Leadership development at UW-Stout

Action Project

Institution: University of Wisconsin-Stout
Submitted: 2002-09-23

Planned project kickoff date:
Target completion date:
Actual completion date:
A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:
Leadership development at UW-Stout
B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
The goals of this project are to increase the number of individuals who are interested in and prepared to assume leadership positions within UW-Stout, including program directors, department chairs, unit directors, and leadership positions in faculty/staff governance.
C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:
Primary Category: Leading and Communicating
D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:
During the past several years, there has been a decline in the interest of faculty and staff to assume leadership positions in their departments, units, colleges, or in faculty/staff governance groups.  There is also a lack of formal training and skills development for individuals who do agree to assume these positions. These issues were discussed by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council during the annual summer 2001 retreat and shared with the campus in the fall of 2001. Although this area has been an ongoing area of concern, the campus has not designed or deployed a systematic approach to leadership development.
E. List the organizational areas - -institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:
This project will involve faculty and staff in all areas of the campus; however training and development efforts directed at program directors and department chairs will be limited to the academic departments. Units such as the Human Resources Office, the Affirmative Action Office and the three division offices will be heavily involved in this project.
F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:
Critical processes encompass several human resources processes. Those that will be most affected include job design; employee hiring/orientation; employee mentoring; employee training and professional development; employee recognition and compensation; and succession planning.
G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):
UW-Stout would work through existing organizational and governance structures to keep the institution focused on this project.  Currently a number of units are involved in employee training and development; a taskforce made up of individuals from these units may be formed to develop a more comprehensive approach to leadership development
H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:
Number of job recruitment notices that include information about leadership development opportunities; number of individuals who attend leadership development programs; number of employees who participate in mentoring programs; employee satisfaction with leadership training and development opportunities
I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:
Number of individuals that apply for leadership positions; tenure of individuals in leadership positions; satisfaction level of individuals in leadership positions; supervisor, colleague and subordinate satisfaction with individuals in leadership positions.
J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):
Needs assessment conducted with targeted groups (chairs, program directors, senates, etc.)Update job descriptions for leadership roles (chairs, program directors, etc.)Review inconsistencies in release time/stipends and make recommendations2003-2004
Develop and pilot leadership mentoring programDevelop and pilot leadership training program/sImplement other types of activities based on results of needs assessments2004-2005
20% of all eligible employees participate in some type of leadership development program.Information about programs is included in faculty/staff recruitment materials.

Last Action Project Update: 2004-09-08
A. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.
Describe the past year’s accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.
Progress was made on each of the project goals including development and delivery of appropriate programming for the following:

a) Program Directors
During the first year of this project, a needs assessment survey was conducted with all undergraduate and graduate program directors. The results of the needs assessment were used to make significant changes in the freshman advisement system, beginning in the fall of 2003, which reduced workload significantly for undergraduate program directors.  The results were also used to develop professional development sessions for program directors that were delivered during the 2003-2004 academic year. A series of meetings on “Program Advisory Committees:  Best Practices and New Ideas,” was offered for all program directors, and a series of forums on the “e-Scholar Program for Graduate Students” was held for graduate program directors.  Both of these series were facilitated by the Provost and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. In addition, the Chancellor met with 16 program directors and their advisory committees during 2003-2004.
Work continued to refine position descriptions for program directors.  With the shift away from freshman advising, new emphasis will be placed on recruitment and retention of students.  Once these changes have been finalized, the Provost’s Office will work with the Colleges/Schools and Center for Assessment and Continuous Improvement to develop an orientation and structured training program for new program directors.

b) Department Chairs
  During the first year of this project, need assessment interviews were conducted with department chairs. During these interviews, the chairs identified several topics for professional and leadership development.  A committee then used this information to design a professional development series for department chairs – the Executive Edge – which was delivered during 2003-2004.  Topics for the series included a panel of experienced chairs offering advice on starting the academic year; a “nuts and bolts” session on budget, curriculum and course scheduling processes; a discussion on student engagement led by the Chancellor; and a session on human resource issues. Each session was well attended and highly rated by participants. The series will continue in 2004-2005.
  In addition to the Executive Edge series, the Chancellor’s Office sponsored an Ethics workshop for department chairs in September 2004 and a forum on the e-Scholar program in April 2004.  The Provost also sponsored a workshop for department chairs on the “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning” in January 2004.  In addition, six department chairs and faculty members interested in learning more about chairing an academic department attended the annual UW System workshop for department chairs in the fall of 2003.
  Finally, a UW-Stout Mentoring Website project was developed in 2003-04 as part of the UW System Sloan Project for Academic Career Advancement.  The site is administered through the Provost’s Office and coordinated by the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, The purpose of the UW-Stout Mentoring Website project is to cultivate leadership skills and communicate professional growth opportunities among faculty and staff.  The focus of the first phase of development is to provide information, networking opportunities, and convenient links to relevant personnel policies for current department chairs and program directors.  The site is organized around personnel topics of interest to all faculty and staff, and incorporates discussion forums.  The site is under construction, and set to launch in September, 2004.  The site is designed to be interactive, thus feedback from users will be sought, and users will have the opportunity to give feedback to the site administrators.  Face-to-face mentoring meetings will also be coordinated to further discuss issues and enhance networking.

