A President's Reflections

Investing in people

Posted on June 12, 2009

In just seven days I’ve been fortunate to witness three programs support the personal and/or professional development of staff members.

Last week there was a set of presentations from the recipients of our first mini-grants to University Staff.  This modest program provides grants of up to $2500 to university staff members to develop a particular skill or talent unrelated to work.  A panel of peers reviews the proposals and sets the amounts and the only obligation is to do some kind of public presentation about how one used the funds.

Two people purchased digital cameras and shared their work.  Another bought a much better sewing machine and showed the qulted items she was now producing, connecting with a handcraft her now elderly mother once practiced.  Two staff members performed musical pieces, one on fiddle and another on piano.  It was a lovely hour in which we were all reminded that our colleagues possess a wealth of talents and abilities that we often don’t see in the routine exercise of their jobs.

The second event was the PEP Graduation, the culminating event for staff members who have engaged in a year long program of personal and professionald evelopment.   While they all came awaywith new skills and a broader campus netowrk, I was struck in their comments by the powerful personal transofrmation many described.  some found their voice professionally and even personally, others gained confidence, and some described a newfound ability to see and appreciate different perspectives and resolve conflicts in new ways.  That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Finally, today on campus we had our second NH Women’s Leadership Summit, a gathering of 600 women from all walks of life participating in workshops and seminars and hearing great speakers.  A large number of women staff members participated and as I prepared my welcoming remarks, I was pleased to realize that:

  • Four of the eight members of our management team are women;
  • Four of six deans are women;
  • All of the directors of our satellite centers with one exception are women;
  • The President of the Faculty Senate is a woman.

We have to do better with our Board of Trustees, but still, this is a pretty good state of affairs.  In addition, our work on equity has ensured that women are paid on par with men in comprable jobs.

Programs like the ones above, our expanded tuition exchange program, our very large internal tuition program, and the myriad workshops and program put on by Human Resources and Development all speak to a very substantial and right thinking emphasis on staff development and one for which I’m really very proud to be associated.

4 thoughts on “Investing in people

  1. Jill Teeters says:

    Paul –

    As a graduate of the 2005 PEP cohort, I can attest to the life-changing power of this program! We are very fortunate to have an institutional professional development opportunity such as this. I attended PEP graduation last week and have helped coordinate the 5 year PEP reunion which will take place this week.

    The University Staff grant presentations were wonderful to see. We have such creative and talented people here at the university and it was nice to see another side of our colleagues.

    I attended the WLS last week with several member of our team. It was an amazing event — great speakers, great dialog and great networking. Hope we can have it back on campus again next year.

    Thanks for all your support of these transformative opportunities!

  2. Paul Leblanc says:

    You’re welcome, but in the case of each program there has been a champion or champions who really have made their program a success. Theyd eserve all the credit!

  3. Jill Teeters says:

    Here, here! 🙂

  4. Jill Trombley says:

    I would also like to echo Jill’s sentiments.

    Although I was not able to see the staff grant presentations(looks like I really missed out!), I just graduated from the PEP cohort and attended the WLS. Investing in people is a truly worthwhile endeavor. Professional (and personal) development opportunites like the ones outlined add quality and value to our staff which results in better preformance beyond these immediate opportunities for growth.

    As a staff member I have gained new ideas, a better connection to the SNHU community, insight into my own workstyle and an understanding of my colleagues as well as have had the opportunites to brainstorm and share best practices. I have noticed that programs like these also seem to generate enthusiasm and desire to achieve greater success in the workplace.

    I must agree that we are very fortunate to be able to have these opportunities!

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