no such thing as “typical” or “average” day when it comes to human resources. The right background, experiences, character traits and education help you stay flexible and open to what works best for the employees and to further company goals and culture.

Learn more about the HR program at The University of Scranton.



Preparing Tomorrow’s Counselors Today

The Counseling and Human Services Program recently instituted a new slogan for their department: “Preparing Tomorrow’s Counselors Today”.

This is what some of the faculty and students had to say about the new slogan and how it relates to the education they receive in the CHS department.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Dr. Ben Willis:

“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means that our department is focused on helping students to develop the skills, knowledge, dispositions, and resources to be able to respond to the challenges that they will have as practitioners. I see that we work to help students build a firm professional foundation to be able to address their challenges and help their clients. Alongside the Jesuit mission and values of our university, we help students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills to be able to be aware of themselves, their community’s needs, and ways to address those needs. To be able to “set the world on fire,” our graduates need to be able to respond to the current needs and to be flexible and responsive to ongoing changes in our world.We help students to be able to see the world as it is and help them develop a perspective and approach to be able to make positive changes to the world through their communities and their work with others. In summary, we prepare our students to become the counselors that tomorrow’s world will need by developing the students into passionate, reflective, responsive, and resourceful professional counselors through the course of the program.

Courtney Gans:

The counseling department’s new slogan encompasses many important aspects of the counseling profession, which are demonstrated through education, practice, advocacy and connection. I feel this slogan represents the active movement of student potential towards growth, change and awareness both personally and professionally. It means the preparation and process of becoming a counselor begins now, with a combined effort between professors and students towards professional development.

The University of Scranton’s counseling program takes a proactive, integrative and collaborative approach that pro- motes growth and innovation for the future community. Through the consistent encouragement of self-reflection, students develop an awareness of themselves that strengthen them as individuals and future counselors. Meaningful discussions also persist, creating strong collaboration among professors and students that build on important thoughts and ideas. With continued advocacy for the counseling profession and hope for a unified understanding of counseling, there is potential for achieving a greater community.

Encouraging self-reflection, leading to sustained personal and professional growth and well- ness is the principle that resonates most with me. Incorporating self-reflection into daily practice produces many benefits in the professional and personal realm. It also creates a foundation of ethical decision making, which can maintain and strengthen the therapeutic bond be- tween counselor and client. I feel that the continued support for self-reflection generates a deeper understanding of the self, which improves how we interact, understand and respond to clients. As counselors, we should challenge ourselves by demonstrating and embracing growth by the act of reflection. Having the courage to look deeper at ourselves allows us to be more competent and effective counselors.

A trend that I see emerging within the counseling profession is more movement, advocacy and support for health and wellness with a more holistic approach to mental health. The counseling program encourages the identification of strengths when working with clients, along with sensitivity to diversity and support for person-first terminology. This creates more unity, specifically with the counseling profession and development of professional identity.

School Counseling

Dr. Julie Cerrito:

“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means that, as faculty, we strive to be on the cutting edge of what is current and contemporary in the field of counseling. We are keenly aware of what is happening on a state, national, and international level with respect to the field and we are constantly adjusting and modifying our curriculum to respond to those ever-changing needs. The new slogan reflects a forward-thinking, progressive mentality that we, as a department, embody. We also en- courage students to develop this ideology during their academic preparation and clinical training with us. 2. What is a way you see your program demonstrating this vision successfully now/in the future?

We are currently working on major curriculum revisions to more holistically focus on the varied roles and responsibilities school counselors have. We examine sociopolitical trends and needs in education and weave those into coursework and assignments. We are noticing crossover in disciplines and creating new courses to bridge those needs. For example, we are developing a new course that would combine school counseling and rehabilitation counseling majors together to discuss implications for students who are transitioning. There are great benefits in students learning about other specialty areas in counseling with a recognition of how those areas often overlap.

Jackie Bailey:

I think that the Counseling and Human Services Department’s new slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” is deeply powerful and meaningful. I believe that now more than ever, caring, compassionate and competent counselors are needed in this world. This slogan recognizes the call for action and holds all faculty and students accountable to be prepared to go out into the world and be the best possible counselors. This department truly does help each student grow to their potential. The classes, meetings, clinical opportunities, and relationships all breathe life into the changes we wish to see in the future.

Right now, the profession of school counseling is in a state of change and growth. School Counselors are no longer solely focused on academics, college applications, or letters of recommendation. These counselors are now taking a very holistic approach and caring for the whole person of each student. School counselors work to meet the unique developmental needs of each student in three realms: academic, college and career, and now social/ emotional. School counselors recognize that in order to truly help each student in these three do- mains, they must work collaboratively as a team with their communities and promote wellness in their schools. These are two things that the counseling program wholeheartedly prepares us to do. From the moment a student starts their counseling program, to well beyond graduation, this department works to foster a wellness framework. Additionally, the counseling programs put a strong emphasis on building relationships. Through classes, group projects, and even the warm atmosphere, every student learns that they must work together to succeed and reach their goals. I believe that these two factors are strong evidence of the program’s commitment to its new slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today.”