c) Governance Groups
  During the first year of this project, a needs assessment survey was also conducted with members of the Faculty Senate and the Senate of Academic Staff. During the second year of the project, the results were shared with both Senates and the needs were prioritized.   In the spring of 2004, a UW-Stout professional development grant was developed and funded entitled “Leadership Training for ‘the Grass Roots.’” This project is designed to provide leadership training for faculty and staff who are part of the faculty governance structure, and to encourage new faculty and staff to participate in governance activities. The intended outcome of the project is to improve the effectiveness of governance at the department, College/School, and university levels. Through a series of workshops, which will begin in the fall of 2004, participants will develop professional and communication skills; will gain a better understanding of UW-Stout; and will develop their abilities to work in teams and to contribute more effectively to campus discussions.  

d) Other Leadership Development Activities
The campus continued and/or expanded numerous other leadership activities. Since 1995, the Provost’s Office has coordinated a mentoring program for new faculty women; during the 2003-2004, mentoring programs for academic and classified staff were deployed and a mentoring information website was established.  The Leadership and Professional Development Certificate program, conducted on campus by Jeff Russell and Associates, is beginning its fourth year. As of May, 2004, 84 employees, primarily academic and classified staff members, have completed this program and are now working in teams on a variety of improvement projects. This program is consistently rated high by participants.  When participants were asked to rate how likely they were to apply the information learned in their jobs, sessions received ratings between 8.3 and 9.2 (on a scale of 1 to 10). A new cohort of approximately 30 employees will begin the program in September 2004.
The EDGE (Employee Development, Growth and Enrichment) program, also in its fourth year, offers training for all employees on numerous practical topics (such as budgeting and purchasing procedures), and is especially valuable to those individuals who are new to their administrative or leadership positions. Each session is evaluated by the participants and the results are used to improve programming. At this time, there have been 725 enrollments in EDGE training programs (duplicated headcount). During the 2003-2004 year, participants rated the usefulness of information presented 4.12 (on a five-point scale) and the knowledge of the presenters was rated 4.41.
B. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.
Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project
Several individuals, groups and offices have been involved in this project including deans, program directors, department chairs, faculty senators, academic staff senators as well as all of the employees who participated in the various assessments and training programs. The primary offices involved in coordinating these initiatives include the Human Resources Office and the Provost’s Office.  To keep the campus focused on this initiative, periodic progress updates on this project were provided to several groups on campus including the Chancellor’s Advisory Council, the Provost’s Council, the Faculty Senate, the Senate of Academic Staff, and the various college councils.
C. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.
Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project
Although UW-Stout will officially retire this action project to move forward with new action projects identified through recent strategic planning efforts, initiatives in this area will continue as part of the campus culture of continuous improvement.  During 2004-2005 and in subsequent years, the campus will continue to offer, evaluate and improve focused leadership development opportunities for program directors, department chairs and governance groups. Extensive professional development opportunities will continue to be available for all faculty, academic staff and classified staff.
Metrics used to indicate the effectiveness of this project include participation rates; participant satisfaction with programs and with overall training and professional development opportunities; employee retention rates; the results of the annual governance evaluation; and number of employees that move into higher-level positions. These data are collected and reviewed annually by the Chancellor’s Advisory Council. The Chancellor’s Advisory Council also utilizes these data to update the campus-wide Training and Development plan every two years.
D. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

E. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
  What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?
There are two continuing challenges associated with this project including:

1). Program director turnover remains a concern. Approximately one-third of the program director positions turn over each year. On average, program directors remain in their positions for approximately three years, meaning an average undergraduate student will deal with at least two program directors during their time at UW-Stout.  Therefore, it is critical to clarify job descriptions and provide orientation and training for this group.

2). Because of budget reductions, workload for faculty and academic staff has increased over the past year. Release time allocations were reduced for some program directors, and other instructors have increased class sizes or are teaching additional sections. This has brought about increased concerns regarding workload and less time for professional development activities, including leadership development programs.
F. If you would like to discuss the possibility of AQIP providing you help to stimulate progress on this action project, explain your need(s) here and tell us who to contact and when?