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Dean Michelle Eppler Named to Head Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab

Academic Study and Business Collaboration Will Remain Lab’s Focus

Michelle K. Eppler, Ed.D., who has served as Dean of Bellevue University’s College of Continuing and Professional Education since 2003, has been appointed Executive Director of the University’s Human Capital Lab. The announcement was made by Bellevue University President Mary Hawkins.

Founded a decade ago, the Bellevue University Human Capital Lab was the first in the nation to study the business impact of learning. Bellevue University was the first to offer a Ph.D. program in human capital management, which is defined as the comprehensive set of practices for recruiting, managing, developing and optimizing the human resources of an organization. Since its founding, the Human Capital Lab has focused on measuring the impact of learning on productivity in the workplace – showing companies the return on investment (ROI) of investments made in the people who make up their workforces.

“The Human Capital Lab is a great example of how rigorous academic study can be used to collaborate with companies and support business productivity,” said Dr. Eppler, who also serves as Associate Vice President of the University. Dr. Eppler added that the Lab plans to expand on the rich data repositories and case studies that it makes available to organizations and Chief Learning Officers (CLO). “Nearly all of our case studies demonstrate the positive impact that innovative learning programs can have on the personal confidence and fulfillment of individuals,” she said, “as well as on the success and financial results achieved by business enterprises.”

Dr. Eppler, whose doctorate thesis at the University of Missouri-Columbia was on the topic of educational leadership and policy analysis, added that the Lab’s work aligns with the University’s expertise in workforce learning and development. Bellevue University is recognized as a nationwide leader in adult learning, and currently provides talent-forward organizations with a variety of for-credit and non-credit education programs and services.

The term “human capital” was popularized by Gary Becker, a Nobel Laureate and economist from the University of Chicago, and Jacob Mincer, who was considered one of the fathers of modern labor economics. Together, they expanded the concept of human capital to include the knowledge, habits, social attributes and more embedded within the ability to perform labor and produce economic value. Human capital is tied closely to the human resources field.

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