May 25, 2019  

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Human Capital Development Students Examine Management, Planning Principles in Summer Mini Session Course

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Students enrolled in a mini-session course, offered recently by the Southern Miss Department of Human Capital Development at the Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach, include, back row, Bradley Gates, Craig Langdon, Tracie King and Jan Sims; middle row, Kristen Albritton, Marcie Ormes, Melinda Bowens, Carin Sampson; and front row, Marc Bady, course instructor Dr. Rich Jeffries, and Cory Bergeron. The course focused on organization succession management and planning.

University of Southern Mississippi graduate students in its Department of Human Capital Development (HCD) recently learned about succession management and planning in an executive format, three-week mini session course at the university’s Gulf Park Campus in Long Beach. 

The special topics course, HCD 692, focused on the strategic creation, execution, and management of organizational succession plans. These plans allow organizations to identify the required competencies of workers in key positions, with the goal of identifying and developing talent for advancement into positions when they become available. This proactive approach gives organizations a method for addressing issues such as employee skills gaps and high turnover.

The course was taught by Dr. Richard Jeffries, senior advisor and executive coach for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Community Programs. He is also the principle investigator for a $3 million dollar annual international development program for meteorology and geoscience warnings and forecasts. Dr. Jeffries created the succession plan for the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space center in 2012, and developed the Strategic Human Capital Strategy for the Geoscience community in the Navy.

Dr. Jeffries also coached and mentored two succession plan developments at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, and was the CEO of an organization that developed the benchmark SP&M program. He brought his knowledge and experiences in the workplace to the course, providing real world examples of succession planning in action.

Many of the students enrolled in the course, whose careers include organization management responsibilities, said they found it personally beneficial as well as an enhancement of their academic experience at USM. 

*“For my occupation, this has been a particularly valuable class. The principles are ones I can use on a daily basis in my work.” - Jan Sims, director of Workforce Development, Mississippi State Personnel Board.
“Both the content theory and application will be invaluable as I grow academically and professionally. Additionally, the convenience of the mini session format enhanced this experience.” - Bradley Gates, WIOA career services director at Itawamba Community College.

“It was an honor to experience this course with such a strong and diverse group of students. Dr. Jefferies does an amazing job of integrating the course material with his own extensive real world experience. He could have written the book.” - Craig Langdon, owner, Intelligent Cloud Computing.

For information about the Human Capital Development program at USM Gulf Park, visit