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AHRD Standards for HRD Graduate Program Excellence

Academy of Human Resource Development Standards for HRD Graduate Program Excellence

Developed by: Academic Standards Committee of the Academy of Human Resource Development


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Graduate academic programs in Human Resource Development and related fields play a critical role in educating and future HRD professionals and others and thus ensuring a sufficient number of experts to guide the increasingly complex HRD discipline in organizations and institutions around the world.


By demand from its members, the Academy of Human Resource Development has, for the past several years, engaged in a concentrated effort to identify characteristics of academic program excellence. Through involvement by the general membership, through the work of a commission appointed by the President of AHRD, and through Board discussion and reflection, the Academy has developed a set of standards and recommendations aimed at graduate programs in HRD and related fields. These standards were developed based on review of outstanding programs, benchmarking of other professional fields, review of existing frameworks for program accreditation, and the ideas of leading scholars and programs administrators in the field.


The standards focus on the following seven core areas:
1.0 Program Purpose
2.0 Faculty
3.0 Curriculum
4.0 Students
5.0 Research
6.0 Resources
7.0 Leadership and Support


The purpose of these standards is to communicate a set of expectations for existing and newly developing graduate programs that is agreed upon by the membership of the profession. The standards are intended to encourage graduate academic programs towards higher levels of achievement and performance around a common set of characteristics while maintaining their unique and distinctive identity. The standards are offered in the spirit of collegial respect for the diverse traditions of our discipline and of its academic programs and within a self-evaluation and continuous improvement framework. The guiding belief behind the standards is that of unity in the essentials and diversity in the specifics.

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