Second institute offers more potential

Shawntaye Hopkins

Paula Newby still uses leadership skills she acquired last year at the first Staff Leadership Institute.

Newby, an administrative assistant at the Gordon Ford College of Business, said she also strengthened some relationships and gained some new friends.

The second Staff Leadership Institute began last month with another 20 participants.

The institute is a program for Western staff that offers workshops and speakers on various topics to promote leadership and personal and professional development.

A $500 fee is charged to each participant’s department.

Classes are held on the third Wednesday of every month throughout the school year, except December.

This month will be split with two topics: working with a team and priority and time management.

Staff Council Chair Elizabeth Paris said the council teamed with Human Resources and Continuing Education to create a leadership program geared toward staff.

“We wanted to be able to provide a program that would benefit any staff member,” Paris said.

After several years of planning, the program was established last year.

Twenty staff members are chosen annually from applications describing the reasons they want to be involved.

Sharon Woodward, director of Continuing Education in the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach, said the staff council has a subcommittee that choses the institute participants.

She said the committee looks for applicants who are sincere about wanting to better themselves and do not have access to the skills learned at the institute through other sources.

“As with any new program, it’s a work in progress,” Woodward said.

She said she hopes the program will soon become a university budget item.

The program was presented to the administrative council last year, Woodward said.

“So far, I think it’s been a wonderful experience for the people involved,” she said.

Newby said she saw the program as an opportunity to enhance her job skills and become a better employee.

“It made a difference in the way I do my work,” she said.

Newby said she particularly enjoyed the communication and team-building workshops.

Vivian McKinney, an application programmer and analyst and a current participant, said she looks forward to completing the program.

When the program ends in May, an informal graduation ceremony will be held and certificates will be given.

McKinney said she didn’t know what to expect from the institute at first, but she’d heard others speak highly of the program.

“I enjoyed the first session quite a bit,” she said.

Reach Shawntaye Hopkins at [email protected]