Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
June 27, 1997

Strides made in professional development

by Anne Dolan

In a year of "firsts" for the Professional and Scientific Council, a first-ever, council-sponsored professional development day and a new endowed fund for professional development are at the top of the accomplishments list, said outgoing council president Jim Meek.

The professional development day was held May 27 off campus and about 215 P&S staff attended, learning about such topics as continuous learning,volunteerism and marketing oneself for a promotion or new job.

"We received lots of extremely positive feedback on that day," Meek said. "P&S staff traditionally haven't had an identity at ISU, a feeling of being on a team. I'm pleased with the day and what it accomplished along those lines."

The endowed fund, set up in March by the council, ISU Foundation and the Provost's Office, will supplement the $5,000 provided annually by the Provost's Office for P&S professional development activities. The Provost's Office will match the interest earned by the fund, up to $5,000 annually.

Other notable events, according to Meek, were an August ICN session in which President Martin Jischke answered questions about salary policy and a P&S pre-game tailgate party prior to the first home football game.

Heading into the 1996-97 academic year, better communication with constituents was a top goal of the council. In response, the council greatly expanded its Web page. By September, an e-mail network will allow council members to relay information or solicit opinions from their constituents.

Meek also said a more proactive attitude guided council business this year.

"We agreed during our retreat last July to be part of the solution and not always just define the problem," he said. "When we could, we also wanted to extend that a step and help the administration look at and assess solutions.

"For the things we chose to get involved in this year, I think we succeeded at losing some of that 'victim' mentality," Meek said.

Organizational changes -- one that puts the vice president in charge of running council meetings and one that compressed monthly council agendas to a half day instead of six to seven hours -- have worked well and probably will continue in the fall, he said.

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