Jim Sweetwood

Thank you Dr. Long,

I appreciate you asking for my testimonial about my Human Relations experience. That experience continues to this day. The HR experience started for me in the middle 1970’s, when the HR Dept. was an independent program under the Provost. I was living in Alva, OK attending school at NWSU and had just completed my undergraduate degree in Social Work. I came to O.U. one day for an interview at the School of Social Work. Well, the person I was going to be interviewed by was not there and left no word. I had come all the way from Alva, OK and no one there would see me. I then learned of the HR Dept. from a friend and decided to enroll in the program and move to Norman.

The HR Experience changed my life forever. My advisor was Brandi Wood, who I owe a great deal. She knew how to lead me on my way to Self-Awareness, even though it was a very rough road. Looking inward may be the hardest thing a person can do. I bought the Philosophy that you cannot help others unless you know yourself. I had to work while pursuing my higher education. I became employed at Central State Hospital which is an institution for the mentally ill. This was in the 1970’s, when they were completing drug experiments on patients. Right away my HR education and my job were in direct conflict. The hospital was telling me “Don’t rock the boat,” and HR was saying be a “Change Agent.” This conflict took a toll on me. I wanted to quiet my pursuit of self-awareness, but Dr. Henderson encouraged me to continue. I am so glad I listened to his wisdom and encouragement. I completed the program and went to work for the State of Oklahoma and the Office of Juvenile Affairs.

I worked thirty six years with children, parents, law enforcement, Judges, DA’s, school personnel, and employers to name a few. I worked the entire time in Cleveland County with people and not in OKC with the bureaucrats. I saw many people trying to work with the people, but many failed. My HR training I feel was directly responsible for my success and longevity working for the community. It was so easy to be manipulated by the system and or the individuals that if you didn’t know who you are and what you’re doing, you become a victim.

It is hard to put into words what the HR experience means to me. I went through the program when it was new and having growing pains just like me at that time in my life. I feel the HR program and I grew up together.


Jim Sweetwood, MHR