Carnegie Mellon is a place of high expectations. Championing the success of our fellow staff members is at the core of our role and program mission. Framing professional development in a comprehensive manner allows each staff member to access and utilize the information most relevant to his or her position. It allows supervisors and managers to augment their engagement with their staff members by connecting them to needed information and opportunities.
Encouraging staff members to take ownership for their own professional development is critical to advancing abilities and knowledge. Our framework pushes the boundaries of traditional “workshop” delivery and encourages staff members to go beyond the walls of the classroom and find ways to routinely invest in their professional growth and development.
After each Professional Development Services session, participants receive a course supplement that provides suggested strategies on how to continue learning and apply the concepts discussed during the session. Through this focused approach, we hope participants will integrate these strategies into their daily work and build upon their capabilities.
Possibly one of the easiest and least time consuming ways to expand one’s knowledge is through reading. Whether on a topic that directly relates to a task at hand or exposes the staff member to a new way of thinking, taking a few moments to read every week is a great way to expand one’s knowledge base.
Every staff member has access to the CMU libraries, and the library staff have developed a guide for staff members to assist in identifying and accessing information related to their daily work. This guide opens the door to countless resources available to staff, from reviewing one of the recommended readings to completing a targeted search.
There are a variety of programs, workshops, conferences and lectures available to staff on our campus. Carnegie Mellon is a decentralized environment and as such it is sometimes a challenge to know about the opportunities available. Streamlining these events through our Learning Partners page allows staff to easily find out what is offered and identify the opportunities that are most relevant to them and will aid them in their work and professional growth.
Online resources are another great way to access information that supports one’s success. Using resources like lynda.com and FocusU enables staff members to explore topics of relevance conveniently at their desk. Online resources including webinars and web courses can bring a topic and subject matter expert directly to the department or staff member.
Applying what is learned during a workshop or seminar is not always as easy as it seems. Quite often the handouts, binders and great ideas get shelved as the staff member returns to his or her work environment. Finding time to incorporate a new idea or test a new skill can be difficult. However, identifying ways to apply knowledge or a new skill to a relevant work situation is one of the most effective ways of advancing the new skill. Providing the avenue for the design of practical application activities allows the staff member to identify a relevant way in which to incorporate the content directly into his or her work.
Think About It
Reflection is a great tool to use for professional development. Simply taking a moment to think about how to approach a situation and ask a series of questions is extremely beneficial in decision-making and problem-solving. Reflecting on a situation after the fact allows the individual to assess what went well, what did not go well and how to improve in the future. This process is very helpful in supervisory situations.
Engage with Others
We learn from one another. We learn from staff members who have faced a challenge before us or who come in with a new idea. Exchanging thoughts, offering support and sharing best practices allow us to grow in our own skills by learning from one another. By facilitating opportunities for individuals to connect, encourage each other, share experiences and explore new ways of thinking we strengthen ourselves and our collective capabilities.