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Courses Enhance the Workplace

There’s been a dramatic change in USC’s employee development courses.

Over the past few years, professional development courses have come of age. While still offering such traditional courses as Word, Excel, and Adobe Photoshop, as well as Workplace English and Conversational Spanish, USC Professional Development now includes several certificate programs.

All courses are offered free to USC employees.

“Employee development is vital to the retention of valued employees and the successful functioning of our university,” writes Dennis F. Dougherty, senior vice president of administration, in a message to the university community.

Starting this fall, the following certificate programs are being launched: Supervision, Management, Human Resource Management, and Microsoft Office User Specialist in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

These certificate programs allow employees to package their professional development classes and skills into career path proficiencies, said Mary K. Campbell, director of professional development, risk management and career services.

“The Professional Development Department at USC is committed to bringing the sort of top-quality employee development programs that are consistent with the current best practices in our industry,” said Campbell. “Our job is to improve the experience and performance of all employees to optimize both our organizational functioning as well as employee well-being on the job.”

Plans are underway to offer additional certificate programs in order to broaden employee career options, including project management, professional office administration, professional executive management and professional writing.

Another change within professional development is the introduction of a performance improvement consulting service.

“In a nutshell,” Campbell said, “we can assess a department’s work performance needs and outline solutions designed to improve both individual and departmental effectiveness.” This partnership approach to employee development allows Professional Development to have a larger impact by working with an entire unit.

Possible interventions in such a consulting service include needs assessment, training and development workshops, executive coaching and follow-up support. Topics addressed include team building, conflict management, effective communication skills, how to give recognition and provide constructive feedback, and how to deal with performance problems.

A new computer-training classroom lets employees learn HTML code in order to create Web pages, and two levels of Web page creation and design.

The safety section includes such courses as laboratory safety, asbestos awareness, back safety, work-station ergonomics, emergency preparedness and an injury and illness prevention program.

And on selected Fridays, beginning in early October, brown bag lunchtime learning opportunities will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Denny Research Building. Topics to be addressed include Protecting Your Workspace, From the Front Gate to the Desktop; Women in Leadership; and Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft. No reservations are necessary for these get-togethers; simply show up and bring your lunch.

A 26-page brochure listing the courses went out to employees last week. To request a copy of the brochure, call (213) 740-5885.

Courses Enhance the Workplace

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