By Dr Bridget Freer, Hull University Business School Lecturer and Programme Director for MSc Human Resource Management
In 2021 the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the professional body for HR and people development, launched their new Profession Map. The Profession Map sets the international benchmark for the people profession and reflects the changing nature of HR and Learning and Development. In order for students to prove they have met the new knowledge and behaviours expected at both Advanced and Intermediate levels, all Approved Providers were required to re-design their CIPD programmes.
Hull University Business School came successfully through CIPD accreditation in 2013 and a re-accreditation in 2016, so on the surface, this refresh was nothing new – for example Curriculum 2016 forced the creation of 20 credit modules and led to changes in delivery and structure. Currently we have CIPD Accreditation for our BA (Hons) Business and Management (BABM) with HRM pathway (four modules) and for MSc HRM (eight modules). However, the new Professional Map forced the biggest change to our provision since becoming an Approved Provider and the new standards created challenges for everyone involved.
As part of this change, the CIPD gave Approved Providers more autonomy and freedom to make decisions based on ‘what we do best’. From one perspective, this was a positive opportunity to shape our programmes as we saw fit, but with little guidance and no examples of good practice to follow, it was very difficult to know where to start. As the changes were also new to the CIPD, they were able to offer only general advice and direction. Therefore creating a programme with the absence of clear answers was a daunting prospect.
Reinventing our existing CIPD provision was an onerous and potentially risky task – our external examiner had repeatedly said that our existing MSc HRM was “an excellent learning experience and preparation for entry into or enhancement of practice in professional roles.” How could we maintain this level of excellence whilst making fundamental changes to its structure, content and assessment? There was also a real possibility that in making sweeping changes, we might lose what was considered ‘good’ about our existing offering.