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CPE Delivers Professional Development Programs in Virtual Environment

Kathryn KeetonAs part of the mission to create a collaborative learning community for local professionals, the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) at UTSA’s College of Business is responding to the new reality of remote work by adapting their professional development programs for fall to a virtual format.

“We recognize that the last few months have dramatically changed how and where we work – but we also see many people looking for opportunities to engage in meaningful professional development,” said Kathryn Keeton, senior executive director of the CPE and associate professor of practice. “We have adapted most of our professional development training to a virtual format. Our six-month Leadership Institute Certificate will be offered as a hybrid, where the core classes will be instructor-led virtually. However, the custom track courses we hope to safely host in-person in early 2021.”

Using a teaching pedagogy of “Discover, Discuss, Do,” the CPE has been adapting their approach to continue to deliver quality training that engages participants virtually. The first phase, “Discover,” refers to engaging participants with theoretical content prior to a session. The CPE uses a learning management system to share readings and questions, so that participants can interact with materials and with each other prior to training.

The “Discuss” phase is achieved during synchronous instructor-led sessions. “We have tried a number of different platforms over the past few months; however, we have found that participants have a much richer experience when they are both able to see and interact with each other,” shared Keeton.

The “Do” phase of the pedagogy focuses on practical application. “There is quite a bit of research to support the importance of practice when learning new information or a new skill. This is the cornerstone of our approach, so we have adapted and created case studies, projects, group work and simulations for virtual delivery this fall. This is critical for participants and allows them to practice and take away relevant and practical knowledge and skills,” said Keeton.

The first fall workshop on Inclusive Leadership will be Saturday, Sep. 12 and is led by Dorinda Rolle, Ph.D., an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion. This is also the first workshop for participants interested in the three-session Leadership Series Bootcamp, or the six-month Leadership Institute Certificate in either Big Data or the Essential Foundations of Leadership.

Leadership Institute certificates also include executive coaching as part of the training. These are one-on-one executive coaching with a trained coaching professional, where participants develop their own personalized career plans to identify and achieve their professional development goals.

“In addition to our Leadership Institute offering, we also offered topic-focused workshops. The recent addition of the UTSA Cyber Range provides another unique opportunity for experiential virtual cyber security training,” said Keeton. UTSA Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for any Executive Education programs. Visit execed.utsa.edu to view current training programs and register online courses.

–Melissa Lackey

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