Middlesex HRM students Risha Popat and Emilia Szymenderska were recognised for the excellence of their work at the Alan Cowling Memorial Lecture, held at the Hendon campus in March.
The Memorial Lecture is held to remember the contribution which Professor Cowling made to HRM study and teaching, both at Middlesex University where he taught for many years, and more widely in the books and papers he published in the HR field.
Risha was presented with an award for ‘Best Undergraduate HRM Student’ and Emilia was presented with an award for ‘Best Postgraduate HRM Student’. The Awards, made from glass and crystal, symbolise a holistic approach, and were presented by Inger-Lisa Cowling (Professor Cowling’s wife) and Lucy Lofting, a former Middlesex postgraduate who also gave the Lecture.
Now an International HR Director and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, Lucy Lofting spoke to the audience of HR professionals, alumni, staff and students at the Business School, giving her perspective on HR today.
Lucy reflected on patterns over the years in key areas of HR activity such as employee expectations. She then turned her attention to the present, showing how Human Resources Management has moved beyond being a supplier of systems and compliance, to a role as an influencer of corporate life. As HRM professionals have a unique overview of all functions and an awareness of the organisation’s climate, they are in a strong position to impact on where the future lies within organisations. She focussed on the importance and impact HR can exert on trust, values, policy, knowledge and ‘leadership fit for heroes’. HR has a key role in maintaining employee engagement and enabling change and creativity so that organisations remained competitive, she said. Lucy then highlighted how the recession has prompted many companies to regroup and restructure in order to become stronger to face the future. HRM activity lies at the heart of all those activities and, provided they have professional respect, HR professionals can guide the future. Lucy summed up her views, suggesting it is now up to the HRM profession to rise to the opportunity and challenges – “There has never been a better time to work in HR”, she said.
The Lecture was the last in the series, but Professor Cowling’s impact on Business School colleagues, and former and current students remains strong. He was an inspirational teacher and current and future students continue to benefit from the textbooks and guides which Professor Cowling authored and edited, which are still used extensively in the teaching of Human Resource Management today.