The Learning Academies

Sam Houston State University offers staff and managers of staff professional development opportunities through The Learning Academies. The academies are tied to the university’s strategic plan goal of fostering “a lifelong learning environment in support of a diverse faculty and staff who are excellent scholars, educators, and professionals.” The courses in The Learning Academies are all professional development opportunities meant to offer an option for staff to meet their professional development annual requirement (8 hours for staff; 12 hours for managers of staff).


Track Course Date Time Location Details
LELLeadership at Every Level Track Luke Archer’s Verbal Aikido IRL (In Real Life) Oct 22, 2020 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Zoom Web Room Details

Special opportunity: Out of those who attend the Civility in the Workplace workshop on October 20th, 10 participants will have the opportunity on October 22 to participate in an event that will link the Civility workshop principles with daily application techniques. They will join Luke Archer, author and founder of Verbal Aikido, in a small group event that will sharpen their abilities using VA techniques to manage challenges to a civil and peaceful work environment.

Professional Development Credit: 2

Core competency: Effective in Communication

Availability: This follow-on session is by invitation only and will be available only to attendees in the October 20, 2020, Civility workshop.

LELLeadership at Every Level Track Ch-ch-cha-Changes: Preparing for New Roles and Career Transitions Nov 5, 2020 2:00PM - 3:30PM Zoom Web Room Details

Are you transitioning into a new role within your career or experiencing an unexpected career change? Worried you might not be psychologically prepared to make the switch or take on the changes? Come learn how to increase your confidence with former career counselor Cenaiyda Carranza, who will show you how to utilize your strengths and skills to make the most out of your new opportunities.

Professional Development Credit: 1.5

Core competency: Innovative in Thinking

Availability: Staff & Faculty

TUTraining University Coping with Change and Uncertainty Nov 13, 2020 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Zoom Web Room Details

2020 has been a year of change and many unexpected events. We are all affected by these events in some way and this training is to help you find positive ways to cope with these events and unplanned changes in daily life. Join us for an hour to focus on ways to gain understanding and a new way to look at these events.

Professional Development Credit: 1

Core competency: Efficient in Operations

Availability: Staff & Faculty

MAManagement Academy Job Burnout Nov 18, 2020 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Zoom Web Room Details

Join popular returning presenter to the Management Academy, Aneika Simmons, PhD, of the College of Business Administration, as she discusses factors that lead to job burnout, the relationship between stress and burnout, and practical solutions for managing it.

Professional Development Credit: 2

Core competency: Manage Performance

Availability: Supervisors Only

CFCCoffee for Change Written Communication Nov 24, 2020 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Zoom Web Room Details

Learn tips and tricks for writing more efficiently, effectively, and persuasively in the workplace. Presented by Ms. TJ Bittick, SHSU Professional Development Coordinator, editor, and former adjunct instructor of English.

Professional Development Credit: 1

Core competency: Effective in communications

Availability: Staff & Faculty

MAManagement Academy Managing Performance in a Traditional and Virtual Environment Dec 16, 2020 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Zoom Web Room Details

Guidance on managing human dynamics through performance management for both co-located and telecommuting employees, and advice on hiring and salary administration, from the Assistant Director of Human Resources.

Professional Development Credit: 2

Core competency: Manage Performance

Availability: Supervisors Only

MAManagement Academy Changes in Employment Law Dec 1, 2020 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Zoom Web Room Details

As a supervisor or manager, you need to know the most up-to-date information on employment law to deal ethically and legally with your employees. For this Management Academy session, the AVP of Human Resources, Rhonda Beassie, JD, reviews recent changes to employment law and how that may impact your management practices and departmental operations. She will also discuss staying within legal parameters while providing motivation and leadership to your team.

Professional Development Credit: 2

Core competency: Comply legally and ethically

Availability: Supervisors Only

LELLeadership on Every Level Encouraging and Motivating Your Team with Victoria White Jan 26, 2021 1pm-2:30pm TBA Details

Do you want to learn how to encourage and motivate your team toward success, whether you are the team leader or a key contributor? Join dynamic speaker Victoria White, Student Success Coordinator at Student Success Initiatives, as she shares techniques to strengthen positive communications skills with colleagues in order to be the change you want to see. Learn how to lift others up so they can pass it on!

Professional Development Credit: 1.5

Core competency: Provide leadership

Availability: Staff & Faculty


Training University | TU

Available to staff and faculty employees

This track focuses on broader development opportunities in the area of efficiency, effectiveness, communication, and life-long learning. Example topics include:

  • Career Planning
  • Time Management
  • Customer Service Best Practices
  • Effective Conflict Resolution

Training U. also includes the Come-for-Coffee sessions, which are shorter, more intimate sessions that bring a subject matter expert together with those who have a vested interested in learning more about that subject.

