Feb 29, 2012
By Ashley Anderson
The Office of Human Resources is preparing the second cohorts for the Diversity Essentials and Classified Professional Development programs.
Members of the first Classified Development Plan (CDP) cohort will graduate spring quarter and plans for the second cohort are now underway.
The second cohort, which will begin fall semester, will incorporate changes made from current participants' suggestions. One of the principal changes to the program will be class selection.
Previously participants were required to take 10 classes (eight were scheduled with their cohort). This time the class selections are arranged in blocks, with the first half of classes taken together as a group. At the end of the first block, participants are given the option to continue the program and take three additional classes with the general student population.
Teri Combs, a program coordinator for both the CDP and Diversity Essentials Program, thinks that the early integration with the general student population will be beneficial for both cohort members and traditional students.
"Ideally both groups will benefit. There will be people with experience in the workforce asking questions and giving examples, as well as traditional students giving their perspective," said Combs. "We think it will be the best of both worlds." Another adjustment to the program will be the number of classes taken. Participants of the first cohort were required to take one class each quarter for 10 consecutive quarters, finishing the program after 2.5 years. After the transition to semesters the number of classes will be reduced to six, allowing participants to complete the program after only two years.
Despite the reduction in the number of classes, the emphasis of the courses chosen will remain on practical skills for the workforce, including public speaking, writing and use of Microsoft Office.
"We want to emphasize skills we think everyone can benefit from," said Combs. "The classes focus on the things most people have to do at some point in their job, but applying them in a different way and at a higher level."
Members of the current program have noticed improvements in speaking, writing and comprehension skills. Some participants have even been inspired to start work on their bachelor's degrees.
"Before participating in the program I had not taken any classes at the university," said Shelley Barton, administrative associate for the Allen Student Help Center and member of the first cohort. "Now that we're finishing, I decided to get my bachelor's degree. I would not be doing this if it wasn't for the CDP."
The CDP is designed to help classified staff meet the changing needs of technology, higher education, and position responsibilities with more knowledge, flexibility and skills, as well as opportunities for upward mobility. The price of books and general fees are covered by the program. Participants will receive a professional development certificate upon completion.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the second CDP cohort, more information is available here.
Second Diversity Essentials begins this spring
Following a successful trial run, the Diversity Essentials program is planning a second cohort during spring quarter. Evaluations from the first cohort indicated that 95 percent of participants would recommend the program to others.
Both the Diversity Essentials program and the CDP are ways for the University to provide professional development opportunities to its employees.
"Diversity Essentials enforces the value of a diverse workplace and learning environment," said Linda Lonsinger, chief human resource officer. "A diverse university environment encourages a creativity of ideas and perspectives."
The Diversity Essentials program seeks to increase multicultural diversity understanding by facilitating interaction between University staff members as well as members of the Athens community.
"We want to bring the community and the university together to increase their networks and build relationships," said Combs. "We hope everyone walks away with the ability to walk in someone else's shoes and use that information."
The cohort will consist of 30 members, divided into small groups to encourage conversation and relationship building. Following suggestions from previous participants, this cohort will focus more on discussion, rather than activities, allowing a deeper and richer understanding about a fewer number of topics.
The second cohort will feature members from the University Communications and Marketing, Human Resources and Classified Senate, in addition to various Athens City employees and representatives from the Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development (COAD), ACEnet, Diagnostic Hybrids and the Ohio University Credit Union.
More information about the Diversity Essentials program can be found here.