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Leadership Excellence Series

Once per fiscal year, Professional Development Programs offers the Leadership Excellence series.  This is a fun-filled, fast-paced program that covers leadership theory, practices, and skills in an interactive and engaging setting. Certification will be awarded upon completion of the entire series. If you are interested, you must register for the entire series.

Spring 2024 Leadership Excellence Series

Foundations of Leadership

Thursday, Jan. 18, from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229 (lunch will be provided)  

This session introduces you to the concept of leadership, and sets the tone for all of the explorations of leadership principles to follow.  Time will be taken to help you get to know workshop participants, and understand the opportunities which Leadership Excellence (LE) provides for your growth and development.  It then establishes a guiding framework for leadership aligned with CMU's mission and explores core values, behaviors and characteristics of great leaders and supervisors. The session concludes with Provost Nancy Mathews sharing her reflections on leadership, and providing  time for Q & A. Facilitated by Harley Blake and Lori Hella, Human Resources. 

Thoughtful, Open Communicators

Thursday, Jan. 25 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229

The effective leader is an excellent communicator, who uses a toolkit of communication tools to disseminate information, state expectations, and enhance teamwork. This session focuses on the foundation of effective listening, and then builds on it with other essential communication skills through discussion and practice. Facilitated by Dr. Jerry DiMaria, College of Business. 

NOTE: Feb. 1 is an all-day session that covers two topics. 

Conflict, Courage and Difficult Conversations

Thursday, Feb. 1 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229 (lunch will be provided between sessions)

We've all been there. We need to talk, but we would rather not! Whether it's about performance, conflict, or the neighbor's dog, the struggle of what to say and how to say it weighs heavy. Utilizing principles and ideas from a variety of resources, this workshop will explore the dynamics of what is involved in conflicts and difficult conversations of various kinds. Whether you are directly involved in the conflict, or you are helping other people work through theirs, practical ways to work through them will be discussed and practiced in this workshop. Facilitated by Deb Dunbar, current leadership development consultant and previously Director of Talent and Organizational Development at Indiana University.

Proactive, Responsible and Accountable

Thursday, Feb. 1 from 1:15 - 4:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229 (lunch will be provided between sessions)

Personal accountability occurs when goals become the organizing principle, tasks become exciting challenges, departments become teams and managers become true leaders.  Attend this seminar and learn your role in creating an accountable organization.  Explore two models:   1) the leader's role in defining results, identifying beliefs and creating experiences and 2) the collective "I" role in everyone being responsible for seeing, owning, solving and doing to enhance productivity and outcomes.  Facilitated by Deb Dunbar, current leadership development consultant and previous Director of Talent and Organizational Development at Indiana University.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Thursday, Feb. 8 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229

The rapidly diversifying face of the American workforce requires that employees be able to effectively work in a setting with co-workers from a variety of backgrounds based on many intersecting identities including race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, age, etc. The purpose of this session is to raise participant awareness of these dynamics, and increase sensitivity to working in diverse communities, enabling you to more effectively build a collaborative work environment and lead effectively within this environment. Facilitated by Dr. Nikita Murry, Director of the Office of Diversity Education. 

Change and Transitions

Thursday, Feb. 15 from 8:30 a.m.  - 12:30 p.m.,  Rowe Hall 229

Continuous improvement in the workplace requires change, and change is difficult! This session will introduce you to the dynamics involved in change by looking through the lenses of three different models. It will then focus on the specifics of helping you to work through change, and how to support others through a major change successfully. Facilitated by Harley Blake, Manager of Professional Development Programs. 

Leadership Styles

Thursday, Feb. 22 from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Rowe Hall 229

Developing an understanding of personal style and our natural strengths is fundamental in enabling participants to manage and interact more effectively with others.  Participants will take an online assessment and through activities and discussion better understand their leadership style, the styles of others, and the impact this has on relationships at work and at home. Facilitated by Dr. Amy McGinnis, College of Business. 

Team Builders and graduation lunch

Thursday, Feb. 29 from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., UC 

This session explores the definition and characteristics of effective teamwork environments. Emphasis is on how to create a positive team culture of engaged employees working together toward common goals. Topics include the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, trust and team building.  Facilitated by Harley Blake, Manager of Professional Development Programs. This session includes the celebration/graduation lunch where plaques will be given  to people who have completed the series.  

To register, contact Donna Blem, at

For more information, contact Harley Blake, Manager of Professional Development Programs at 989-774-1073.