At Towson University Continuing & Professional Studies, our students’ success is our success. That’s why we work closely with them from registration through course completion to understand their career and continuing education needs and goals. Read on for a student success story and get inspired to create your own.
Tell us a little about your background.
I received my BS from Towson University in communications and my MBA from Loyola University Maryland. I have a strong marketing and nonprofit management background and for most of my career I worked in direct response marketing. Many of my clients were national nonprofit organizations and I would help them develop marketing strategies. I realized I loved the mission-driven core of these nonprofits, and I wanted to do what they were doing to make the world a better place. I was lucky enough to eventually work for Special Olympics and then as executive director of Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Why did you decide to take our Online Professional in Human Resources course?
When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, I was a casualty of the economic impact of the pandemic and furloughed from my job as executive director for the Maryland office of a national health-focused nonprofit. I took the opportunity to assess my strengths and skills in order to find a career where I could apply my talents in a role with a little more stability, that was also poised for growth. With my background and experience in management, I knew I could help the workforce of any company with everything from talent search, to on-boarding, performance management, skills development and even business growth strategy. And, I chose to transfer my skills into a human resources career! I knew I needed some type of certification, not only to enhance my HR skills, but to help me in my job search. A professional HR certification on my resume would show that I was serious and committed to a transition into HR. Through my research, I found an excellent array of HR courses at Towson University—my alma matter!
How did enrolling in our course change your career path? How did you benefit from taking the course?
The first step in my career transition was signing up for the TU course. Taking the continuing education course solidified my commitment to a career transition. (I mean, at some point we all think about a different career, right? But taking the step and acting on it is a big thing!) When I talked with a TU career counselor, I decided that the Online Professional in Human Resources (PHR) prep course would be best for me. When I actually paid for the course, and the books were delivered to my house, it all became very real. Those steps solidified my decision for a new HR career path, which wasn’t an easy decision at this point in my life.
It had been quite a few years since I last enrolled in a college course, so I definitely had to tune up my study and test-taking skills! But it was all worth it. I passed the PHR certification exam on my first attempt! Thanks to the TU course and guidance from my professor, I’m now professionally certified in human resources.—Stacy Alford
Why did you choose the online version of the PHR course?
I could set my own schedule and, most importantly, my own pace. You find out quickly how much time it takes for the textbook readings to sink in, how often you have to re-read, and how many practice tests you need to take to make sure you’re retaining the information! So I liked that I could set my own speed with an online course.
I loved the Online Professional in Human Resources course because I could also listen to the professor’s lectures on my own time. The professor is also available for up to 6 hours of one-on-one time if you need it! Professor Hendy was excellent—she was incredibly knowledgeable not only about the course content, but about the best practices for taking the big certification exam.
Did you find any advantages or disadvantages to taking an online course?
The only disadvantage was that I missed getting to know other students. With my previous in-person classes, I enjoyed exchanging real-life examples and business scenarios with fellow classmates.
Did you take your certification exam yet? Did you pass?
Yes and yes! I passed in March 2021.
Anything you would like to add?
I’d like to emphasize how great it feels when you’ve completed a course! And the value of the knowledge you gain is sometimes hard to quantify, but it always pays off. You never know when it will come into play. For example, there will be times in your career when you have to self-promote, whether it’s during a performance review, when you’re up against another person for a promotion, or even facing unemployment. The skills you build today will always add value to your future.