Summer Organization and Professional Development Courses

The Organization and Professional Development (OPD) team in MSU Human Resources is proud to offer a variety of courses to support you in achieving your goals. Since Educational Assistance benefits for support staff reset with the fall semester, use your remaining benefits this summer on a virtual course from OPD. All courses below are available over Zoom, so learning opportunities can go with you no matter where you are this summer. 


Grammar Refresher – Tuesday, July 12, from 9:00 a.m. to noon 

Crucial Conversations for Mastering Dialogue – Blended learning, with several August dates from 1:00–2:30 p.m. 

Human Resources 

Certified Human Resources Specialist (CHRS) – Thursdays, July 14, 21, 28, and August 11 from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Advanced CHRS – Tuesdays, August 9 and 16, from 8:30–4:30 p.m. 


Strategic Planning – Wednesday, August 17, from 1:00–3:00 p.m.


Performance Management for Hybrid Teams – Wednesday, June 22, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Building Cohesive Teams – Tuesday, July 19, from 9:00 a.m. to noon

Managing and Leading Across Locations – Tuesday, August 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Personal Development

The Power of Habit – Wednesday, July 13, from 8:30–4:30 p.m.

Ready, Set, Change – Tuesday, July 19, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – Wednesday, July 20, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – Thursday, August 25, from 8:30 a.m. to noon

You can find all current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign up through the EBS Portal. Questions? Contact Organization and Professional Development at

OPD Course Spotlight — Identify & Maximize Your Strengths

“What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?” ― Donald O. Clifton

How do you build better relationships at work? Find the right role to fit your talents? Have powerful, constructive conversations? Living your best life begins when you tap into your unique talents. Learn to Identify & Maximize Your Strengths in an upcoming workshop with HR Organization and Professional Development.

Identify & Maximize Your Strengths, presented in a live, virtual format via Zoom, is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for Tuesday, June 14, 2022, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Before this workshop, you will complete Gallup’s CliftonStrengths online assessment to determine your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. Then, attend the 4-hour Zoom session to receive your customized assessment results and participate in a series of structured discussions and reflection exercises to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and increased appreciation for others.

“Identify and Maximize Your Strengths is an introduction to the CliftonStrengths framework in which participants will take the assessment and review their results to explore what they naturally do best, identify the impacts of those talents on their work and relationships, and determine how to further develop these areas to be most successful,” explains course co-facilitator, David Robinson, Learning and Development Professional for MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities.

Lean Into Your Strengths

Often, when we think about learning and development, we’re working on our “weaknesses” — areas that could use improvement. One unique aspect of this workshop is its focus on your existing strengths. Discovering your strengths is just the beginning. Applying and investing in them sparks real change and growth.

Danielle Hook, course co-facilitator and Learning and Development Manager for MSU HR Organization and Professional Development, shares, “Identify and Maximize Your Strengths guides participants from the initial understanding of their results through the identification and implementation of strengths-based actions. It is through these actionable steps that we see the deeply meaningful impact of a strengths-based approach to the development of individuals and teams. Using the CliftonStrengths framework, we celebrate the unique talents and contributions of individuals as well as the diversity within our teams.”

Check out a preview of what you can expect from the CliftonStrengths assessment and Identify & Maximize Your Strengths:

Ready to Sign Up?

Register for an upcoming Identify & Maximize Your Strengths session in the EBS Portal by selecting the Courses for Employees at MSU tile under My Career and Training. Contact OPD at with questions about this workshop or inquiries regarding hosting this program for a group.

Register for an Upcoming Virtual Professional Development Course!

Whether you’ve jumped into the new year with a list of goals to work on or need a little inspiration, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you. Find a list of upcoming courses sorted by topic below.

Additionally, OPD wants to know your training preferences for the upcoming year. Complete this short questionnaire to help us ensure we’re best meeting your learning and development needs.

Business Analysis

Promapp, Interactive Process Creation – February 2 
Learners will continue their process improvement journey and build upon the knowledge and skills learned in Introduction to Process Mapping


Conflict Management and Non-Escalation: Train the Trainer – Starts January 19 
The goal of this course is to prepare participants to be able to provide instruction on the Vistelar proven methods to help others address the challenges of dealing with conflict and crisis. 

