Staff program graduates first group

by Stephen Forgacs
Staff writer

The first 21 UBC staff members to complete certificates in the university's MOST staff training and development program were recognized at a lunch in the First Nations Longhouse March 20.

"We are a team of faculty, staff and students at UBC," President Martha Piper said prior to awarding the certificates. "And when you enhance your skill sets you can't help but make the entire team stronger."

The MOST program was started by the UBC Staff Development Plan and was developed by a staff program committee in 1993 to provide UBC staff with opportunities to develop and enhance their workplace skills and knowledge.

Maura Da Cruz, MOST program training administrator, said roughly 2,700 people have taken MOST courses. Although the courses are aimed primarily at UBC staff, several faculty members with administrative responsibilities have also participated to improve their administrative or managerial skills, Da Cruz said.

Susanne Schmiesing, administrator of graduate awards in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, was among those who received a certificate at the ceremony. Schmiesing, who completed the Cecil Green Certificate Program (introduction to leadership and management), said she has been able to apply much of what she learned in the MOST courses to her work thanks in part to the UBC-specific focus of the program.

"Given the complexity of today's workplace, and particularly at an organization like UBC, the MOST program provides an excellent opportunity for professional development as well as unique exposure to job-related issues and training," she said.

MOST consists of five certificate programs, each with five components including workplace culture and values, UBC specific, computer skills, job related, and professional and personal development.

The certificate programs include Nitobe (workplace skills and knowledge), Thunderbird (project management), Cecil Green (an introduction to leadership and management), Ida Green (effective management and leadership), and Pacific Spirit (self-directed learning).

Individual courses cover topics ranging from UBC central agencies to coaching and conflict resolution.

"One of the guiding principles of the MOST program is continuous improvement," said Da Cruz. "In 1995 we redefined the scope of the five certificate programs to make them more university and job specific, and we're continuing to adapt and revise elements of the program as we determine where the needs lie."

The MOST program committee, which is made up of a wide representation of UBC staff members, oversees the program and recommends changes as required.