What is the Professional Development Academy?

The Professional Development Academy is a center dedicated to providing tailored development programs to foster career growth for targeted employee groups and to support Duke's staffing needs. The goals of the Professional Development Academy are to improve retention, strengthen the management workforce, develop the skills and capabilities of staff, and support Duke's commitment to diversity.

Why is emphasis being placed on front-line supervisor positions?

Good supervisors play a critical role in helping Duke develop a positive work environment dedicated to excellence in education, research and patient care. Supervisors are the front line for any organization, so developing strong, supportive supervisors is typically the best way to improve individual and operational performance, staff retention, and the overall work environment. New supervisors are sometimes hired or promoted into positions and assume management responsibility overnight without any support or training. The Front Line Supervisor Program is designed to provide structured development in areas related to business acumen, people management, project management and select supervisory competencies.

There is an identified staffing need for quality supervisors at Duke, and within the next 10 years there will be a greater need for experienced supervisors and managers as more staff begin to retire. At the present time, there are more than 100 vacancies for supervisory positions listed at Duke. The Front Line Supervisor Program provides managers with an opportunity to recognize and support outstanding performers who have recently assume supervisory responsibilities. The program will provide participants with the necessary competencies to navigate, successfully, entry-level supervisor positions within Duke.

What will be included in the training?

During the 6 month program, participants will participate in classes, coaching, self-directed learning and stretch assignments within your department which will provide a variety of developmental opportunities.

Participants will take courses as a group that meet the core objectives of the program and, as individuals, may have opportunities to attend classes offered by Learning & Organization Development that meet the needs identified on their individual development plan. Department projects will provide opportunities for participants to apply the knowledge and skills learned through coursework in the work environment. Coaching will be provided to clarify goals and create an individual development plan. 

Why are mentors nominated?

Managers and employees are in the best position to identify the best person to support the newly- and/or recently appointed supervisor’s professional development.  Typically the manager will identify a staff member from your department or another Duke entity.

How are mentors selected?

Staff members from your particular department or area are identified and recommended by you and your nominee to participate as a mentor for your nominee. You and your nominee identify potential mentors to assist the nominee throughout the program.

How long will it take to complete the program? How much time will participants be away from their current jobs?

The program will take 6 months to complete. This will include up to two days per month in which participants will need to be released from their regular work schedule. Additional training time will be scheduled during regular work hours for coaching and mentoring sessions, intersession assignments, a department project and attendance of L&OD courses, as per individual development plans.

Will participants be paid for hours spent in training?

Participation in the program will be considered as part of normal work hours for the staff member.

What are the selection criteria for program participants?

The Front Line Supervisor program will include a diverse class of up to 15 participants. The following are the minimum requirements to be considered for the program:

  • Full-time Duke Employee with minimum of three years of continuous service.
  • Actively serving in an entry-level supervisory role where you have direct responsibility for directing the work of people.
  • Less than two years of experience in the role.
  • Performance, currently in good standing as defined by the department, with "fully achieves or meets standards.”  Applicants with "exceeds standards" will be given priority consideration.
  • Nomination and full endorsement from current manager including the completion of manager assessment and nomination forms.
  • Acceptance of a retention agreement for two years following completion of program.

Will participants have to pay back any of the financial support provided to employees by Duke?

In return for the financial assistance provided for training, participants must agree to work at Duke for 24 months after completion of the program. If a participant drops out of the program or leave Duke prior to fulfilling their 24 month commitment, they may be required to repay a portion of the educational costs for instruction, books and supplies.

For more information, please visit the Duke Human Resource website, call 613-2161, or email gina.rogers@duke.edu.