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PRST 5040/6040/7040 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

PRST 5040/6040/7040 - Human Resources Management

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

It is frequently said that one of the most important assets of an organization is its people. This requires managers to have knowledge and understanding of the principles and procedures to meet the human resource management (HRM) challenges presented daily. While there are accepted approaches to HR problems, there are no single solutions. 

This course emphasizes the development of skills for dealing with selected aspects of human resource management. It aims to enhance the students’ ability to apply theoretical concepts and alternative approaches for dealing with common issues concerning the human side of the enterprise. The course is geared to serve the needs of line and staff administrators in supervisory positions. Thus it strives to train students and facilitate the development of better understanding of human resources issues as they relate to other managerial functions, organizational behavior, and the ability of managers and the organization to achieve prescribed goals. 

Course Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have:

  • Increased knowledge and awareness of the rationale and history of personnel administration, and the role it plays in today’s organizations;
  • Working knowledge of the role of political, economic, ethical, legal, and administrative considerations for dealing with HRM in organizations;
  • Familiarity with the environmental influences and legal constraints that should be considered by the manager in dealing with superiors and subordinates;
  • Comprehension of the ways personnel problems relate to organizational productivity, performance, and behavior; and
  • Improved written communication skills.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Students taking this course must be admitted to the Masters of Professional studies degree program or have been granted permission to take this course by their degree granting institutions' faculty advisor for this program.

Course Topics:
  • Strategic Human Resource Management
  • Equal Opportunity, Legal Issues
  • Job Analysis
  • Personnel Planning, Recruiting, Testing, Selection
  • Interviewing Candidates
  • Training and Development
  • Establishing Strategic Pay Plans
  • Pay, Financial Incentives, Benefits, Services
  • Ethics, Justice and Fair Treatment
  • Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining
  • Employee Safety and Health
  • Managing Global Human Relations
Specific Course Requirements:

There are no specific requirements for this course.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Scott, Gregory M., and Stephen M. Garrison. The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual (7th ed.), Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall

Additional Readings:
Additional readings may be assigned throughout the semester to accompany chapters in the required text for this class. The instructor will provide these additional articles to the students approximately one week before the readings are used in discussion.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Grading Procedures:

Each student in the class will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • assimilation of assigned material from the text as measured by two written examinations – worth up to 15 percent of grade each;
  • appropriately completing an original secondary research paper. You are required to prepare a research paper of at least 10 pages (with at least 10 sources) on a topic pertinent to managers and supervisors, which MUST be approved by the professor. Your research paper will be worth up to 25 percent of your grade.
  • interview a HR professional on personnel issues and problems affecting the work environment and service delivery. You will ask a set of questions that will be provided and write up the interview using concepts you have learned in class. The interview, paper, and associated activities will be worth up to 15 percent of your grade.
  • active participation in on-line discussions and answering of the instructor’s questions. You should be prepared to discuss the concepts that are presented in the textbook. This area will be worth up to 15 percent of your grade.
  • completion of homework listed on the schedule. This area will be worth up to 15 percent of your grade.
Grading Scale:
PercentageAssigned Grade
90 - 100%A
80 - 89%B
70 - 79%C
60 - 69%D
under 60%F

Graded Items

Mid-term Exam15%
Final Exam15%
Research Paper25%
Professional Interview15%
Discussion Participation15%


Assignments and Projects:

Mid-term and Final Exam (15% each)

Each student will be required to complete a midterm and final exam. The exams will be short essay and the student will have three hours to complete the exam. The exams – a mid-term and a final – will come from the text, Gary Dessler, Human Resource Management, and from lecture notes and articles provided by the instructor. The mid-term will cover material from the first day to the mid-term. The final will cover material from the second half of the semester. It is recommended that the student keep up with the reading so that studying for exams will not be so onerous. The exams will consist of several essay questions about important topics discussed throughout the semester.