Crucial Conversations – Starts February 8 
Learn how to hold crucial conversations – where emotions and stakes are high and opinions vary. 

Finance and Accounting

Vendors in KFS – February 22 
This class will cover the various types of vendors in KFS and when to use them, how to add and edit a vendor, including documentation required, and tips on searching for a vendor.  

Human Resources

Certified Human Resources Specialist – Starts February 1 
In this five-class series, you will acquire an extensive set of reference materials and resources while building your professional HR network. 

Mitigating Bias in Hiring – February 10 
Learn about best practices and procedures for reducing potential bias in the screening and interview process and obtain tools for increasing understanding and self-awareness. 


Engaging Teams for Maximum Performance – January 25 
Learn methods of building trust, setting goals and providing feedback to help enhance employee engagement and working relationships. 

New Leader Development Series – Starts January 18 
Apply now  to join the next cohort of the new, nine-session NLDS. Kicking off January 18, this program equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources. 

Strategic Planning – February 17 
Participants will gain a foundational base for implementing strategic planning in a unit.


Building Cohesive Teams – January 26 
Learn methods for building collaboration within a team and skills for influencing team performance. 


Records Management and Retention at MSU – February 23 
Learn the rules, regulations, and strategies to help manage university records. 

Professional Development

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – February 15 
This course provides humorous insight into the seven habits of negativity, including tips to stop gossip, techniques for getting along with others, and strategies to reap the many benefits of a positive and engaged workforce. 

Everything DiSC®: Behavior Styles at Work – January 27 
Learn how to build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles. 

The Power of Habit – February 16  
Learn how habits are created and how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. 

Ready, Set, Change! – January 26 
This interactive and engaging course is appropriate for anyone responsible for implementing and guiding change in their organizations, such as leaders, project managers and their team members, HR professionals and more. 

You can find all the current virtual Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any). 

Leadership Blog Series: New Leadership Library and Leader Development Resources

Whether new to a supervisory role or a long-time manager, the best leaders are lifelong learners adaptable to change and flexible in their leadership style. The ongoing changes and unknowns brought on by COVID-19 have made it particularly clear that leaders must embrace the complexity of their roles, which demands new ideas and strategies to stay fresh and ahead of the curve.

Earlier this year, a small workgroup was formed at MSU to explore the learning development needs of those who find themselves leading in this “new normal.” The group identified the need for an easily accessible collection of relevant and applicable self-directed learning resources on a wide range of topics. To assist leaders in navigating challenges and handling their responsibilities with confidence, an online Leadership Library was created in August 2021.

Visit the new, online Leadership Library.

One member of the workgroup, Cindi Leverich, Director of Academic Leadership Development in the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development, explains, “As leaders continue to navigate the changing world of work, it is important to have a range of resources available in multiple modalities. The Leadership Library provides busy individuals a convenient list of articles, videos, and workshops on topics key to developing and supporting remote and hybrid teams.”

Updated regularly, the Leadership Library highlights curated content related to timely topics. Ideas for additional, relevant leadership resources are welcome and may be sent to for consideration.

Looking for additional leadership development opportunities?

Danielle Hook, Learning and Development Manager for HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department, shares, “The importance of professional development cannot be overstated. We also recognize the barriers to accessing meaningful learning are greater than ever. In response, we are exploring creative ways to differentiate our learning solutions to meet the increasingly diverse needs of our learners.”

Learn more about OPD’s new leadership programs and resources below.

New Leader Development Series (NLDS)

Apply now to join the next cohort of this nine-session series. Starting January 18, this program equips new leaders with a toolkit of crucial knowledge and resources.

Sessions cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leading in a Union Environment
  • Workforce Management and Strategic Staffing
  • Fostering an Inclusive Culture
  • Budget Responsibilities and Ethical Finance
  • Conflict Management
  • and more

Leadership Workshops

In addition to OPD’s popular, established courses around the topics of leadership and management, five new workshops for leaders were recently launched. Currently held via Zoom, registration will soon be available within EBS for the following classes:

  • Building Cohesive Teams
  • Conflict Management
  • Managing and Leading Across Multiple Locations
  • Performance Management for Hybrid Teams
  • Strategic Planning

Find out more about OPD’s upcoming course offerings.

elevateU Leadership Resources

On-demand, self-paced courses, videos, audiobooks and more are available to MSU employees via the free elevateU platform, including a Leadership Development section covering a wide range of leadership topics.

