Recipients of the Professional Excellence Certificate had their eyes on the future on July 17 during a graduation ceremony hosted by Duke’s Learning & Organization Development.
In all, 139 University and Health System employees received certificates in one of seven disciplines from Learning & Organization Development (L&OD): Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, Training, Customer Service, Supervisory, Leadership and Technical.
“Investing in our employee population is absolutely essential,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke’s vice president for administration who offered remarks during the ceremony in Penn Pavilion on West Campus. “We need to continue providing our workforce with the skills needed to support Duke’s strategic direction.”
To earn a certificate, employees take three to four core courses along with two to four electives. Typically, that means about 72 hours of L&OD courses.
Sharena Ballard, program coordinator for the Duke-UNC Brain Imaging & Analysis Center, earned certificates in the administrative assistant and executive assistant categories. The program inspired her to investigate pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business.
“I never thought I would return to school,” Ballard said. “Earning the certificates gave me confidence. I’m ready to keep learning and growing.”
About 350 employees have received certificates since the program launched in 2014. Another 2,500 are currently pursuing an L&OD certificate in one of the seven disciplines.
“This is a journey,” said Keisha Williams, assistant vice president of L&OD. “We’re teaching the participants to have the skills needed to move their career and Duke forward.”
Cindi Wood, a lieutenant for the Duke University Police Department, completed the supervisory certificate and is working on a certificate for leadership excellence. She supervises about 25 officers and signed up for the program to learn how to manage different personality types.
L&OD instructors taught Wood how to practice active listening, maintain positive body language and find the right tools to motivate employees.
“The certificates should act as a bridge for my employees,” Wood said. “I want to use the skills I picked up to motivate my team into pursuing leadership roles. I want to inspire them to always strive for more.”
Here is the full list of graduates:
Emilia Chiscop Head
Edward “Jamie” Mills
Walter Crevoiserat Jr
Aijun (Anna) Li
Margaret “Peg” Rood
Michelle St. Pierre-Gurganus
Mary Jo Smith
Customer Service Excellence
Yashaundra (Shonie) Taylor
Administrative Assistant of Excellence
Sharon W. Evans
Elizabeth “Lizz” Hawkey
Carolina Tennyson Laws
Vickie Z. Waters
Executive Assistant of Excellence
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