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CPS Adjunct Faculty Member and “HR Person of the Year” Talks About the Industry and Gives Sage Advice to Professionals

HR Person of the Year
Photograph courtesy of Fig Tree Photography and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Douglas Allen, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, an adjunct faculty member for the HR certificate programs for over 23 years, received a prestigious award at the 2015 SHRM Awards. Allen, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Cooper Health System, was named “HR Person of the Year,” a significant and widely respected accomplishment within the human resources community.

Allen was kind enough to talk to CPS about his respected career and the HR field in general in a brief Q & A.

CPS: You've been in HR for over 35 years, in what ways have you seen the HR profession change?

DA: I’d say the biggest change has been that HR has gone from a strictly administrative function, to a strategic function based on the company’s needs and priorities. Companies have evolved to realize that to be successful, you must have the most important resource—people—and be able to engage them in their careers. Employees who lack engagement in their work, oftentimes don’t do their jobs as well as they should or are capable of doing it. Progressive companies from an HR perspective have implemented structures where HR professionals have a voice, and more importantly a seat at the table when major strategic decisions are being made.

CPS: How long have you been an adjunct faculty member at Villanova? And what has kept you teaching these courses for such a long time?

DA: I’ve been teaching at Villanova for over 23 years. I enjoy teaching because it keeps me current and helps me continue to learn and grow. My students are already doing great things in great companies, so I learn as much from them as they learn from me.

CPS: What makes Villanova stand apart from other University options to earn a certificate in HR?

DA: Villanova is a progressive institution, especially in the areas of continuing and graduate education. Working in the industry, VU’s programs stand out and I’m proud to be able to say I’m associated with them.

CPS: Can you tell me about your greatest career accomplishment thus far?

DA: In some small way, I made a difference in people’s lives through my philosophy and my management style. That’s why I started working in HR in the first place, to help make a difference. I started as an elementary school teacher, and was then recruited to develop training and leadership programs at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. At that point, I knew HR was a place I could make a positive impact.

CPS: Any advice to HR professionals or those looking to get into the HR world?

DA: To keep it simple: understand your clients, understand your role, know your business, and be a strategic partner. Consider continuing your learning by earning a certificate. The credential will provide you additional skills and competencies, and will show your organization that you want to evolve and advance. It lends a higher level of credibility to your work and helps you stand apart from the crowd.

Visit our Human Resources Programs Page for more information on our HR certificate programs for entry level HR professionals, or those at an advanced stage in their HR career.