Wake Forest University was honored to host representatives from institutions of Higher Education from across North America for the 4th Annual Professional and Organizational Development Conference. The event, which ran from February 16th to February 18th, was organized by the Professional Development Center. Participants attended sessions, networked, and shared best practices related to staff and faculty development in Higher Education.
Festivities began on Sunday night with a welcome reception and dinner in the Autumn Room in Reynolda Hall. Previous attendees welcomed new-comers and offered a glimpse into what they could expect over the next few days. The group then moved to Farrell Hall, home of the Wake Forest University School of Business, for introductions and “The PDC Story.” This session offered a brief glimpse into how the Professional Development Center at Wake Forest grew from a one-person unit into the department it is today.
Monday morning began with a welcome from Wake Forest University’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Carmen Canales, before moving to the first session led by Anne Mayer, Director of Employee and Organizational Development at Texas A&M University. For the 2013 conference, Anne spoke on the Leadership Development Programs offered at Texas A&M. This year her session was titled “Oh No. . . Not Another Boring New Employee Orientation!” Texas A&M employs an innovative on-boarding process that incorporates an exciting New Employee Welcome (NEW). The NEW introduces staff to campus life and Aggie culture.
Dr. Jackie Greenlee, Director of Organizational Development at Guilford Technical Community College, offered clear data and a definitive process during her session entitled “Successful Succession Planning.” Jackie’s findings, direct from her dissertation research, could assist many higher educations institutions in becoming more aware of developing talent from within and planning for the future.
After lunch, attendees were offered insight into Leadership Development in a session led by Tamara Sole, Director of Employee Development at the University of Virginia. Many leadership functions were gathered and discussed and a leadership timeline was offered that ranged from the “Great Man” theory of leadership to shared/distributed leadership.
Online training and development is a fast-growing trend in Higher Education and can be difficult to do well. Kathy Bryant, Senior Director of HR Communications and Talent Development at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, led the group through her department’s experience in building and offering online training for their campus. She spoke to the virtues of teamwork leading to success and the potential pitfalls that surround bad equipment.
The afternoon concluded with a Roundtable Discussion. Effectively, a “lightning round” of questions posed by attendees and answered by attendees. Topics included how to work with groups with generational differences, membership and participation in professional organizations, train-the-trainer programs, learning management systems, relevant books and articles for this profession, and more. For dinner, groups went out to explore the eateries of Winston-Salem and continued the conversations that and sharing that began earlier in the day.
After Tuesday morning’s breakfast, Nathan Strong, Director for Organizational and Professional Development, and Nick Elzy, Organizational and Professional Development Consultant, shared the partnering model that they use at the University of South Carolina during a session entitled, “Strategic Partnerships that meet Customer’s Genuine Needs.” They described the various individuals on their campus who have become champions for the work that they do and how those champions have proved to be invaluable to the success of the department.
The conference closed with one final Roundtable Discussion and a wrap-up that led to discussion regarding further communication among attendees and information-gathering for next year’s conference.
The Professional Development Center Staff are extremely grateful for all of the conference attendees for sharing their knowledge and best practices.
“We gained a tremendous amount of insight from the presentations and discussions and the hospitality was extraordinary. I think the bigger group really changed the dynamic and added a lot of richness to the exchange. We cannot wait until next year!”
~Nathan Strong, University of South Carolina
“I enjoyed the networking, hearing about other programs and sharing some of our best practices here at GTCC relative to succession planning management. I look forward to hearing about the 2015 conference.”
~Jackie Greenlee, Guilford Technical Community College
“I had a great time learning and making connections and am looking forward to next year.”
~Lisa Adams-Verge, Bucknell University
Institutions in Attendance: Bucknell University, Case Western Reserve University, Colorado College, Colorado State University, Elon University, Forsyth Techical Community College, Guilford Technical Community College, North Carolina State University, South Piedmont Community College, Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas, University of Guelph, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, University of North Dakota, University of Richmond, University of South Carolina, University of Virginia, Wake Technical Community College, Wilfred Laurier University, Wor-Wic Community College
Higher Education Partners in Attendance: PeopleAdmin, RTI International