Human Resource directors from the six CONNECT institutions combine efforts and expertise to host a professional development series designed to enhance the leadership skills and competencies of mid-level professionals. The program curriculum focuses on topics such as communication skills, diversity awareness, conflict resolution, collective bargaining, labor relations, and performance management. A cohort of 45 participants from CONNECT institutions and other colleges attend eight, day-long sessions which rotate among the six CONNECT campuses. Both in-house expertise as well as outside consultants are on hand to provide high-quality professional development.
In support of its mission, CONNECT engages in the sharing of institutional resources and expertise. The Collaborative Leadership Development Program is a model example of such a collaborative effort. A discussion between statewide human resource directors revealed the common challenge of developing leadership and management skills for mid-level professionals. It was agreed that to offer high-quality, affordable, and convenient professional development it was best to share resources and expertise. Collaborative efforts led to the creation of a professional development seminar series for mid-level managers that focused on enhancing leadership skills and competencies specific to higher education. Training sessions are held once per month from October through May and the locations rotate among the six CONNECT campuses. Seminars are conducted by a combination of in-house human resource experts, in-house counsel, and outside consultants.
Objective(s) of Activity
- To provide high quality professional development focused specifically on leadership and management skills for mid-level professionals in higher education
- To design a curriculum that would include communication skills, diversity awareness, conflict resolution and problem solving, dealing with difficult employees, basics of collective bargaining and labor relations, and performance management
- To build a cohort of professionals from across southeastern Massachusetts who share common professional development needs specific to leadership in the higher education environment
- To develop a model for collaborative leadership which could be replicated by other regional institutional groups
Impact/results of the Activity
- The creation of a professional development seminar series that is high in quality, affordable for participating institutions and convenient for attendees
- The program is structured using approximately 40% in-house expertise and 60% outside consultants, resulting in a cost of only $400 per participant ($50 per day for 8 days of sessions).
- Program was so attractive that CONNECT consented to open the series to other institutions interested in participating. Outside institutions included Bunker Hill Community College, Roxbury Community College, and Massachusetts College of Art.
- First cohort 2004-2005 consisted of 38 participants and 45 more have already begun the 2008-2009 series.
- First cohort was so successful in terms of value for participants that selection for the program has become competitive.
why program/activity is considered a best practice?
This program provides a model for collaboration and sharing of institutional resources and expertise to provide first-rate training on an affordable basis. Because in-house consultants offer training in conjunction with outside experts, and because the program is housed on the campuses of the CONNECT Partnership institutions, the cost of this high-quality training is kept to a minimum. Furthermore, this collaborative effort results in a highly relevant seminar series that specifically addresses the professional development needs identified by human resources directors across the state. The high level of interest generated by the first and subsequent cohorts clearly indicates long-term sustainability and potential for growth.