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What’s in a theme?

Learn how to make small changes that have big impact at the Professional Development Conference.

By Kathleen Jewby

May 7, 2019

MSU Denver employees sitting in a classroom working on a thinking exercise.This year’s Professional Development Conference theme aims to “Shape Our Systems for Collective Success.”

But what does that mean? And what will you gain from attending the event? 

System dynamics and systems thinking are formative in our lives, looking at the complexity of how objects, people and animals interact with one another over time. Integral to this is seeing the whole rather than the parts, or interconnected relationships instead of isolated pieces. Peter Senge, author of “The Fifth Discipline,” summarizes in this two-minute video.

President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., has also given us a great example of systems thinking by challenging what success looks like for universities. While colleges are evaluated by four-year completion rates, higher education as a whole can leave out students who work full-time and attend school part-time, have an emergency and take time off, or are caretakers balancing their education with the needs of their family. The current system does not have a way to measure success in relationship to nontraditional students, an important part of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s mission. By bringing attention to and addressing how we can measure college accessibility holistically, we can more effectively serve our students and maintain the American dream of upward mobility.

Breakout sessions will explain systems thinking through different lenses. Here are a few of the event’s 29 session options:

  • Introduction to Process Improvement: Operational Excellence – presented by Sarah Buller, process-transformation specialist
  • Shaping Career Success: Building Links Between Campus Employment and Future Careers – presented by Rhonda Eaker, director, Applied Learning Center; Bridgette Coble, director, Office of Career Services; and Adrienne Martinez, executive director of college-to-career initiatives
  • Kick Down Those Silos! – presented by Amber Mozet, coordinator of the Center for Equity and Student Achievement and special projects

Inclusive Leadership encourages everyone to take ownership of their work and shape our systems for collective success. By attending this year’s conference, you’ll gain tools to understand and shape the systems we’re all a part of, including MSU Denver.

When a system is improved, whether through a process, policy or perception, everyone benefits. One small change amplifies impact because every individual experiences the improvement, creating greater collective success. 

Register for the Professional Development Conference on May 30, and learn more on the PDC webpage.

Topics: Events

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