What is the Professional Development Academy?

The Professional Development Academy is dedicated to providing tailored training programs to foster career growth for targeted staff groups and to support Duke's staffing needs. The goals of the Academy include improving retention and strengthening workforce commitment, developing the skills and capabilities of staff, and supporting Duke's commitment to diversity.

Why was the Professional Development Academy established?

The Professional Development Academy was established to expand Duke's staff development opportunities and support the staffing needs of Duke. Developing the skills and talents of current Duke Staff to fill critical job needs through internal promotion or transfer has several advantages over hiring external candidates. Some of these advantages include enhanced productivity and proficiency, a shortened learning curve because incumbents are familiar with the Duke culture, increased loyalty and retention due to investment in our own workforce, increased staff satisfaction with more career development opportunities, a more diverse workforce throughout Duke's organization, and cost effectiveness gained through reduced turnover and improved productivity.

Why is emphasis being placed on supervisor positions for the second program of the Professional Development Academy?

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 one of the best way to improve individual and operational performance, increase staff retention, and enhance the overall work environment. New supervisors are sometimes hired or promoted into positions and assume responsibility overnight without any support or training regarding how to develop business acumen, manage people and projects and enhance select supervisory competencies.

There is an identified staffing need for quality supervisors at Duke, and as Duke continues to grow, there will be a greater need for experienced supervisors and managers. 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 individual performers who have recently assumed supervisory responsibilities. The program will provide participants with the necessary competencies to navigate, successfully, the role of entry-level supervisor, within Duke.

Why should a manager support a staff member's involvement in the Front Line Supervisor Program?

The Professional Development Academy's mission supports the career goals of individual staff as well as the internal staffing needs of Duke. By strengthening the skills of Duke Staff, managers will have access to a deeper pool of talent with specific knowledge and experience at Duke. Providing staff with opportunities to develop and grow within Duke is also a leading driver to job satisfaction and retention. A manager may also capitalize on the opportunity of offering a structured development to enable newly transitioned supervisors to take full ownership of his/her new role. The department realizes direct benefits from the program, even as participants are well positioned to take on greater responsibilities and potentially new roles. The skills learned during the program will be used by staff on their current job throughout the program.

How many hours per month will a staff member be away from the job during regular work hours?

The program will take 6 months to complete. This will include as little as eight hours and up to two days per month of classroom training, in which participants will need to be released from their regular work schedule. The additional time will be scheduled during regular work hours for coaching, mentoring, intersession assignments, working on the departmental project, and attending L&OD classes, as per the individual development plan.

What is the cost of the program for departments?

The cost is covered by the Professional Development Academy. This covers the 360-degree assessment, educational instruction, (including Durham Tech Corporate Education, Learning & Organization Development, and independent contractors), books and other general costs. If the staff member is in a non-exempt position, there may be an additional payroll expense to a department if overtime occurs.

Will the manager be informed of a staff member's progress in the program?

It is important for managers to actively support training and coaching of their staff who participate in the Front Line Supervisor Program. The Program Manager will encourage participants to engage in ongoing discussions with and to solicit feedback from managers to ensure a participant's success in the program. The Professional Development Academy encourages participants and managers to discuss their experience in the program regularly. In addition, managers will be actively involved in the participant's department project.

What will happen if involvement in the program begins to interfere with a staff member's work performance?

A participant's current job must remain his/her first priority; therefore, if involvement in the program begins to interfere with current job performance, measures can be put in place to address the problem. The Program Director, in consultation with the entity HR Representative, will work with the manager and participant to help identify and address issues affecting work performance. However, because of the limited time spent away from work for the program, interference with the current job should be minimal.

How can a manager support a staff member's involvement in the program?

A manager can support their staff by providing: 1) flexibility in scheduling for staff to participate in classes and projects, 2) ongoing performance feedback to the staff member, 3) opportunities for the participant to practice new skills on their current job including work experience and department projects or assignments, 4) support and encouragement through the 360 and development planning process, and 5) identifying one or two potential mentors.

How do I recommend a mentor?

Mentoring is a key component of this program. Mentors from the participant's department or area have proven effective in providing advice, guidance and diverse perspectives. Through the nomination form, a manager is to recommend a staff member within the department to be a mentor for the Front Line Supervisor participant. Mentors are given training and commit to maintaining contact on a regular basis with program participants. Mentors should be an experienced manager/supervisor with at least five years of service at Duke.

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