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Staff engagement goals include:
- Build connectedness, relationships and a willingness to partner with one another to solve problems and create new resources and tools benefiting campus
- Empower staff to solve problems creatively, effectively and across traditional boundaries
- Encourage staff to think outside the traditional silos of groups, units and colleges
- Understand faculty, student and staff needs in relation to campus strategic goals
Multiple staff-created opportunities promoting self-development and connectedness have occurred within the last year. These events show the power of people organizing themselves into successful, vibrant, problem-solving groups to solve campus problems with few resources and minimal guidance.
Caffeine Breaks (requires login to view)
A number of IT professionals turned a small, weekly discussion about IT events and common or vexing IT problems over some coffee and pastries into a larger, more organized discussion of campus-wide IT events, issues needing solutions and opportunities for working together...over some coffee and pastries. As the weekly event has grown in size, it has also grown in influence - numerous projects to improve campus life, productivity and resources have their origins from discussions started at the Caffeine Breaks. The venue has also been an instrumental communication tool, presenting topics affecting campus productivity such as H1N1 preparedness, potential campus-wide tools (ticketing systems, remote access to resources, etc.), and the IT@Illinois initiative.
A group of IT professionals returning from a prestigious leadership training program started a Peer Coaching program to provide interested IT pros with professional development opportunities. Participants within the program are paired with another participant and the pairs are given materials and assistance to begin their personal development journey. The group meets once per month to discuss one or more personal development articles and share observations and insights with one another.
Few campus IT professionals have access to an orientation program when starting their careers or moving to a new position. Members of the Peer Coaching Program recognized this during their discussions and volunteered to create an orientation session for new (and existing) IT professionals. The resultant, successful New IT Professional Orientation program put on a day-long event introducing IT professionals to resources, people and networking opportunities.
When CCSP, a twice-yearly IT conference hosted by CITES, was reduced to once-yearly due to budget cuts, the IT community responded by creating an "unconference" to provide networking and development opportunities for IT staff. The new unconference was organized by a small group of campus IT community volunteers for a small percentage of the usual costs and provided updates, workshops and networking opportunities for nearly 150 participants.
In addition to these people-centric events, a number of Resource Use Activities - projects addressing campus needs across boundaries - have grown out of staff interest and concern.