Leadership Academy: CSUDH Managers Attend Professional Development Program
The Department of Human Resources Management at California State University, Dominguez Hills presented a six-month executive training program that was completed this summer by 10 faculty and staff members.
Titled “The Leadership Academy,” the twice-monthly sessions were conducted by both on- and off-campus trainers, including James Vigneau, vice president of human resources and labor relations, Farmer Brothers; Judy Shane, communication strategist and trainer, Shane Communication and Terri Rosenthal, founder, CoCreative Partnership.
Jonathan Scheffler, associate director, Physical Plant, was interested in learning more about the inner workings of the university and enhancing his management skills. He says that having the chance to interact with other managers on campus opened his eyes to new opportunities for cooperation between departments on campus.
“The [Leadership Academy] is a positive step forward for Dominguez Hills,” he says. “The peer interaction that the Leadership Academy fostered will help strengthen CSUDH as a whole.”
Participants in the Leadership Academy included Emelda Becerra, financial manager, Budget Planning and Administration; Ann Camp, director of development, University Advancement; Brian Cummins, manager of benefits, Human Resources; John Epps, manager of building trades, Physical Plant; Rod Hay, associate dean, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; James Howard, associate director, Financial Aid; Brenda Knepper, director, University Communications and Public Affairs; Andy McDaniel, director of fiscal affairs and staff administrator, College of Health & Human Services; and Francisco Quinonez, assistant director, Procurement, Contracts, Logistical and Support Services.
James Howard says that the Leadership Academy experience helped him to look at tasks and issues from different angles and to consider “the better good for everyone involved. I have also learned to filter out the fluff by becoming a more active listener.”
Brenda Knepper says that “It was surprising to find that I have more in common with the building trades manager in Physical Plant or the associate dean in the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences than I thought. Even though our areas of responsibility differ, we discovered that we actually have a lot in common. We discussed such topics as managing staff, managing change, effective communication. We also discussed solutions and honed skills that can be applied no matter what kind of work you’re doing.”
Session topics included leadership principles, interpersonal and people management skills, internal and external customer service, effective planning and communication. Also covered were labor issues, such as the state’s Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA), labor relations and contract administration and resource management according to CSU and CSUDH funding and budget practices.
In order to be eligible for the program, applicants had to be employees in the Management Personnel Plan, with a minimum of one year of service as a manager and an evaluation score of good or better on their most recent performance appraisal. Applicants also were nominated by the vice president who oversaw their department.
Cummins says that the Leadership Academy “shows that [the university] takes a vested interest in preparing tomorrow’s leaders of Dominguez Hills.”
“By providing this Leadership Academy, it demonstrates that the campus supports the professional growth and training of CSUDH managers for higher leadership roles and that the value of those employees and the institutional knowledge they bring to the table is recognized,” says Knepper. “I’ve taken other management and leadership programs, but I thought that this one was particularly valuable because participating with folks from other areas on campus helps you perform your job better here at CSU Dominguez Hills. We got to know each other and gained a better understanding of what we all do; it will make it easier to pick up the phone to get things done.”
For information on the next Leadership Academy, contact Ben Boish, manager of compensation and training in Human Resources at (310) 243-3694.
- Joanie Harmon
Photo above: Managers from throughout the CSUDH campus attended the six-month Leadership Academy. (L-R, standing) John Epps, manager of building trades, Physical Plant; Jonathan Scheffler, associate director,
Physical Plant; Francisco Quinonez, assistant director, Procurement, Contracts, Logistical and Support Services;
and Brenda Knepper, director, University Communications and Public Affairs
(L-R, seated) Rod Hay, associate dean, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; Ann Camp, director of development,
University Advancement; and Brian Cummins, manager of benefits,Human Resources. Photo by Joanie Harmon