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DSA Staff Professional Development

Learning and Growth for All

We believe that professional development is essential to promoting excellence within a learning organization. 

The professional development blueprint is an investment in our staff’s learning and growth. It includes nine initiatives, which will be introduced and piloted in 2023.

No matter your learning style, your title, or years of experience, there is something for you in this plan.To match different learning styles, the initiatives come in different formats: 

  • Structured Learning Opportunities
  • Informal, Small Group Development
  • Experience-Based Development

Upcoming Initiatives

Staff will receive information about each initiative as they are introduced. Coming up in Summer 2023:

  • Career Mentoring & Networking program pilot begins
  • Book Club introduced 

The Blueprint 

Structure Learning Opportunities 

Anticipated Rollout: Summer/Fall 2023 

The onboarding and the first year of the new employee experience are critical. 

The new employee experience program will involve a divisional welcome orientation, and optional sessions throughout the employee's first year to build connections in the division, learn more about the UMD campus, and provide skill development. 

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023 

Offered monthly, these sessions provide staff opportunities to build skills, knowledge, and abilities personally and professionally. 

  • Each month will focus on one of the eight dimensions of wellness.
  • Staff will deepen their knowledge about each dimension and create action to engender reflection and awareness.

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023

A community of practice for full-time DSA employees who manage students. Participants will learn how to best support student employees through

  • educational sessions
  • resource sharing
  • peer-to-peer discussion

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023 

Human skills are necessary to create inclusive workplaces, develop others, and foster healthy relationships. This program will focus on:

  • developing leaders as coaches
  • managing conflict
  • creating psychologically safe environments, & giving and receiving feedback.

Participants will identify a real leadership challenge and have other participants support in coming up with solutions and approaches to solving their challenge.

Informal, Small Group Development Series 

Introduced in Spring 2023 

This program pairs DSA staff in mentor/mentee relationships. Through regular meetings, pairs will share resources and experiences with each other, and create action plans that support the mentee’s development. 

Applications for the Summer 2023 cohort are now closed!  


Anticipated Rollout: Summer 2023 

Book clubs allow socializing and connecting with others who share an  interest in reading. The DSA Book Club will focus on a relevant topic that impacts staff, skill development, and organizational health. 

The books we will offer are:

Our book clubs will be led by volunteers who will facilitate discussion, impact, and shared learning. Timelines for each book are forthcoming. 

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023 

Professional and personal development learning circles are small, informal, organized groups of staff who are passionate about self-improvement. Similar to affinity and interest spaces, they will meet to share knowledge, support one another, and build connections. 

Some examples of groups could be productivity hacks, time management, student development from theory to practice, supervising staff, etc.

Experience-Based Development

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023 

The Fellowship Experience gives Student Affairs staff professional opportunities in departments outside their own. This program will help staff members:

  • learn about new workplace cultures
  • increase their skills and knowledge
  • gain insight into areas of interest, 
  • gain an understanding of various roles within the division. 

How to participate:

  • open to exempt & non-exempt employees.
  • application expected to open in Fall 2023
  • selected participants will be onboarded with the department and meet with their fellowship sponsor to determine learning objectives for the experience. 

Anticipated Rollout: Fall 2023 

This pilot program invites staff to apply to complete a project or participate in an approved initiative that may interest them and/or help them gain skills and knowledge. These projects would be solicited from DSA departments with timelines and deliverables.

How to participate

Participants will apply and take part in a review process. If selected, participants will be onboarded with the department and meet with their insourcing sponsor to determine deliverables, and timeline with the department contact.


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