For some Tech faculty and staff, summer is a little less hectic than the rest of the year. So, the coming months may be a good time to take a self-development or self-care course.
“There are a lot of learning opportunities on campus that people either don’t know about or don’t take advantage of,” said Bryan Harber, training generalist with Workplace Learning and Professional Development.
Last year, as part of Employee Learning Week in December, Harber created the online Campus Learning Directory, a curation of learning and development opportunities available across campus for faculty and staff. Sponsored by the Association for Talent Development, a national organization, Employee Learning Week is an awareness campaign highlighting the important connection between learning and achieving organizational results. The Workplace Learning and Professional Development team hosts events for faculty and staff every year in support of this effort.
Harber said that he and his counterparts around the globe often hear employees lament that, “My team/department/company doesn’t offer learning opportunities.” So, the Campus Learning Directory started as a brainstorming session to identify all of the things that happen on campus.
“We started with Health Initiatives, and the Be Well series that Human Resources does, and other health-related programming such as CRC swimming classes or intramurals,” Harber said. “Obviously, we included our team — Workplace Learning and Professional Development — on the list because we offer manager and employee development classes, programs, and other resources. And, we started thinking about other groups on campus that do similar activities.”
Harber and his colleagues created a laundry list of learning opportunities that just kept growing. To make the directory easy to use, they grouped the offerings and campus departments into six categories: Professional Development; Health and Well-being; Academic/Research; Creative; Service to Others; and Team Development. There are a few offices or units that show up more than once — for example, the Library does because it loans books and also offers classes.
Learning opportunities run the gamut from swimming lessons at the Campus Recreation Center, to pottery-making, to writing courses.
But Harber said, “It’s not always about sitting in a classroom and having someone talk to me. Sometimes it’s, ‘What can I do on my own?’ That’s how places like Paper and Clay or the Museum of Papermaking appeared on the list. You can go and learn how to knit, or how to throw and paint a pot, or how to make paper. You can go to the Invention Studio and do 3-D printing as an employee. You can do laser etching. There are really interesting and cool things available.”
Many of the classes are free or have a nominal fee. Employees can attend a class as an individual, or a whole team can take a class together.
“Granted, if your department has the budget, you can go off campus to a workshop or a conference. But if that’s not possible, look at all of the things you have available to you. And you don’t have to leave campus to do it,” Harber said.
Workplace Learning and Professional Development has a multitude of offerings designed for manager and leadership development, and general competencies for professional success. Programs such as MentorTech and Professional Development Circles, both launched this year, have been met with high demand. The team also produces a podcast series called Interruptions that explores various issues faced by managers and employees.
Regularly scheduled classes facilitated by members of the Workplace Learning and Professional Development team are held on a host of topics. One of the most popular classes is POWER of Writing, created by Training Generalist Rachel Watts.
“And, The Four Ethical Corners: How to Make and Defend Ethical Decisions in the Workplace is very popular because of the annual compliance campaign,” Harber said. The daylong class is requested by various offices across campus and taught by Instructional Technologist Travis Waugh.
To view the Campus Learning Directory, visit pe.gatech.edu/wlpd/resources/campus-learning-directory.