Access elevateU leadership resources.

Have questions regarding the above resources and opportunities? Contact OPD at for additional information.

OPD Course Spotlight — The Power of Habit

“If you believe you can change if you make it a habit the change becomes real.” ― Charles Duhigg

Consider this: what would your life look like if you actually did the things you believe you ought to?

Research shows that approximately 40-45% of what we do every day isn’t a result of deliberate decisions but rather out of habit. Habits affect performance more than talent, intelligence or luck, but it can be a challenge to control our habits to get the outcomes we want.

Have you acquired new or different habits throughout all the changes brought on by COVID-19? As we navigate the next phase of our professional and personal lives, University of Southern California research psychologist, Wendy Wood, explains, “We’re going to be faced with two sets of habits: pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. And we’ll have to choose which to repeat.”

As daunting as that might sound, you’re now in a perfect position to decide which habits you want to maintain going forward and any new habits you want to form. MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department’s workshop, The Power of Habit, can help.

The Power of Habit, presented in a live, virtual format via Zoom, is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for July 13, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Check out a preview of what you can expect from The Power of Habit.

Based on the bestseller by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit will teach you how habits work and how to develop effective habits using simple and precise skills grounded in science and research. Changing undesirable habits and creating new, healthy ones is not an innate trait nor something dependent on grit and willpower. Rather, habit formation is a skill that can be developed and strengthened. Discover how to master your automatic routines with the belief that almost any habit can be reshaped once you understand how — and why — it was formed in the first place.

Ready to learn more? Register for an upcoming The Power of Habit session in the EBS Portal, or contact OPD at or 517-355-0813 for additional information.

Fall 2021 Professional Development Courses

Whether you’re working from a remote workspace or transitioning back to campus, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you reach your professional goals. New courses designed to assist with the university’s return to on-site work are now available for registration in addition to other popular classes around a variety of topics.

New Course Offerings

  • Conflict Management and Non-Escalation | August 30 AND 31: The primary goals of this course are conflict resolution, de-escalation, crisis management, and everyone’s safety. This training will prepare participants to apply skills to real-life situations and to retain those skills over time. Registration closes August 13.
  • Building Cohesive Teams | September 15: Explore strategies to increase team cohesiveness and establish positive day-to-day interactions to enhance communication, build team awareness and cultivate trustworthiness in the work culture.
  • Managing and Leading Across Locations | September 29: Teams working from multiple locations may encounter a unique set of challenges. In this course, you’ll learn the difference between managing and leading and what effective leadership entails in this new environment.
  • Strategic Planning | October 13: Identify how to move from ideas to action in this hands-on workshop. Participants will gain a foundational base for implementing strategic planning in a unit.
  • Performance Management for Hybrid Teams | October 27: While the overall goal of performance management is the same across all types of settings, it is important to consider how the process should be adapted to better support and develop employees working in hybrid teams. Learn tips and strategies for developing strong and high performing hybrid teams using MSU’s Performance Excellence process.

Additional Instructor-led Course Offerings

Many more professional development classes are being offered over the next few months. Learn more about select courses below and view all current Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website.

Business Analysis

  • Process Mapping Series | Begins September 1: Gain the knowledge and skills needed to confidently begin your process improvement journey. Explore the basics of process mapping and key terminology with hands-on exercises and an opportunity to begin using the interactive process mapping tool, Promapp.


Customer Service

Human Resources


Personal Development

  • Identify and Maximize Your Strengths | September 2: Complete a CliftonStrengths Assessment to learn more about your natural patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, so that you can discover what makes you exceptional and maximize your potential.
  • READY, Set, Change! | September 9: Discover a framework to help you guide yourself and others through common change management scenarios including new programs, technological platforms, and systems.

Employees may use available educational assistance funds toward course fees, if any. Ready to enroll? Visit the EBS Portal for registration and reach out to OPD at with any questions.

