Note: This information has been updated for the 2022 offering of this course.
IRE446H1 Working as an Internal Organizational Consultant [24 Seminar hours plus Service Learning Hours)
Instructor: Rafael Gomez
This course examines the various elements of the consulting process and the interpersonal skills required to build trust, influence others, contract with clients, and establish and maintain strong working relationships. This seminar includes a compulsory learning component using a service-learning placement with a community-based agency or organization.
Prerequisite: IRE244H1, IRE260H1, and two 300H+ level IRE courses.
This is a limited enrolment seminar that includes a service-learning placement with a community-based agency or organization (selected by the instructor) where students contribute a number of hours per week (usually 2 to 3 hours) to an agency or organization with whom she/he has been matched. Students who meet the prerequisites may submit a request to be considered for this course. The selection of students will be determined by the instructor who will review the student's academic qualifications and may include an interview as part of the selection process. Students requesting this course need to enrol in a backup course until the status of their enrolment is confirmed.
How to request IRE446H1
It is not possible to enrol in this course via ACORN. Students must submit a request to the undergraduate program coordinator, via email IRHR@utoronto.ca. Your request must include your student id number. The request period is July 11-31, 2022. This date is firm. Students will be informed of the decision via email by the end of August. Decisions are final.
Themes & Format:
In our contemporary organizations, human resource professionals are strategic business partners collaborating with line operations (sometimes called “business units”) to provide support and guidance as the business works to achieve its objectives. In these instances, the HR staff operate as internal consultants. This role is challenging, dynamic, and requires a unique set of skills and knowledge. These begin with understanding the basic consulting process from a theoretical and practice perspective and building strong interpersonal skills (e.g. establishing trust, influencing others, and maintaining a network of relationships) in order to work effectively in situations involving high levels of influence and negotiation, yet low (to non-existent) levels of authority and direct influence. From a consulting perspective, the HR professional, as an internal consultant, must know how to diagnose a situation, provide and/or brainstorm potential solutions and then work with the line/business unit to implement them.
The overall goals of this course are to provide students with:
• an understanding of the elements of the internal consulting process through theory and models of service delivery, as well as
• an opportunity to work within an organization to apply their learning and further build their interpersonal skills.
• While attention is given to theory and practice, the spotlight is on gaining hands-on experience dealing with real-world organizational challenges.
Students will be paired with a community organization in which they will practice their consulting skills while working a few hours each week to complete a specific project. When placed together, these combined learning approaches result in an overall perspective referred to as “service-learning” (or SL). The value of this style of learning is multi-fold. In particular, it provides the learner with an opportunity to immediately apply classroom theories and concepts in the field and then debrief “lessons learned” in the classroom through conversation with class peers and the course instructor. Without a doubt, the mandatory out-of-classroom portion of the course adds to the class workload. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs of additional time commitments. This course will provide the student with a unique opportunity that would be difficult to obtain in a more conventional classroom setting, namely: direct and immediate practice of what is being learned. You will be expected to work in your community partner’s organization 2-3 hours per week. In addition, be prepared to spend time doing your weekly readings, and working on class assignments. To reinforce the point, this course will have a heavier course load than most other courses. However, we hope you will find that the time invested is more than returned in the richness of your learning experience.