On March 21, nineteen University supervisors completed the pilot sessions of a new supervisor development training program from Human Resources. The six-month Supervisor Essentials Series both defines the expectation for a University supervisor as well as equips the participants with new management principles and skills.

Bernadette Costello, Director of Talent & Organizational Effectiveness for Human Resources, spearheaded the development of this training. She commented that the course gives supervisors “an opportunity to not just hear information, but really learn and develop skills to use the information and practices that are part of the curriculum.” The Series included peer coaching. Participants worked with another manager on campus, and, Costello said, “They learn to support each other in a coaching process in a way they can use with their employees.”

Throughout the Series, supervisors cover a wide range of topics, including managing performance, hiring, diversity and inclusion, problem-solving, project management, and recognition and appreciation. Each session uses case studies, assessments and readings to explore the topics in a much richer way.

Roger Mancastroppa, adjunct instructor of liberal arts and associate director of the Academic Skills Center, participated in the course. “Not only have I learned an extensive amount about the University’s protocols and procedures for the numerous roles of a supervisor, but also a deeper understanding of the praxis of facilitating the growth of professionals,” he commented. He also noted that “practice and reflection, not just discussion, created the opportunity for a deeper, richer learning” throughout the course.

Alaina Schneider, communications manager for the Office of Alumni and Career Services, also took the course. “We learned everything from how to navigate difficult conversations to how to show proper appreciation and recognition—both seemingly simple concepts, but, as we know, in action can often be arduous…I would highly recommend the series for every supervisor on campus (new or current).”

Mancastroppa found the cohort format of the classes to be beneficial in further developing peer relationships on campus. He commented, “We had the opportunity to grow as a group of professionals learning together, who now have a rapport and common knowledge that will only benefit the university. We need strong relationships among our staff to ensure that the backbone of the institution is well-nourished.” Schneider agreed, saying, “It was very helpful having fellow supervisors as partners through this process to bounce ideas off of and practice techniques.”

At the final session, the participants presented a Series Capstone Reflection, which reflected specific ways in how they have grown as a supervisor or achived a specific goal they developed at the start of the Series.

Human Resources will collect feedback and assess the program before making it available to all employees as a course.