Professional Staff Training
Organized every other year, INU’s Professional Staff Training provides an opportunity for member universities’ staff to participate in active learning about best practices in student affairs and administration. Participants engage in workshops, networking, presentations, and cultural events. The aim is active involvement in planning and carrying out the training by both visiting and host staff. INU members determine the theme of the training based on their interests.
2014 Professional Staff Training
November 9 – 12, 2014
James Madison University, USA
Following successful International Training Week at Malmö University in 2013, the INU office and James Madison University (JMU) organized the 2014 INU Professional Staff Training focused on models and best practices in student success programming, as well as academic and career advising. Six participants from INU member institutions attended the sessions.
The training was aimed at staff who directly work or oversee career advising and academic planning at INU member universities. The schedule allowed for a variety of learning experiences. Participants had an opportunity to introduce their university and themselves, and learn about JMU’s Student Success Center. They also exchanged ideas, experiences, and best practices in academic planning and career advising. Discussions focused on the use of social media, the role of faculty, motivating students to seek career planning services, and the use of technology and software in career and academic planning. Finally, participants were able to meet with their counterparts and exchange ideas in their areas of expertise through one-on-one or small group meetings.
The training was held in one of the EPIC (Enhancing Pedagogy through Innovative Classroom) spaces at JMU. Some of the features of this inventive learning environment are wall-to-wall writable whiteboard surfaces, multiple projection points, movable teaching stations, and flexible furniture.
Cultural programs included a visit to Monticello, the mountaintop home of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, and dinner at an Old Order Mennonite home with a presentation about Mennonites, a cultural/religious group that lives in Shenandoah Valley.
The comments received from the participants have been very positive, and the plan is to continue organizing the INU Professional Staff Training every other year with different themes, determined by INU members. The evaluation results for the 2014 Professional Staff Training are available in the report.