Staff Development Program Completes First Year

Staff Development Advisory Committee member,
Linda Post, shows off the computer lab on the
fourth floor of Meriam Library. Staff
Development assisted with the funding of this
lab. (photo Kelly Tingley)
Under the leadership of Jim Jacob, dean, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, and in accordance with the University Strategic Plan, Priority #2, the University Staff Development Committee was formed in fall 1995 to begin the process of analysis and needs assessment for the staff development program. The committee submitted this information to President Esteban in a document entitled "Staff Development at California State University, Chico: A Report to the President."

Following his commitment in spring 1996 to set aside $150,000 for staff development, President Esteban asked Vice Provost Biechler to identify a coordinator and an advisory committee for staff development. At that time, the president also indicated that the staff development resources should be used primarily to support the Strategic Plan of the Future. The president's announcement specifically encouraged managers and supervisors to "(a) take professional development accomplishments into consideration in performance reviews and in PBSI recommendations, and (b) to provide reasonable amounts of time, during work hours, for training and development opportunities." The Strategic Plan, developed under the leadership of Provost Scott McNall, includes a commitment to "work to institute and fund systematic staff development and renewal plans in each unit of the University."

Kelly Tingley was appointed coordinator of Staff Development in January 1997 and then the Advisory Committee was assembled. The first task of the Advisory Committee was to recommend a set of guidelines for the staff development program.

The needs assessment conducted by the University Staff Development Committee had indicated substantial campus demand for training in computer software programs. Accordingly, the first expenditure of resources was $31,000 allocated to Information Resources to upgrade a computer lab for training. By mid-June1997, Information Resources had offered seventy-one computer training workshops attended by staff employees.

From February to the end of the 1996/97 academic year, Staff Development sponsored four training workshops attended by eighty-two staff members. The topics of the workshops were conflict resolution (Bev Ford), stress management (Laurie Wermuth), and business writing (Casey Huff).

In July, 1997 a three-part workshop on professional telephone skills was offered twice by Kelly Tingley. Video tapes purchased for the workshops have been used by staff unable to attend the workshops and continue to be available for check-out. In addition, many staff have used the tapes to train student employees. The telephone skills workshop was also offered to the Janet Levy Center in response to a request from that office.

Another business writing workshop was offered by Casey Huff, in August, and dealt with report drafting, responding to questions and complaints, and handling other correspondence. Also in August a workshop on hiring students and work study was presented by Steve Irving and Annette Edwards.

In September, Bev Ford, Dennis Frazier, Don Graham, and Mike Minard offered a workshop on violence in the workplace. Workshops offered from September through December 1997 include advanced business writing (Casey Huff), telephone skills, the Internet (both by Gloria Branson), self-talk skills for thriving under pressure (Walt Schafer), coping with negativity and declining morale in the workplace (Marv Megibow), and dealing with difficult people (Clare Roby). All of the workshops have been taught by volunteers and are thus presented at minimal expense.

Since its inception, the Staff Development Program has received seven requests for funding individual professional development projects. In each case, the Advisory Committee has made a recommendation to Vice Provost Biechler based upon established guidelines. Three have been funded for a total expenditure of $435.
Walt Shafer presenting "Self-Talk"
Skills for Thriving Under Pressure.

Additional workshops and training opportunities are being planned for 1998. Other than this, the principal goal for 1998 is the development of an electronic calendar to include all campus professional development opportunities for staff.
Casey Huff presenting the Advanced
Business Writing Workshop for Staff

The largest effort to date of the Staff Development Program is scheduled for January 15 and 16, 1998. The Staff Development Program and the vice president for Business and Finance will co-sponsor a workshop entitled "People Skills." The facilitator is Tom Champoux, a nationally recognized speaker and co-founder of the Effectiveness Institute in Redmond, Washington. Sixty staff members, chosen by lot from what is expected to be a much larger number of applicants, will attend the workshop.

A survey will be conducted throughout the campus in early spring which will help to determine future Staff Development workshops for staff.

Vice Provost Biechler, Coordinator Kelly Tingley, and the Advisory Committee are extremely pleased that President Esteban has made a commitment to continue support and funding for the Staff Development Program "for years to come."

Kelly Tingley, coordinator, Staff Development and Michael Biechler, vice provost, Human Resources

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