Rehabilitation Counseling:

Dr. Bruch:

With our recent merger (CACREP/CORE), it has really highlighted within our profession that we are all counselors first, and as a result it has heightened our thinking about what attitudes, skills, and behaviors we need to have in order to be successful, not just at the beginning of our career, but throughout our lives. We want to be prepared for the issues that we encounter in our work today, as well as those we will encounter. When I think about what some of those areas are, for me, as a rehabilitation counselor, one thing I think about is the fact that all counselors need to understand disability in its broadest sense. I am really excited that CACREP has a committee that is working on infusing all of the disability areas into the classes and education that all other counselors receive.

I also think it is important to recognize that the counselor of the future today needs to be trauma focused, and do a complete trauma history, not just if this is a client’s presenting concern. We need to know how to help a person work through lasting effects of events that might have occurred earlier in life. Addiction is another area that counselors need to be thoroughly trained in, along with assessment and diagnosis. I think what our program does best is that we are able to look at all of this, and still maintain our wellness and strengths-based focus for individuals.

I am completing my 40th year in rehabilitation counseling, and I can say that there’s never been a time when I thought, “why did I choose rehab counseling?” Along the way, there has been a lot of continuing education, in addition to my own degrees, that have kept me cur- rent. As I look to the future of what rehabilitation counselors need, I see some of those things mentioned previously, and I see our students embracing a commitment to joining professional organizations such as ACA. I think the Counseling Today publication is a great way of keeping up to date about what issues are arising that we need to be aware of as counselors.

Having merged with CACREP now gives rehabilitation counselors that opportunity to really be on equal footing with our peers in counseling related areas. To include in our focus, not only the traditional paths of rehab counselors, but to continue to embrace those clinical opportunities that arise for rehab counselors to work in more settings, is something we pride ourselves on. We aim to help our students find ways to embrace their master’s degrees and keep current during their long and successful careers.

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Rebecca Dalgin back as she is going to transition the program from a 48-credit program to a 60 credit clinical rehabilitation counseling program, which will be so important for our students going forward, enabling them to make the most of the future and present them with all the best opportunities to succeed. We want our students to have a degree that will carry them throughout their lifetime.

Mara Wolfe:
The University of Scranton has fostered a community that encourages innovation and inspires students to strive for the magis. By requiring work beyond the classroom and remaining true to the Jesuit tradition of cura personalis, the university and the Counseling and Human Services Department support students in ways that help to prepare competent professionals and practitioners for a competitive labor market in an ever-changing world of the future.

The CHS Department has truly embraced the call to move to the future with the new departmental slogan—“preparing tomorrow’s counselors today.” While the slogan is new, the forward-thinking perspective is something that has been a part of the department long before this addition.

As a rehabilitation counseling graduate student, forward oriented thinking is critical for innovation and growth within the profession. I found myself looking to the future of the profession, as many did, at the merger of CACREP and CORE just last year, and at the passage of Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) in 2014. Even more frequently, I often find myself looking to research and current trends to inform my practice and learning as practicum counselor and graduate student.

As a graduate student, the slogan means a commitment to learning and the profession and a determination for both professional and personal growth and wellness. The CHS department challenges me every day to be a counselor for tomorrow. My day to day work within the Counselor Training Center is complemented by coursework and projects that continually keep me looking ahead. The new slogan speaks the department’s commitment to the future of the profession and communicates a departmental culture that promotes both self-reflection and innovation.

Counseling and Human Services:

Dr. Eschbach:

As a faculty member in the Counseling and Human Services Department for many years, I have the opportunity to reflect on our department slogan and vision with a different lens. This semester I am the Acting Program Director for the Counseling and Human Services Department as Dr. Paul Datti is on sabbatical. What an enjoyable semester it has been to interact with undergraduate students, and I had the privilege of initiating the process to recommend many CHS students for awards or other special recognition.

Competent, real-world ready practitioners so describes our CHS majors. Whether they are planning professional work when they graduate or planning graduate school, CHS majors are ready and capable. I am so proud of how positive their internship site supervisors describe their work as they complete two internships during their undergraduate studies. The topics CHS majors pursue for papers and class projects address contemporary and current issues in the human services field. For years, I have taught graduate courses and when I have CHS graduates in my courses they are always talented and prepared for graduate classes.

CHS majors are active in the community through the Counseling and Human Services Association, TUA organization, and their community-based learning. Their endeavors through these venues put our vision of preparing tomorrow’s counselors today into action.

