Roundtables foster leadership development, discussion

May 15, 2015 | UToday
By Samantha Watson

The University of Toledo’s Division of Enrollment Management and Online Education has been a bit more productive lately.

That’s because each month, members of the division sit down together to discuss issues and help each other become better leaders. The Enrollment Management & Online Education Leadership Academy, started by Dr. Cam Cruickshank, vice president for enrollment management and online education, has been going strong since January.

Cruickshank began an earlier version of the program when he first started at UT in 2012 and called it the Manager’s Roundtable. He had started a similar program at a previous place of employment that worked well to train middle managers and decided it was something UT could not only use, but make better.

Cruickshank and his team at UT worked to improve the program and implemented the new leadership academy this year. Each month, 16 attendees get together for an hour and a half to discuss books and videos and participate in interactive professional development.

So far, the group has discussed books like The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Peak by Chip Conley. The feedback from participants has been positive, especially for the books that discuss positivity and leadership in the workplace.

“It is easy to get caught up in the negativity,” said Sherri Jiannuzzi, UT assistant director of loans and a participant in the program. “It was enlightening to see the far-ranging effects that negativity has on our work environment, and it is important to look for the signs of negativity in group dynamics and work to keep it from gaining momentum.”

The program utilizes tools like Blackboard Learn to keep participants connected and provides books for each participant for discussions as well as participant booklets and handouts that are used in the leadership curriculum. It’s open to anyone within the Division of Enrollment Management and Online Education who wants to learn about leadership, but Cruickshank hopes the idea spreads to other areas of campus.

“I think that leadership development, especially of current and aspiring middle managers, is crucial for organizational productivity and accomplishment,” Cruickshank said. “It isn’t just an opportunity to learn best practices from outside resources — it’s an opportunity to get to know your colleagues, learn from one another, and develop a culture of growth and development.”

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