HRM Virtual Classroom Report Spring 2017


March 02, 2017

The Spring Term is in progress, with HRM-MA students taking two courses: ARCH 551 (HRM Business Management) and ARCH 561 (HRM Research Design and Methods). Here's what our faculty and students are saying about these two unique courses.

Christopher Dore, PhD, RPA
Principal, Heritage Business International, LLC

ARCH 551, HRM Business Management, is a class unique to heritage and archaeology education in North America. Candidates in this inaugural term are learning business concepts and skills and how to apply them in the heritage industry. So far, through January and the first half of February, they have learned about the heritage industry from a business and economic perspective. We have successfully tackled finance and mastered accounting, the “language of business.” As of mid-February we are entrenched in marketing. They will soon be masters of sales, operations management, innovation, business planning, human resources, governance, and international business. To provide value back to their employers, and show senior colleagues that they are ready for new challenges and responsibilities, students will end the course by completing an “innovation project.” This assignment obliges students will work with their managers or clients to identify a real business challenge that their organizations face. They will apply their new knowledge and skills to overcome this challenge…and amply impress their supervisors!

Teaching this course is something of a dream come true for me, the result of many years of visioning and thinking about how to foreground a set of concepts and skills so obviously integral to HRM success on many levels. 

David Maxwell, PhD, RPA
Lecturer, SFU Department of Archaeology

Mid February marks a major transition point in the Research Design & Methods course (ARCH 561). Having just completed sections on quantitative methods, sampling, appropriate methods of data presentation, and scales of CRM research, the class is about to embark on the first major task of the course: creating a research context. The research context offers students the chance to summarize the previous work done in relation to their thesis topic. This in turn supports the identification of the most pressing research questions for future work in the area.  The resulting summary will reveal what we know, what we don't know, and what we need to try to learn next. Such guidance offers sturdy foundations not only for proposed master's theses, but also for working approaches that combine research with all varieties of CRM. Even simple compliance work can (and usually should!) be focused to answer questions of importance to everybody working in a given region or on a methodological or practical topic. Following the completion of the research context—which requires several weeks—we will turn our attention to creating and operationalizing formal research hypotheses to identify the data sets needed to address the research questions, and ultimately, to creating a formal thesis proposal.

The real goal for ARCH 561, as the HRM Program’s capstone course, is to give every candidate the tools and perspectives needed to prepare excellent theses. So far, so good!

Casey O’Neill, RPCA, MA Candidate SFU Archaeology
Senior Archaeologist, Golder Associates, Ltd.

The second term courses are well underway, with no shortage of learning opportunities. All of the candidates, (and myself perhaps more than some!) are being challenged to think outside the excavation unit, improve our business communication skills, and develop conceptual and analytic frameworks for archaeological and business applications. Topics so far range from archaeological statistical analyses and visual communication techniques, to marketing, overhead calculations, and enterprise valuation. Chris’s assignments (ARCH 551) have proved particularly challenging, probably because of the math. He does a good job of introducing unfamiliar subject matter, somehow inspiring us to learn at what often seems an inhuman pace.  Dave’s power point lectures (ARCH 561) add great technical content and provide tools I know I’ll use repeatedly. Those contemplating an application to the HRM Program must be prepared to reevaluate your roles as a heritage professional through coursework that requires the deconstruction of your personal career experience and encourages meaningful contribution to your employer’s business as well as research strategies and objectives.

Whitney Spearing, MA Candidate SFU Archaeology
Archaeologist & Natural Resources Coordinator, Sugar Cane Archaeology / Williams Lake Indian Band

This semester ARCH 551 (HRM Business Management) is teaching me how to take real-time business strategies and integrate them into my daily HRM practice. The course material is directly relevant to project planning and operations—both high-risk factors in the HRM compliance industry. A primary learning objective and outcome for me is the capacity to offer risk reduction to a client as a result of this coursework. I’ve not been disappointed. Last week we learned which clients are most likely to transfer their business to other firms, strategies to retain them, and the increased profits from doing so.

Likewise, I am integrating the coursework for ARCH 561 (Research Design & Methods) into my HRM practice and thesis preparation. This course is structured so that assignments become part of our theses, so there’s no wasted effort. Brilliant! As a result of this structure, I’ve started several chapters of my thesis, including the literature review and research context. I’ve also begun to collect and analyse data in accordance with the statistical methods learned through the lectures.

Overall, the coursework through both terms has added value and capacity with each passing week.

Megan Vanderwel, MA Candidate
Cultural Heritage Resource Officer, BC Oil and Gas Commission

Taking HRM Business Management (ARCH 551) and HRM Research Design and Methods (ARCH 561) as part of MA studies has been highly rewarding. Each of the course instructors has been enthusiastic. Our class discussions of professional ethics and legislation has remain closely tethered to real-world frameworks of professional HRM practice. These courses would be valuable for anybody looking to expand their knowledge of realities in the vast majority of archaeological work carried out in British Columbia and across North America. With enrolled candidates from Canada and the United States, there are great opportunities for peer learning and for appreciating the range of professional experiences and challenges in varied jurisdictions. I work as a regulator in British Columbia, so discussions around common problems in the HRM industry and learning other perspectives has been immensely valuable to my career development.