Carnegie Mellon University

A Day in the Life

The A Day in the Life shadowing program provides staff members at Carnegie Mellon University with the opportunity to experience the institution through the lens of another role, engage in idea-sharing with another department, form relationships with colleagues throughout the institution, and gain a deeper understanding of the many ways we all support and advance the mission of the university.

Through intentionally pairing participating individuals and departments, the program provides opportunities for CMU staff members to ...

— Expand their perspective of the university's culture and mission

— Develop a deeper understanding of the work being done across the institution

— Build relationships, camaraderie and a spirit of knowledge-sharing

— Apply knowledge about another department to their current position

— Engage in professional development

Participants will have opportunities to set expectations and goals, share insights into the work and responsibilities of the host and hosting department, and reflect on what they have learned through the experience. Program events also include opportunities for all program participants to join together to initiate and celebrate participation in the program. Participants will be provided with guidelines and resources to help maximize the experience.

The six-week program consists of approximately six hours of meetings and events:

Kickoff Event (one hour)

 Initial Meeting (one hour)

 Two Shadowing Meetings (one hour each)

 Closing Meeting (one hour)

 Wrap-Up Event (one hour),

Information for Shadowers

The Shadower is the individual engaged in observing a colleague and another department. Each participant may only shadow one individual and department per program cycle, and participants will be matched based on solicited rankings and a “first come, first served” pairing process.

This is a unique opportunity for Shadowers to be immersed in the work of another department and gain and provide valuable insight. All Shadowers will be expected to:

— Be aware of and adhere to program dates and deadlines.

— Obtain permission to participate in the program from their supervisor.

— Initiate outreach to their Host once paired to establish a timeline and meeting dates.

— Share a summary of the experience with the Host and Hosting Department to articulate what was learned through the experience and provide feedback/insights.

Through the shadowing experience, Shadowers can:

— Articulate the work and mission of another department and how it fits into the institution’s mission

— Gain valuable information about the position and department they shadow

— Build relationships and strengthen their network throughout the campus community

— Observe and build new professional skills to enhance their job performance

— Have an opportunity to provide input and feedback to another department

— Develop their career by exploring another field — or deepening their understanding of their own field

— Learn best practices through the experience of another department

Information for Hosting Departments

The Hosting Department is the division, department or office being observed.

The following suggestions are provided to help the Hosting Department structure the experience and support the objectives of the program:

— Engage the Shadower in a way that provides exposure to information, processes and the scope of the department's work (with the exception of information that may be confidential). This may be done through sharing the department’s mission and objectives, reviewing documents and marketing materials (e.g. organizational charts, handbooks, websites, etc.), and/or clarifying the department’s role in fulfilling the broader university mission.

— Develop a shadowing plan that allows for an immersive experience for the Shadower but that presents minimal disruption to the day-to-day work of the office.

— Invite the Shadower to attend meetings and events that will contribute to the their understanding of the department.

Through the shadowing experience, the Hosting Department will:

— Gain a new perspective on the work and mission of the department through the eyes of the Shadower.

— Receive a copy of the Shadower’s summary which will include any feedback or insights the Shadower gained through the experience.

— Receive additional feedback obtained through the Shadower’s post-program survey.

Information for Hosts

The Host role has two major functions: (1) to serve as the primary role/individual being observed, and (2) to organize and coordinate opportunities for the Shadower to learn more about the Hosting Department. Participation in this role is not contingent upon a particular grade or position; any staff member at the institution may apply to be a Host.

The Host has a unique opportunity to highlight the important aspects of their job and how their role fits within the department. In order to create an immersive experience for the Shadower, the Host may:

— Review their job description and compile a list of skills, responsibilities and major projects in anticipation of being shadowed.

— Solicit feedback from others in the department to identify any insights or feedback they hope to gain from the Shadower throughout this experience, and share these objectives during the initial meeting.

— Work with directors/department chairs and colleagues to identify appropriate meetings, activities, and/or projects for the Shadower to observe during the shadowing period. The Host should attempt to provide a range of activities and experiences that provide a thorough look into their position and the Hosting Department while being mindful of events or projects in which sensitive or confidential information might be revealed.

Through the shadowing experience, the Host will:

— Understand how his or her department is viewed and understood by another colleague.

— Gain a new perspective on his or her work and role through the eyes of the Shadower.

— Build relationships and networks throughout the campus community.

— Receive a copy of the Shadower’s summary which will include any feedback or insights the Shadower gained through the experience.

— Receive additional feedback obtained through the Shadower’s post-program survey.

The Committee

This program is co-sponsored by Staff Council and the Office of Human Resources.

Rebecca Cicco
Environmental Health & Safety

Liz Fox
College of Fine Arts Dean's Office

Sebastian Lacy
Mellon College of Science Dean's Office

Ena Miceli
Biological Sciences

Jason Schneider
Office of Human Resources

Jason Wagner
Tepper School of Business

Tom Wilk
SCS Computing