OPD Course Spotlight – Crucial Conversations

Written by MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Problem: We feel stuck or are not achieving what we want in a variety of areas, ranging from awkward or failing relationships to dysfunctional teams to cost, quality, or safety problems at work.

Solution: Learn how to identify the crucial conversations that are the key to organizational, team, and interpersonal success.

Crucial Conversations, a two-day live, online course from HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD), is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds to pay for this program.

Who can benefit from Crucial Conversations? Frankly…everyone.

MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist and Crucial Conversations instructor, Kathie Elliott, explains, “Crucial Conversations is for anyone who would like to understand first how our own viewpoint can make an issue seem worse than it is, then use a flexible template for holding results-oriented and respectful conversations with others.”

Attend OPD’s Crucial Conversations to learn the following skills and principles:

  • Identify the right problem to hold the right conversation.
  • Stay focused on what you really want when motives degrade.
  • Take control of your emotions instead of losing your cool.
  • Speak persuasively, not abrasively.
  • Watch for signs that safety is at risk and make it safe to talk.
  • Help others into dialogue when they’re feeling hurt, scared, or defensive.
  • Go from talking to getting results.

Whenever you’re not getting the results you want, it’s likely an important conversation either hasn’t happened or hasn’t been handled well. At the heart of healthy and high-performance organizations are people willing and able to hold crucial conversations.

So, what makes a conversation crucial? Three elements: strong emotions, high stakes, and opposing opinions.

Image of a triangle with the words "crucial conversations" in the center. On each side is a phrase: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes.

When conversations turn crucial, people tend to follow one of two ineffective paths: they either speak directly and abrasively to get the results they want but harm relationships, or they remain silent with the hope of preserving relationships only to sacrifice results. Crucial Conversations, grounded in decades of social science research, gives you powerful skills to step into disagreement—rather than over or around it—and turn disagreement into dialogue for improved relationships and results.

A recent Crucial Conversations participant shares, “The class was helpful because it gives a step-by-step way to communicate effectively that does not leave any room for ambiguity. I learned that it is all I can do to get out my side of the story, but it is crucial to get feedback from the other side so you can meet in the middle somewhere.”

Ready to learn the tools for promoting open, honest dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics? Register for an upcoming Crucial Conversations session in the EBS Portal, or contact for additional information.

OPD Course Spotlight – Everything DiSC®: Behavioral Styles at Work


“Inspiring and fun”

“True game changer”

Everything DiSC®, a popular virtual training and personalized learning experience from HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD), has earned rave reviews from participants and is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for July 20, 2022.

The DiSC® program provides you with a pre-course, individual assessment — a tool powered by more than 40 years of research — which is then analyzed to deliver detailed information regarding your preferences and tendencies. The live, online portion of the course, led by OPD’s knowledgeable and experienced DiSC® facilitators, offers an opportunity to learn more about relating to others and how to utilize actionable strategies to help you improve your interactions and, ultimately, your performance.

In this OPD course, you will:

  • Gain insights into your own behaviors and those of others.
  • Understand and appreciate the work styles of others.
  • Learn how to communicate and persuade more effectively.
  • Create strategies for overcoming challenges when working with people of different DiSC® styles.

“Everything DiSC® can benefit everyone in an organization,” explains Carrie Galdes, MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist and DiSC® facilitator. “The program teaches participants to understand themselves and others while learning to appreciate the different priorities and values each person brings to the workplace.”

DiSC® participants have cited everything from decreased stress to increased productivity to an improved work environment as examples of the program’s positive results.

Angela Levack Michael, Associate Director for MSU Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, notes, “DiSC® training helped me see my colleagues from a different point of view. Understanding their personality styles allowed me to assess my communication style and gear interactions towards their strengths.”

DiSC® for Teams

OPD also hosts unit-specific DiSC® sessions, which can improve engagement, collaboration, and overall quality of a team and organization.

