by Bridget M. Rohrer
New to the University of La Verne this year are the staff development workshops that Oris Barber, director of Human Resources, has developed. The workshops are aimed primarily at regular permanent employees, but they can be attended by any faculty member or student worker as well.
“This is the very first time that we have done this,” said Barber. “While everyone who attends these workshops are learning, so are we.”
The workshops for fall range from Professional Supervision Skills to Stress Management to WordPerfect 5.1. Some of the workshops have a small fee and others are free. They are for the staff, Barber emphasizes, and the money goes to those who are teaching the classes. No profits are made from this program, the money all goes back into the workshops themselves.
Some of the programs use videos that are produced by CareerTrack. These videos are of actual presentations and are more cost effective than sending staff members to seminars. To send staff members to seminars, there is a minimum number needed, transportation costs to cover and fees to pay, whereas with the videos, only the cost of the overhead must be covered.
Others are taught by ULV professors and are a little more personal.
“The turnout is picking up,” said Barber. “In the beginning there wasn’t a lot of interest, now as the word is getting out, people seem to be calling us much more.
“We plan to do another set of workshops in the spring. We try to find what interests people and fill that need,” he said.
One of the most successful workshops was the Employee Roundtable. At this workshop, employees gathered to speak their minds regarding current issues and questions they had. They asked questions as well as made suggestions. According to Barber, many of those who attended seemed to walk away with a number of ideas and questions answered.
A lot of universities have training programs such as this already established. Barber points out that Bruce Baron, former vice president of administration and finance, was helpful in establishing the staff development workshops.
“His interest and training from City College of New York was very influential in establishing this new program,” said Barber.
“He helped find the money for the surveys that we had collected a while back. Now we are able to use those surveys and better help our staff perform their jobs.”
At the end of each workshop, an evaluation is passed out to those who attended. The Human Resources Office is using these evaluations to learn if the workshops have been advantageous or a waste of time. Barber looks forward to next semester when they will have more knowledge of what the staff wants.
“We can only improve with the growing interest of our staff and faculty,” he said.
The next session, titled Professional Telephone Skills, is Nov. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon.