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CCU Atheneum: Participants in CCU's leadership development program take part in different enrichment activities to work together and serve the local community. This photo was taken after they cleaned up the beach at Waties Island. From left, Lauren Koonce, Lisa Bellamy,Jordan Edwards, Caroline Smith,Tammy Parker, Jason Aiesi, Tim Burke, Sherri Restauri, Rosemary Burke, John Marcis and Dennis Edwards.
Participants in CCU's leadership development program take part in different enrichment activities to work together and serve the local community. This photo was taken after they cleaned up the beach at Waties Island. From left, Lauren Koonce, Lisa Bellamy,Jordan Edwards, Caroline Smith,Tammy Parker, Jason Aiesi, Tim Burke, Sherri Restauri, Rosemary Burke, John Marcis and Dennis Edwards.

CCU creates unique leadership development program for faculty and staff

by Megan Foster
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Leadership development is a crucial part of employee and overall success at Coastal Carolina University, according to Lamonica Yates and Kristin Cymbor. They felt the need to create a unique leadership program open to all CCU employees, regardless of position, and their creation has been extremely beneficial to those who have participated thus far.

Yates, the director of training and development, and Cymbor, training manager, developed the Leadership Institute for Managers, Supervisors and Emerging Leaders, which focuses on building core leadership and management competencies inside and outside of the workplace. The idea to create this training program began in May 2016 and by July, Track I of the Leadership Institute was up and running.

Their goal was to create an effective program that was entirely different from any other leadership development course ever offered to CCU faculty/staff. The Leadership Institute consists of three different tracks, each based on concepts of leadership. The first track is leading self, the second is leading others and the third is leading change. Each track builds upon the next to establish a strong foundation of leadership.

During Track I, participants learn about self-development, communication and performance development. They also work on role-specific knowledge and skills. Yates said that during her time at CCU she had seen employees face many workplace conflicts and challenges because of a lack of self-awareness. To address this, Track I was created with a strong focus on self-reflection and awareness.

Caroline P. Smith, a participant and a facilitator in the Leadership Institute, said, “Each session offered as part of Track I presented me with opportunities for self-reflection, to get out of my comfort zone, to meet other University employees and develop relationships, and to learn about other programs and processes at the University.”

While attending the program sessions, Yates said participants developed strong relationships with one another and talked about how excited they were for Track II to begin, according to Yates.

In order to successfully complete Track I, faculty/staff members were responsible for attending three best practices courses, like “HR Policies You Need to Review Now,” “Legal and Effective Interviewing Skills” and others. Participants also had to complete five professional development courses, such as “Building Relationships by Respecting Differences,” “Listen Up!” and others. Yates said there are two different categories of courses because each one has its own purpose. The best practices sessions are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills and abilities of the participants in the areas of CCU policies, practices and procedures; the professional development sessions aim to create a more effective and engaging training model with practices that are easily transferable to all aspects of life. Each session is offered multiple times to ensure that participants are able to attend the sessions they are most interested in. The only real requirement for the program, according to Yates, is that participants come willing to engage in all session activities and to enjoy the experience.

Jordan Edwards, assistant manager of ticketing and patron services for Wheelwright Auditorium, said her favorite parts of Track I were all the activities and opportunities to collaborate with faculty/staff members she would have never had a chance to interact with otherwise. “This training was a great opportunity for me to learn and grow as a leader,” she said.

The program is more than just training sessions. Each month, participants take part in different enrichment activities to work together and serve the local community. They cleaned up the beach at Waties Island, served food at the Shepherd’s Table (a local soup kitchen), volunteered at the Waccamaw Animal Rescue Mission and more.

Smith, who is the University editor in the Office of University Communication, is one of 128 graduates of Track I. Like others, she felt more capable of doing her job and found a better understanding of herself as a leader after completing Track I.

“The training institute starts the development process with Track I: Leading Self, which to me makes sense, because who can lead others if they don’t have a good grasp on who they are themselves and what kind of leader they are (or want to be),” she said. Smith also facilitates one of the professional development courses in Track I, “Writing Skills for Professionals.”

Track I is currently offered in the spring and fall, as well as a fast-track option in the summer. Track II will become available annually beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year while Track III will begin annually in 2018. Eventually, all tracks will be available throughout the year.

The Leadership Institute does involve a time commitment away from the office but the advantage is that there is no travel and no cost involved. It is practically on-the-job leadership development. Participants are asked to get their supervisor’s signature on their registration form to confirm his or her support of their decision to enter and complete the program. For those who are not signed up for the entire course but still want to try out a session, the only requirement is to sign up through the online registration.

Applicants do not have to currently serve in a supervisory capacity to be eligible to participate in the Leadership Institute, and any CCU faculty/staff members are encouraged to participate. “This is an opportunity to learn and grow with other people across the campus,” Cymbor said.

To register for the Leadership Institute for Managers, Supervisors and Emerging Leaders or for more information, contact Lamonica L. Yates at monica@coastal.edu or 843-349-2099 or Kristin Cymbor at kncymbor@coastal.edu or 843-349-6634. The Fall/Spring Institute Calendar will be available and sent by email to all faculty and staff in August with a tentative kick-off date of Sept. 14, 2017.

 

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