Newman University was recently awarded the Kansas Leadership Center (KLC) Leadership Transformation Grant to provide professional development opportunities to university staff through leadership training and development.
Staff members will be offered leadership training courses through the KLC and after attending, will be urged to help in the efforts of continuing leadership education with others at the university.
Director of Career Services Melody Head led the grant application efforts in both 2017 and 2018. “The reason I was going after it is because there is a lack of professional development for staff,” she said.
2018 is the first year the grant has been awarded to the university and Head looks forward to the positive effects that will come from this leadership opportunity.
The application process included answering several questions related to the need for this training and what benefits the organization would gain from it.
After writing most of the grant, Head turned to Director of Grants Jill Wheeler for final edits. Wheeler is largely in charge of making sure the grant requirements are met throughout the year. Requirements include setting goals and showing progress toward those goals, and identifying barriers and learning how to overcome them, along with mid-year and end-of-year reports.
Wheeler and Head are part of a six-member core team. All team members must complete three training sessions and attend coaching sessions with the KLC, guide staff through their training time and also take part in the ongoing process of the helping staff develop leadership skills.
Head purposefully looked at various departments and levels of employees when assembling the core team. Along with Head and Wheeler, the team is comprised of Human Resource Benefit Specialist Katie Link, Vice President for University Advancement J.V. Johnston, Academic and International Advisor Ami Larrea and Associate Athletic Director Joanna Pryor.
Each core team member will attend three training sessions: Your Leadership Edge, Lead for Change and Equip to Lead, as well as meet with other core team members and staff in training, and work to continue leadership education at Newman.
The grant will allow up to 40 staff members to take part in the training. However, after the core team members attend the Equip to Lead session, they hope to use KLC principles in campus training sessions for staff that were not able to attend any training sessions.
Improving internal communications is a major goal for the leadership training opportunity.
“It’s just a huge frustration for staff in knowing the processes of how things should work and not being able to get that to the next level where changes can be made,” said Head. “It was my hope that we would receive training so we could figure out how to communicate better.”
Head is hoping staff become more confident through the training and learn to move conversations and drive decision-making.
“The hope is that the core team will meet with everyone that has attended training and get their feedback as to what they saw through the training and then hopefully we will come up with some commonalities and be able to try to organize and meet that challenge,” said Head.
There is a possibility the grant request will be resubmitted next year so more staff members can benefit from the training.
Head said, “Just being able to communicate with each other, to be in the same room with different ideas and be able to hear all the ideas and then come to a consensus, I think that would be wonderful. I’m hoping that they will give us the tools to teach us.”
The training will last only a few short days but the goal is to continue making progress long after the training is completed.