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.