  • The Business Case for Diversity
  • How the Money Flows
  • Changes to Mandatory Reporting (Title IX)
  • Reclassifications and Market Studies

Leadership at Every Level | LEL

Available to all staff and faculty employees.

This track is designed to improve leadership skills for employees of all levels. Example topics include:

  • Career Transitions
  • Verbal Aikido
  • Respect and Tolerance
  • Civility in the Workplace

Management Academy | MA

Available to supervisors of staff only

This track focuses on enhancing effective leadership and the larger implications of leadership while managing others. Example topics include:

  • Employment Law
  • Managing Performance
  • Building Trust in the Workplace
  • Verbal and Non-verbal Communication

Master Mentor | MM

Available to staff and faculty employees

This track is intended to prepare and equip through training and advising SHSU employees who want to make a commitment to changing another employee’s life through mentorship. Courses include:

  • Master Mentor’s Workshop
  • Lunch and Learn: Communication
  • Lunch and Learn: Confidentiality


Staff & Faculty

  • Committed to SHSU’s vision & mission
    • Understand the mission and your place in it
    • Understand SHSU’s role in the community
    • Support the goals of the university
    • Work effectively with people from all backgrounds
    • Treat others with dignity and respect
    • Support diversity in the workplace
  • Innovative in thinking
    • Think “outside the box” when problem-solving
    • Take calculated risks on new and unusual ideas
    • Take an interest in new ideas and new ways of doing things
    • While respecting traditions, don’t be bound by traditional approaches for their own sake
    • Actively seek to improve programs or services
  • Effective in communications
    • Speak and write clearly and effectively
    • Listen constructively
    • Practice appropriate telephone and email protocol
    • Ask questions
    • Share information with those who need it
    • Understand and utilize different communication methods for different audiences
    • Understand you are the face of the university and act accordingly
  • Accountable for ourselves and to others
    • Honor commitments
    • Take ownership for all assigned responsibilities
    • Operate in compliance with university policy and state regulations
    • Hold yourself accountable for accomplishing departmental goals and meeting standards
    • Hold yourself to a higher standard of public accountability
    • Actively engage in teambuilding activities
  • Dedicated to life-long learning
    • Keep abreast of new developments in your own occupation or profession
    • Actively seek to develop yourself professionally and personally
    • Contribute to learning opportunities for teammates and colleagues
    • Show a willingness to learn from others
    • Seek feedback for continuous improvement
    • Take advantage of Just-in-Time training to improve your skill set
  • Efficient in operations
    • Deliver on time, within budget, and with the expected quality
    • Set goals and prioritize your work
    • Be flexible; adjust to changing circumstances
    • Use time wisely and efficiently
    • Develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed-upon strategies
    • Maintain work/life balance
    • Manage health and stress, adjusting habits to avoid foreseeable risks which may impact your ability to work


  • Support the strategic plan
    • Understand the Big Picture and communicate it to your team
    • Think globally
    • Manage change
    • Be flexible
  • Provide leadership
    • Let people know where they stand
    • Acknowledge and celebrate team accomplishments
    • Lead with courage—make decisions and stand behind them
    • Face up to problems quickly and directly
    • Don’t be afraid to take negative action when necessary (probation, firing, etc.)
  • Empower others
    • Hire good people and let them do their jobs
    • Use delegation as a developmental tool
    • Provide constructive feedback that helps people to learn from their mistakes
    • Invite input; share ownership, visibility, and responsibility
    • Be aware of each employee’s career goals
    • Encourage people to develop their gifts/skills – even if it means they may eventually leave you or the university
  • Comply legally and ethically
    • Keep up with the legal implications of various management practices
    • Make sure your management practices are well within legal parameters
    • Keep abreast of university policies and fulfill your responsibilities accordingly
    • Use fair and legal hiring practices
  • Manage performance
    • Hold yourself and your employees accountable for accomplishing departmental goals and meeting standards
    • Establish clear expectations and directions
    • Communicate priorities that will help people monitor their performance
    • Use coaching, mentoring, and feedback to help people perform well
    • Organize resources and processes to accomplish the work of the department effectively and efficiently
    • Take action to improve performance deficiencies
    • Recognize and reward good performance
    • Utilize contributions of people from diverse backgrounds and different behavioral styles
    • Promote team cohesiveness
    • Share information
  • Build trust
    • Use fair and legal management practices
    • Don’t discriminate
    • Avoid even the appearance of favoritism or impropriety
    • Do what’s right
    • Tell the truth and be direct
    • Be approachable

Professional Development Questions?

Cindy Bradfield


Email 4-2329

Thieme (TJ) Bittick

Talent Management

Email 4-2328