“There’s an app for that!” has become a cliché that’s nevertheless, true. From learning to dating to entertainment, work, transportation, manufacturing and healthcare — you name it — technology is at your service. That phone in your pocket? It puts the world at your fingertips, 24/7, wherever you are. You don’t need to leave your house to shop, research information, get a college degree, visit with faraway relatives, enjoy a restaurant meal, visit a doctor, or go on a job interview; technology can help you do all that from the comfort of home.
In the global workplace, technology has erased the barriers of time and distance. Professional collaboration, in any field, is no longer tethered to geography. If you need to meet with colleagues scattered across the country or around the globe, an internet connection and a Zoom link bring people together across miles and multiple time zones in minutes. For better or worse, communication is instantaneous and round the clock with email and messaging platforms. Vast computer networks connect workplaces throughout a building and across oceans. Managing the productivity, professional development and employee needs of diverse human resources, who are in an office down the hall or thousands of miles away, is facilitated by technology.
Resource management and information and technology management are more important than ever. The need for skilled leaders who can help businesses, organizations and individuals thrive in a global, technology-driven economy has never been more acute.
That need is a key driver behind the development of TROY’s Resource and Technology Management program (BAS-RTM). Over the years, the program evolved from primarily a business curriculum to one that is more focused on science, technology and industry, aligning with today’s tech-dependent, global workplaces. The evolving focus, along with a shift from the Sorrell College of Business and into TROY’s College of Arts and Sciences, opened an opportunity for a new program director. Dr. Robert Vilardi, a lecturer on the mathematics staff and the Campus Coordinator for the College of Arts and Sciences at the Montgomery Campus at TROY, jumped at the chance. “I was immediately interested in the degree and offered to serve in that capacity. In addition to being the director, I also taught one of the major degree courses, Principles of Applied Science, for a few years.”
Resource Management + Technology Management = An Interdisciplinary Degree
The BAS-RTM program offers concentrations that include Human Resources, Leadership, Sociology, Criminal Justice/Cyber Security, Computer Science, or General Science. “Depending on a student’s interest, they will choose two of these areas as concentrations, or if they have sufficient military credit, the concentration can be military science,” says Dr. Vilardi, who is now director of the program. “These concentrations, paired with a required core including Management, Marketing, Computer Science, Social Science, Psychology, Applied Science, among others, truly give each student a multifaceted degree,” says Dr. Vilardi.
The program attracts a diverse student population. “Our students are often veterans, current military members, those already in industry and students with diverse interests throughout the sciences. This program offered a path for those students unlike any other, and that is why I wanted to get involved.”
The military connection was one major factor in Tyler Nabors’ decision to choose the Resource and Technology Management major. Nabors, who calls himself a technology “nerd” (“I love space. I love circuits. It’s something I’ve loved from a young age.”), was serving at Maxwell Air Force Base. TROY’s Montgomery Campus was conveniently right nearby. “Since I was coming from the military, my Academic Advisor led me to the Resource and Technology Management program. It was going to be the most bang for my buck. It also had a lot of military classes on management, and it was more friendly than other schools.”
With classes offered both online and on-campus (in fact, all the courses are available online) and transfer credit opportunities, the flexibility of the program is a big draw. “The BAS-RTM degree program at TROY is one of the most flexible and substantial resource and technology degree programs around. It allows students credit for military service and ACE-accredited programs [credits for courses, professional examinations and certifications taken outside a traditional classroom setting], and has multiple options for students to fine-tune their experience. Students can select a truly unique pathway that fits their goals and ignites their passion.”
While specific skills learned will depend on the concentration chosen, the program focuses on developing fundamental skills that apply across a variety of workplace environments, opening up multiple career opportunities for graduates. “All students will develop skills in marketing, management, computer science, statistics, psychology, social science, and leadership,” says Dr. Vilardi.
The interdisciplinary nature of the program is also enhanced by the varied backgrounds and experiences each faculty member brings. “The faculty for these classes bring unique expertise and experience from their different colleges and disciplines.”
Nabors’ own experience with the program faculty, notably Dr. Vilardi, was nothing but positive. “Dr. Vilardi had a 100% open line of communication, day or night. If I had questions, his responses were instantaneous,” says Nabors. “And, if I slowed down in how many classes I was taking, he called me to check on things and to remind me about how many I needed to finish to knock it out.”
A Resource and Technology Management Curriculum Built With Agility in Mind
Specific courses in the degree program range from Principles of Management, to Foundations of Computer Science, Business and Industrial Psychology, and Introduction to Social Science Inquiry. “These courses show how unique this degree map is and are all incredibly useful in industry,” says Dr. Vilardi. “In a 21st-century workplace, employees need to understand all areas of their organization and be able to function at a high level regardless of the task. An employee who can thrive in multiple areas would prove to be an incredible asset.”
This type of agility proved to be especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as employees and employers alike had to struggle with major challenges in how we work. “Throughout the pandemic, employees and employers have had to think outside the box to accomplish their goals. Employees have had to be flexible and be able to work in multiple environments, on multiple tasks, across many different areas,” says Dr. Vilardi.
In this type of environment, the skills acquired in a resource and technology management degree can make all the difference in helping an organization thrive through complex challenges. “This degree not only allows for that type of outcome, but it also promotes it. Our students are dynamic and can meet multiple needs, proving invaluable in an ever-changing climate.”
In contrast to single-focus degrees, the aim of TROY’s BAS-RTM program is much broader. “For example, an HR degree is simply that, it is a degree in human resources. This degree offers a student the option of concentrating in human resources and also in sociology or leadership — knowledge that will prove useful to them in an evolving job market,” says Dr. Vilardi.
For many students, the multidisciplinary focus gives the program an edge over a dedicated IT, HR, Business or STEM degree.
“This degree allows a student to choose their path, their concentration, their minor. It allows them the ability to use credit that they have earned other places. It provides a degree where they are not pigeonholed but rather can have the ability to develop skills to fit their interests.”
In Demand: Resource Planning and Technology Management Skills
Students graduate with skills that are immediately transferable to the workplace. “Students take courses on human resources, occupational safety and health, business and industrial psychology, marketing, management, and others. These are all incredibly useful and applicable in business and industry,” says Dr. Vilardi.
For students who want to pursue further education, the program sets them up well for a variety of graduate program options. “Students have continued to graduate school in management, human resources and other areas as well.” For Tyler Nabors, the program proved to be a path to a master’s in education with a concentration in Leadership. “Getting the Resource and Technology Management degree from TROY pushed me in this direction.” Nabors is currently a teacher/instructor for a vocational high school in Alabama.
Using himself as an example — taking his Resource and Technology Management degree and then adding an educator twist — Nabors’ advice to other students is: “Don’t box yourself in.”
Dr. Vilardi agrees. “This degree plan offers students an abundance of flexibility and an incredibly diverse skill set offered in a manner that meets students where they are and prepares them to take the next step. Whether it is the beginning of their career or going to the next level, it is a great degree program for so many students. I am honored to be associated with it.”
To learn more about TROY’s Resource and Technology Management program, please visit the program page on our website.