Our department demonstrated our new vision during this part year through a number of retreats, “extra” meetings, and time spent together. We truly followed the strategic planning process to arrive at our slogan and guiding principles. My colleagues and I have truly invested in creating meaningful guiding principles for our department.

Samantha Volpe:

Reading the University’s undergraduate tagline: “preparing tomorrow’s human services professionals today”, it was not hard to find myself within those words. Reflection and self-exploration have always been an integral part of the CHS major, and throughout this process I have realized time and again how well prepared I am for the future. Through our community-based learning, the Jesuit ideals, and our own values as budding human service professionals, my classmates and I have an inherent passion in being men and women for others. I never would have grown and matured in the ways that I have if I had not come to the University of Scranton, and I feel as if I know myself and those around me in a deeper way because of this strong sense of community. Our deep dedication within and outside of this program to inclusion and advocacy radiates beyond the bounds of this campus. All of the department’s guiding principles stand out to me for different reasons, but the one that has stuck with me is, “cultivating a rigorous and supportive academic learning environment”. The CHS faculty has always been there to support and push us to continually develop. We all have rooted ourselves in commitment to this field, grown through the dirt, and any ceiling we thought was above us we have shattered. This program has molded and shaped me in a myriad of ways, by encouraging the opportunity to embark on real world experiences to help me cultivate myself into the best human service professional I can be. Beyond graduation, I will take my skills and “go forth and set the world on fire” by igniting these passions within every and all lives that I touch. I am grateful for every assignment, every experience, and every professor, and I will leave this university rich in empathy and the knowledge that experiencing raw humanity isn’t something you can learn from a textbook, and that thinking about what you want to do with the rest of your life it is no longer about how much money you make. Rather, did you sit with the person sitting alone? Did you bring a smile to the face of someone that didn’t think they had a reason to? Ultimately, the guiding principle that has stood out to me the most is that we do not have to wait until tomorrow to make a difference, when there is so much we can do today.

Counseling Training Center:

Geri Barber, Director:

“Preparing tomorrow’s counselors today” means we as a department are committed to doing our part to ensure that those who want and need assistance to enhance the quality of their lives have readily available access to that assistance. As we work towards removing the stigma that is attached to counseling and more people who need assistance move towards it with less hesitancy and shame, we as a counseling community need to be prepared. I believe the department’s slogan, “preparing tomorrow’s counselors today,” embodies the essence of preparation by being proactive and responsive.

The Counselor Training Center is all about preparation, giving students an opportunity to enhance and expand their skills. Through practice and supervision students can literally be transformed in the “today” of practicum into the counselors of tomorrow. It might be said that the CTC is where the counselors of tomorrow begin to demonstrate today, that they are prepared. Through varied opportunities with campus-based and community clients, practicum counselors can experience the growth-producing and healing impact that a counseling relationship can have. The CTC will continue to be responsive to the needs of counseling students, as well as university and community-based clients it serves through continued program development and facility enhancements. Personally, it is and has been a joy to witness beginning practitioners grow in confidence and professionalism as they hone their skills to truly be the counselors of tomorrow.

To learn more about the Counseling programs at The University of Scranton, check out our Graduate Programs pages!

So, You Want to be a Leader?

Whether in their first management position or at the top of an organizational chart, good leaders never stop growing. In addition, when managers get better, the entire organization benefits: Numerous studies confirm that good leaders correlate with high employee satisfaction, engagement, commitment, and even profitability.1

Below are some attributes that can help you become a better leader:


Arguably the most important leadership skill, communication is often a top area for improvement. According to one study, managers who improved their overall effectiveness over a 12- to 18-month period were more likely to have improved their communication skills than any other attribute.2

To update your communication skills, find ways to play to your strengths and improve on weaknesses. If you have been told your e-mails are unclear, have a co-worker review them before you hit send. If your team is reluctant to approach you, establish an open-door policy or make a point of walking around and speaking to everyone. Remember that communication includes listening, not just speaking.

Set expectations—and enforce them.

Studies show that at all levels, only half of leaders hold people to task when they don’t deliver.3It’s vital to set expectations for your team and yourself and ensure that everyone contributes.

Give feedback.

Employees—and especially younger generations—want to know how they are doing. More than half (60 percent) of respondents in one survey said they want feedback daily or weekly, and yet fewer than 30 percent receive it on a regular basis, according to another study.4

Feedback works best when it’s about specific situations and given regularly, not saved for a quarterly or annual performance review. Employees crave both recognition for good work and constructive feedback when they are struggling.

Lead by example.

Emphasize behaviors that you want to see in the people you manage. Beyond modeling basic workplace etiquette and a willingness to address challenges, your own supervisors are counting on you to reflect the company’s core mission and values.

