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University takes leadership training to the community


Brigid Veale
30 August 2007
Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management (GCM) has been taking its leadership training out of the lecture theatre and into the community, with local government staff reaping the rewards.

Sixteen council employees from Richmond Valley Council, Tweed, Lismore and Ballina Shire councils are just about to complete the year-long Northern Rivers Leadership Development Program delivered through the university’s Tweed Gold Coast and Lismore campuses.

Lecturers from the GCM have conducted 12 intensive one-day workshops within regional council offices for the group of middle managers, with subjects closely aligned to the GCM’s Masters programs, such as the Master of Business Administration. Subjects like people management, encouraging performance, managing improvement, team building and strategic leadership are among those that have been included.

GCM Associate Professor Stewart Hase said it had been so successful that a second group of 19 employees, including some from Byron Shire Council, would embark on a second program in coming weeks.

“We designed the program in consultation with the councils, so it is closely aligned to their workplace needs and is a real investment on their part,” he said. “And the program didn’t just consist of workshops. Students had to complete a number of workplace activities, including a review of their performance management systems, a 360-degree evaluation and team-building exercises as part of their assessment.”

Those enrolled in the program get advanced standing for any of the Masters programs offered by the GCM and Stewart said it was pleasing that a number of council participants had now decided to continue their studies towards a Masters.

Erin Genn, training and development officer with Tweed Shire Council, said the program was attractive to staff because it was offered regionally. It also afforded valuable networking opportunities.

“The program has academic credibility because it is offered through a regional university where our staff can go on to study further, should they choose to,” she said.

“For some, it has been an effective way of easing back into formal study, with the added benefit of advanced standing for the Masters program.”