Research paper (25%)

Each student should develop his or her own expository research paper on an important issue to organizations as a requirement for completion of this course. The paper must be at least 10 pages in length, and no longer than it takes to adequately cover the topic. You must use at least 10 sources, not including the textbook. Most of the sources should be referred articles or scholarly books on the topic. Other sources should be used sparingly. (Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and “unknown” websites should not be used in a graduate level paper).

Research Paper Format 

The research paper is recommended to contain the following components:

a. Title Page

The following information will be center on the title page:

  • Title of the paper
  • Student Name
  • Course name, section number, and instructor
  • University name
  • Date

The title should clearly describe the issue addressed in the paper. The title should be professional, clear, and helpful to the reader. The title should not be “cute.” A cute title may attract attention for creative writings, but it will detract from the credibility of a paper in the scholarly arenas. 

b. Abstract

An abstract is a brief summary of a paper written primarily to allow potential readers to see if the paper contains information of sufficient interest for them to read. Abstracts have the designation “Abstract” centered near the top of the page. Next is the title, also centered, followed by a paragraph that precisely states the paper’s topic, research and analysis methods, and results and conclusions. The abstract should be written in one paragraph of no more than 150 words and unlike the paper is single spaced. An abstract is not an introduction; instead, it is a summary.

c. Text

The format of the text of your paper is given below (under “Organization and Grading of Written Assignments). While an executive summary, outline page (in the final paper), and table of contents are not required for this assignment, you should know how to use them effectively. For a paper of this length chapter headings are not necessary. Since the paper is double spaced, additional spacing before and after the headings is unnecessary. 

Acceptable topics for research papers:

  • TQM, BPR and the Learning Organization: Implications for training and OD
  •  Manpower planning as strategic management: Models and approaches
  • Indoor pollution and employee health
  • The economics and administration of the re-training of employees over 50
  • Organizational cultural and elderly employees
  • Organizational culture and the use of volunteers
  • HRM and the ethical issues of tomorrow (excluding AIDS, substance abuse, lie detectors)
  • Productivity issues and HRM in the global village
  • Contracting out, privatization and private-public cooperation
  • Health insurance and pension plans in the new Millennium
  • Performance measurement and performance appraisal issues
  • Issues in managing a mix of regular employees, telecommuters, part-timers, volunteers and contracted employees

Select one of the above topics (or get written approval from the instructor for another subject).

Note: Following explicit directions is an important aspect of graduate school training. Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions. Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit the research paper to me before the due date (at least two weeks in advance), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade. Late papers will NOT be accepted.

Technical format for papers:
All papers should use the following technical format: Microsoft Word, Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double space each line in the paper. Furthermore, number all the pages in your paper. However, if direct quotes used in the paper are the equivalent of three lines or more, single space and separate them from the main text.

Grading criteria for all papers and exams:
The following information outlines the grading criteria for all papers and exams:

  • Completeness – Needs to address all the elements of the paper/project/question completely; requires the student to elaborate on all areas in which clarification might be needed. Both sides of an issue should be thoroughly discussed. Discusses the “so what?” of the topic – why is this issue important to managers and administrators -- and provides examples where appropriate.
  • Analysis – Needs to use three or more concepts from the text or class to analyze the paper/project questions elements. These statements of analysis should be placed in appropriate places in the paper.
  • Organization – The information of the paper/project/question should be in a logical sequence which can be easily followed. The paper should be arranged into a functioning whole. The more interesting the progression, the higher the grade the student will receive.
  • Coherence – The ideas, arguments, and discussion of the paper/project/question should flow easily. The student should show a systematic connection; the discussion needs to show consistency and be logically connected.
  • Clarity-Accuracy – The ideas, arguments, and discussion of the paper/project/question should show clear thinking; the student should use comprehensible, unambiguous language. The facts should be correct.
  • Conciseness – Language of the paper/project/question should be direct, succinct, terse, and to the point, saying exactly what is meant and readily understood. If your audience cannot understand a point, the grade will be reduced
  • Depth of Understanding – The student must demonstrate the knowledge required for the paper/project/question; the student should make the research paper/project experience intelligible by
  • applying appropriate concepts and categories. The writing must show graduate level understanding of subject matter.
  • References – The work must display appropriate multiple electronic and non-electronic sources. All sources must be acknowledged at the end of the paper/project as “Works Cited,” “References,” or “Bibliography.” References within the paper/project should be cited properly and in the correct place.
  • Grammar-Drafting – The research paper/project/question should have no errors in spelling and grammar. The paper shows evidence of revision.
  • Overall presentation – The presentation of the paper/project is professionally done and has few errors. Its format, design and appearance has a polished appearance.