Be positive.

No work situation is without challenges and stress. Keeping a positive outlook when problems arise helps your team focus on addressing problems, not poor morale. Projecting confidence in times of crisis isn’t just good sense—it’s a key part of the role of a manager.

Learn to delegate.

Working in teams and bouncing ideas off your peers can create high-quality work while keeping your stress levels down. Train and trust your team to take on appropriate tasks.

Know your team.

The more you know the strengths and weaknesses of the people who report to you, the better you will be able to match them with roles and responsibilities that synchronize with their interests. Knowing your co-workers on a personal level can pay huge dividends in morale—and make your own time as a leader far more enjoyable and rewarding.

Encourage others to grow.

For you to advance as a leader, you must help your team members do the same. Encourage them to take on more challenging tasks, and help them network and develop skills they will need as they grow into leadership roles of their own.5

The University of Scranton Master of Business Administration can help you develop the ability to lead in today’s changing workplace with the values of ethics and social responsibility that are the hallmark of a Jesuit education.

Learn more about The University of Scranton’s MBA program.


1 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “How Damaging Is a Bad Boss, Exactly?,” Harvard Business Review,
2 Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, “How Poor Leaders Become Good Leaders,” Harvard Business Review,
3 Darren Overfield and Rob Kaiser, “One Out of Every Two Managers Is Terrible at Accountability,” Harvard Business Review,
4 Maren Hogan, “5 Employee Feedback Stats That You Need to See,” LinkedIn Talent Blog,
5 Avery Augustine, “5 Strategies That Will Turn Your Employees Into Leaders,” The Muse,

We Are SO Proud!

The University of Scranton conferred more than 625 master’s and doctoral degrees at its graduate commencement ceremony on May 25 in the Byron Recreation Complex. Graduates recognized at the ceremony include those who completed their degree requirements in August and December of 2018, as well as January and May of 2019.

The University conferred three doctor of nursing practice degrees, 38 doctor of physical therapy degrees and more than 585 master’s degrees in various disciplines. Graduates represented several foreign countries and 39 states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, among others. The programs with the most graduates at Scranton were the master of business administration, master of accountancy, master of health administration, occupational therapy and educational administration.

University of Scranton President Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., addressed the graduates and their guests. Degrees were conferred by Father Pilarz upon candidates presented by Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies; Murli Rajan, Ph.D., interim dean of the Kania School of Management; and Brian P. Conniff, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Also speaking at the ceremony were Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Julie Ann Nastasi, Sc.D., assistant professor of occupational therapy;  Michael K. Short ’99, Alumni Society president; and Rev. John Sivalon, Ph.D., director of international learning programs.

Graduate students were honored for academic achievement in their specific academic area. Outstanding Academic Awards were presented to Lindsey H. Hayde, Center Valley, Doctor of Nursing Practice; and Lauren Elizabeth Bonitz, Endicott, New York, Doctor of Physical Therapy. Outstanding Academic Awards for master’s level programs were presented to the following graduates in the programs as listed: Christine Emily Ahrens, Reading, health informatics; Jacqueline Rose Bailey, Waverly Township, school counseling; Courtney L. Boag, Basking Ridge, New Jersey, special education; Hannah Bobrowski, Drums, general business administration; Amy Lynn Coppola, Lambertville, New Jersey, human resources; Malak Daas, Scranton, marketing; Matthew A. Fava, New Carrollton, Maryland, chemistry; Louis J. Finnerty, Old Forge, health administration; Emily E. Gardner, Huguenot, New York, occupational therapy; Lauren Michelle Jurbala, Avoca, family nurse practitioner; Kari S. Koval, Leola, clinical chemistry; Amanda C. Lara, Hazleton, clinical mental health counseling; Erika V. Maxson, Greentown, secondary education; Ethan Chad Moser, Boyertown, finance; Daniel R. Muthersbaugh, Boyertown, operations management; Kayleen Elizabeth Notchick, Bellefonte, curriculum and instruction; Viren J. Patel, Scranton, biochemistry; Lindsay M. Pine, Vestal, New York, nurse anesthesia; Bobbi Lou Pino-y-Torres, Marquette, Michigan, healthcare management; Kyle James Potter, Mahopac, New York, finance; Sara T. Rizzo, Danbury, Connecticut, accounting; Pierre Richard Seche, Sunrise, Florida, human resources; Stephen Michael Skierski, Scott Township, theology; Jennifer Ann Whigham, Owego, New York, enterprise resource planning; Mara Catherine Wolfe, Ringtown, rehabilitation counseling; Donna Ann Yoder, Eagle, Colorado, accountancy; and Kurt Eric Zimmermann, Rockaway, New Jersey, educational administration.

An archived recording of the ceremony can be seen at

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