Who is responsible for Professional Development?
Several years ago, a colleague and I were debating the question of who is responsible for my professional development. I argued that it was the employers' responsibility while my colleague stated that it was the individual employees' responsibility. When asked this same question today, I would say that it is a shared responsibility.
Several years ago, a colleague and I were debating the question of who is responsible for my professional development. I argued that it was the employers' responsibility while my colleague stated that it was the individual employees' responsibility. When asked this same question today, I would say that it is a shared responsibility. There is mutual benefit to both individuals and their employing organizations when each side commits to professional development. The individuals gain increased knowledge and skills giving them greater capacity in their daily work and potential for professional growth while the organizations engage a talented staff that helps the organization excel. In the free-agent economy we work in it is essential that employees make investing in their own professional development a priority in order to be competitive with ongoing changes in the field of higher education.
Many organizations, guided by the commitment to ongoing professional development, make funding available for employees to participate in a variety of training and development opportunities, and most all require some amount of ongoing learning as part of the job requirements. So what do you do when your organization supports professional development but doesn't have financial resources available to pay? You take advantage of the many free or low cost options offered through your institution, in conjunction with professional organizations, via online outlets. Here are a few suggestions:
University Workshops – Explore the resources available at your institution through your Human Resources Office or academic departments. Most offer classes and trainings on technical and interpersonal skill development topics with some providing certifications that are great resume builders.
Books – Spelman Johnson, the search firm, puts out a great reading list each year. Ask friends, colleagues, and/or mentors what they are reading. Every time I see one colleague, I make sure to ask him what he has read recently. The last time we talked, he recommended the book Credibility: How
Leaders Gain and Lose It by James Kouzes and Barry Posner. It was originally published in 1993, however it was updated in 2011. You may want to focus your reading on a particular topic area or engage more deeply in the material through a book club or reading group.
Magazines/Journals – Offered online or in print, magazines and journals are a great resource for ongoing learning. I have started to read the monthly issue of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Trusteeship. This free online magazine gives me an idea of what our senior leaders are talking about. The organization recently published guidelines on the issue of Freedom of Speech on Campus. As a campus employee, you may have access to many online publications through the campus library. Also look into whether your department subscribes to publications you can have routed to you for reading.
Webinars – Virtual trainings are a great way to attend a low cost workshop without leaving your office. Depending on the topic, you might be able to talk with colleagues and see if another office would be willing to share the cost. Several outlets, including ASCA, offer high quality speakers addressing timely topics through virtual training. ASCA also offers pre-recorded webinars in our online store at a reduced price that you can view at any time.
Whatever method you utilize to gain skills, knowledge, and experience will be beneficial to you and to your employer. I encourage to take advantage of the multiple ways to learn, grow and explore as a professional.