Interview of a HR Professional (15%)

You will make an appointment with a HR professional in a local company or organization to discuss personnel issues and problems affecting the work environment and service delivery. (It is preferred that you interview someone in the type of organization which you intend to be employed). If you do not know someone, contact the HR Department of a local company of your choice, and present yourself as a graduate student preparing a report which should not require much time on the participant’s part.

The interview should be conducted in person, since people communicate very important information non-verbally as well as verbally. Be sure to notify the interviewee that your paper will be shared only with your instructor. The following questions are to be asked. You are required to ask at least two additional questions not listed here on a topic or topics which you have found important. 

  • Agency, Number of years with that particular company, Number of years in HR
  • A brief synopsis on his/her education and background
  • To what professional organizations does he/she belong
  • Discuss the major responsibilities in his/her current position
  • To whom does he/she report (position)?
  • What three areas does he/she find the most challenging? Why?
  • What three areas does he/she find the most frustrating? Why?
  • What does he/she find the most rewarding aspects about his/her current position? Why?
  • What are the three most critical factors affecting his/her organization presently and how does HR contribute to its successful outcome? Be sure to have him/her elaborate on each of the areas.
  • What type of advice would he/she offer to someone who is entering HR?

This assignment is to give you an opportunity to meet and talk directly with an individual who deals with HR issues. After your meeting, you should write up the interview using concepts you have learned from this class and present your findings in a 5-6 page paper. The paper will be much more interesting to your audience (the instructor) if it is not in question and answer format.

Then summarize the main points and post these points on the discussion board for all students to read and upon which they may make comments. After the papers have been turned in and the summaries posted, you will chose three summaries about which you will make comments. Your comments should relate how the professionals in the chosen summaries were similar and/or different from the professional that you interviewed. This comparison should be approximately 2 to 3 pages long. You will post the paper on the appropriate discussion area. The format of the text of your discussion is given under “Organization and Grading of Assignments. The interview, paper, summary, and comments will be worth up to 15 percent of your grade.

On-line Participation (15%)

You will be expected to participate in the asynchronous discussion forum in this course. Access to Discussions is under the Evaluation navigation link. Each student is expected to address the instructor’s questions for that week’s discussion. For the chapters assigned in the text, all students should review all “Individual and Group Activities,” “Experiential Exercise,” “Application Case,” and “Continuing Case” and any other information at the end of the chapter since the on-line discussion may contain information from these areas.


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other class members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions. 
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner

Class Homework (15%)

Each student should write out answers/responses/reactions to the “Discussion Questions” at the end of the assigned chapters and submit online. The written assignment should be in sentence and paragraph form, and be no more than two pages. These exercises will be turned in and reviewed by the instructor and used as part of the homework grade. They are due at 4 pm on the date listed on the calendar and will not be accepted late.


Class Participation:

You will be expected to participate in the asynchronous discussion forum through D2L's Discussion Tab. All assignments must be submitted electronically. 

Late Policy:

All assignments will be assigned a due date when they are distributed. Late assignments will not be accepted. Assignments must be submitted electronically and therefore will be date and time stamped.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on August 17, 2017