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Nineteen UM-Duluth Transformational Leadership Program staff member-graduates standing in a group and looking up toward the camera.

Nineteen UMD graduates of the TLP program celebrated April 3.

UMD graduates its first Transformational Leadership Program class

By Stephanie Vine

Brief, April 11, 2007

Ten inches of snow and 30 mile-per-hour winds did not stop University leaders from gathering April 3 to celebrate the accomplishments of UMD's first class of Transformational Leadership Program (TLP) graduates. The 19 honorees presented their TLP process-improvement projects to the audience and worked vigorously to garner support for continued efforts and proposed solutions.

The three-week intensive training program, delivered in segments since last October by Matt Larson and Scott Martens from the U's Office of Service and Continuous Improvement (OSCI), concluded March 29.

The curriculum is based on the world-renowned leadership development and process improvement methodology embraced by 3M, a corporate sponsor of University research and process improvement initiatives. Larson worked directly with 3M to customize the curriculum for the University.

"The great energy and progress at UMD drives home the importance of the three legs of success in transformational change work," says OSCI director Martens. He describes the components as:

UMD Transformational Leadership Program graduates, 2006-07

* Sue Bosell, Business Office
* Kathy Chalupsky, Facilities Management
* Jeni Eltink, First-Year Experience Program
* Pat Keenan, Kirby Student Center
* Kathy Morris, Health Services
* Vince Repesh, Advisement Coordination Center
* Kay Smith, Disability Services and Resources
* Julie Westlund, Career Services

College offices
* Amanda Evans, College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP) Technology
* Casey LaCore, CEHSP
* Jennifer Niemi, CEHSP Student Affairs
* Mary Keenan, College of Liberal Arts Student Affairs
* Tracey Bolen, Labovitz School of Business and Economics Student Affairs
* Stacey Crawford, School of Fine Arts Student Affairs

Information Technology Systems and Services
* Rick Brill
* Jason Davis
* Wendy Zolnowsky

Knowledge Management Center
* Lisa Reeves
* Paul Treuer

1. The Right Projects: projects that are strategically aligned with clearly defined, quantifiable measures of success. 2. The Right Sponsors: senior level people in the organization actively involved in the review, support, and success of the work. 3. The Right People: proven or high potential leaders who are respected in the organization leading the work. "This is as much about the improvement in talent as it is about the improvement in our processes," he says.

Many participants agree that the program benefits the University as a whole as well as the trainees themselves.

"This was an incredibly valuable experience for me," says Julie Westlund, UMD Career Services director. "I felt like I completed a graduate-level course. People in industry pay thousands of dollars for this kind of training! I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity.

"The best part," she adds, "is knowing that I have colleagues I can turn to in the future for help when problem-solving."

While the program itself has allowed for growth and new perspectives, direct value to UMD comes from leadership's project selection and from the teams' progress. The specific goals of each project result in meeting faculty, student, or staff needs more accurately and frequently.

"Overall, the program is really going to give my department some clear insight into what is working and what is not working in our program offerings," says Jennifer Niemi, advisor for Eni-gikendaasovang Center for Indigenous Knowledge Revitalization. "The information gathered from my TLP project has been well received by my team and, since the focus is on retention and graduation rates of students, it definitely fits with the larger strategic plan for UMD."

Eleven of the 19 TLP projects are specifically aligned with UMD's new strategic approach for improving retention and graduation rates. The retention framework, developed by the UMD Successful Student Work Team in 2006, identified numerous strategic priorities that influence student persistence.

By focusing on processes that are aligned with these priorities and the campus's retention and graduation goals, UMD will be better able to accommodate students' learning and support needs and positively impact student retention rates, says UMD TLP coordinator Stephanie Vine.

"After leading transformation efforts across many parts of the economy, domestically and abroad, I am most excited about the great potential we have to lead higher education into the future while improving life for faculty, students, and staff," Larson says.

The UMD program was made possible with funding and support from OSCI.

"Only by means of OSCI's generosity did the UMD TLP program become a reality," says Bruce Gildseth, UMD vice chancellor for academic support and student life. "UMD looks forward to continuing our relationship with the OSCI office in the months and years ahead."

FURTHER READING

"TLP heads north," October 18, 2006


Stephanie Vine, Health Services associate administrator, is a 2005-06 TLP graduate and coordinator of the UMD TLP program. She is also a member of the Successful Student Work Team.