July 22, 2010

Summer offers chance for professional, personal development

The dog days of summer are the perfect time for many ISU employees to catch up on professional development activities, required training and other housekeeping tasks. Inside compiled a list of (mostly free) options available on campus.

Catch up, or get ahead

  • Brush up on Excel, Office, Outlook, Drupal -- you name it. More than 800 online tutorials on digital tools and techniques are available at no cost to ISU employees and students. For free access to these Lynda.com lessons, enter the site through www.iastate.edu/lynda.
  • Did you miss out on a library seminar or workshop during the school year? Many are archived online, including instructional videos about WorldCat, social networks and copyright/fair use issues.

It's all about you

Cross these off the to-do list

  • All ISU employees are required to complete Environmental Health and Safety's "Fire Safety and Extinguisher Training" course. Cross this off your to-do list by completing the 20-minute online course. Start at EHS's Learning Center. If you work in a lab or around hazardous materials, you can tick off a number of other required courses through the center's online offerings. More safety and research info is on the EHS homepage.
  • Get training sessions out of the way, such as the how-to for ISU Purchasing's procurement process or P&S performance management training for supervisors and managers.

Learn something new

  • Get to know today's students with a book recommended by admissions staff. In Millennials Go to College: Strategies for a New Generation on Campus, generational experts Neil Howe and William Strauss take an in-depth look at the latest group of collegians.
  • Let your creativity flow by taking an art class at the Workspace in the Memorial Union. Although summer events are winding down, there still are July and August classes for basketweaving, tango dancing and sewing. Already have a craft, but need the equipment or space to create something? Studio time is available by the day ($4) or the semester ($30).

Plan for the future

  • Start or update your estate planning with free (up to 30 minutes) and reduced-rate legal counsel, or free will preparation services (PDF).
  • Re-evaluate your retirement portfolio. Make an appointment with HRS retirement specialist Ann Doty (4-4800, pdoty@iastate.edu), or a consultant from the TIAA-CREF office (515-268-8600 or 866-904-7803). HRS also offers financial seminars for employees in every stage of their careers.