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Drake to expand supervisory leadership program this spring


Drake University is expanding a virtual certificate course in supervisory leadership in the upcoming spring semester, after conducting a successful pilot of the program with an initial cohort of students this past fall.

The Supervisory Leadership program is aimed at working professionals moving for the first time into a leadership role. It has two core classes: “The New Leader” and “Building Effective Teams,” which can be taken alternatively in the spring and the fall, and five electives, of which three are required to complete the certificate. The electives are:
– Diversity Equity and Inclusion.
– Building Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
– Problem Solving and Decision Making.
– Building Delegation and Coaching Skills.
– Lego Strategic Play.

The new program’s content — which can also be taken as individual classes to fill specific needs — was inspired by meetings with Central Iowa human resource managers that Drake Online & Continuing Education faculty meet with on a regular basis, said Christina Trombley, executive director of Online & Continuing Education.  

“There has been a lot of focused research on what companies are looking for in both employees and their leadership, and some of the same topics keep rising to the top — communications, team building, diversity, equity and inclusion,” Trombley said. “And so based on that research and what we heard from our HR professionals, we really wanted to be able to focus on that. We believe we have a program that does that now, and we’ve been getting great feedback from participants, so we’re very excited that we seem to be able to meet their requirements.”

Among the facilitators in the program are Lonnie Dafney, director of diversity, equity and inclusion with EMC Insurance Cos., Charise Flynn, owner of C.Results, and Sheila Grebert, director of claims operations — learning and development with Principal Financial Group. Enrollment in the program will be kept small to ensure good interaction among the participants, said Sarah Ramsey, director of Business Professionals Programs.

“There were 10 people in the first group, which was great for online, and for kicking it off we wanted to keep it a little bit smaller,” she said. “We’ve been doing all of our other programs online since March [2020], and it’s been going really well. For this program, having that size really allowed for intimate conversation, for the facilitator to get to know each and every participant really well.”

Each class will likely be kept to about 15 participants for the virtual format, but definitely no more than 20, Ramsey said. So far, all participants’ tuition costs for the program have been picked up by their employers, she said.

The format of the program is flexible, Trombley said. “Basically we’ve designed it so anyone can start with any class,” she said. “Even if what they want is the certificate, they don’t have to wait for the core courses. You can start with some electives; you can start with either core course whenever the time is right for you. So you can easily start the process and then pick up any of the electives and whatever core is remaining the next time.”

A new elective that was added beginning this semester is the Lego Strategic Play class, which will be facilitated by Heidi Mannetter, a Drake digital marketing professor who is certified to offer the Lego course. “You literally get a little Lego set,” Ramsey said, “and Professor Mannetter walks them through how you do creative problem-solving on the spot with Legos. It’s fun, it’s creative, just another way they can build out that skill.”

Registration is open through April 21, and classes begin April 26. The program brochure includes course details and registration information.

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