Dr. Robert Awkward

Program Coordinator and Advisor, Senior Instructor, Master of Human Resources

Robert Awkward

Robert Awkward admits to some bias, but doesn’t hold back when touting the quality of Framingham State’s Master of Human Resources (MHR) program. 

“I think our program is the best in the Greater Boston area,” says Awkward, who took over as the coordinator of the program in July. “All of the faculty in our program are either past or current practitioners—actively doing every day what they teach—or previously taught. When you go through a professional master’s program, you want to learn from people who are doing the work that you hope to do.”

Other factors that set the FSU program apart are Framingham State’s great location in the heart of MetroWest, as well as the affordability and flexibility of the program.

“The price of the program is much more attractive here than at private universities in Boston,” he says. “The quality you get at those programs would not be any better, and may not even be as good.”

Awkward has been teaching courses in the MHR program for nearly 15 years. He holds master’s degrees in Economic Policy and Planning and in Adult Education, and is currently a doctoral candidate working on his PhD in Higher Education at UMass Boston. But it’s his long and distinguished career in Human Resource Management that is most valuable to his teaching. That experience includes time as vice president of human resources for the St. Vincent Health Care System in Worcester, and as the head of his own HR consulting business.

“I know the field, and I know a lot of the players,” he says. “I stay up to date on what’s going on, what people need to learn, and what the challenges are.”

Awkward says the content of FSU’s program is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management, an international organization that provides resources, information and professional development for HR professionals.

Students in the program typically fall into one of two categories—current HR professionals looking to advance into management positions or recent graduates seeking to break into the field. Awkward says human resource management is a great profession to get into, especially in Massachusetts because hiring is so competitive.

“We have a knowledge-based economy, and companies compete for a limited number of highly skilled workers,” he says. “You need a strong HR team to attract those people to your company as well as to provide competitive compensation and benefits, training development and employee engagement.”

Awkward urges anyone with an interest in HRM to take a close look at Framingham State’s program.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that when you combine the quality and the cost, our program is one of the best values in the state.”