Lisa Duffey, Executive Staff Assistant and Graduate Program Assistant in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, shares, “Our team took advantage of the work-from-home situation to do some professional development and team building by taking the DiSC® assessment and having OPD help us understand the results. We learned about our own behavioral tendencies and those of our coworkers as well as ideas about how to facilitate teamwork and approach each other when things are awkward. It was an excellent opportunity for growth as individuals and as a team.”

Interested in learning more? Register for an upcoming Everything DiSC session in the EBS Portal, or complete an online OPD Work Request Form to schedule a DiSC® program for your department.

The Three Steps to Positive Personal Accountability

Written by Andrea Williams, MSU HR Organization & Professional Development

When many of us think of accountability, we associate it with negative connotations such as stress or even fear. We’re used to hearing about “accountability” as a disciplinary measure when something’s gone wrong. Because of this, many of us don’t understand what accountability actually entails, why it’s important, or where it starts.

The first step toward fostering positive, personal accountability, as well as a culture of accountability in the workplace, is to understand and redefine what true accountability means. Accountability doesn’t mean punishment. Rather, accountability is an empowering factor, not a consequence, and involves a willingness to accept responsibility for your own actions. In other words, making clear commitments that — in the eyes of yourself and others — have been kept.

Accountability vs. Responsibility

Although they’re sometimes used interchangeably, it’s important to make the distinction between accountability and responsibility. Having clear definitions of responsibilities in the workplace is essential but going a step further to be personally involved ensures better results. When you make the choice to go beyond your responsibilities with feelings of ownership, involvement, and engagement, you are then in a position of personal and positive accountability.

Accountability is a broader concept than responsibility — it’s something you do to yourself, not something that someone does to you. As such, accountability starts with you. No matter what your role at MSU, when you work toward personal accountability, you model the positive behaviors you want to see in your team and organization.

Create a Personal Accountability Framework

Accountability is not a one-time or occasional thing; it’s an everyday activity that applies to and benefits everyone. Take a simple and positive approach to establish ongoing personal accountability by following these three steps.

Step #1: Set SMART, HARD Goals

To begin, ask yourself the questions: What are my priorities? What am I passionate about? What do I want?

Establish a definite direction and clear, measurable goals that align with what’s important to you to keep motivated and achieve better follow-through. Ensure your goals are formulated to achieve results by using a combination of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) and HARD (Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult) goal-setting frameworks described in this When SMART Meets HARD: Setting Goals that Matter article.

Step #2: Develop an Action Plan

Once you have established a SMART, HARD goal, develop an action plan to bring it to fruition.

  1. Identify limiting factors – It could be a shortage of time or resources, a lack of buy-in, or any other number of issues. Be realistic about any limitations and prepared with potential workarounds.
  2. Remove obstacles – Very few obstacles are insurmountable. Think first about the biggest obstacle you’ll likely face in reaching your goal. How can you overcome it?
  3. Divide your goal into subgoals – Utilize the SMART and HARD frameworks for your subgoals to give yourself the best chance of success.
  4. Plan actions for each subgoal – What are the specific, actionable steps you’ll take to reach each subgoal?

Step #3: Manage Priorities and Energy to Achieve Your Goals

It’s essential to recognize that time and energy are finite resources, and it benefits you to intentionally prioritize how you use both. When moving forward on your path to personal accountability, categorize the tasks that will help you complete your goals into three categories and assess the time and energy they require:

  1. Maintenance tasks – These are the routine tasks that must be done for your day to run smoothly (e.g., answering messages, maintaining your calendar). Avoid becoming overinvolved in these tasks or becoming distracted while doing them. Develop strategies to help. For example, schedule specific times during the day when you check and respond to your messages and have an effective system to keep information in order.
  2. People tasks – Whether it’s a meeting, interview, or social interaction with a colleague, these activities often require high emotional energy, so be mindful to pace yourself.
  3. Creative and analytical tasks – These can be anything from time spent developing a presentation to researching suppliers to analyzing data. This work typically requires significant time and energy, so ensure you plan out sufficient periods for these tasks during the days and timeframes that make the most sense for your work style and preferences.

Follow-through is a critical component of personal accountability. To avoid stalling out before your goals and commitments are realized, protect your time and prioritize activities that keep your physical, emotional, and mental energy reserves high.

Interested in Learning More?

Personal and team success are closely linked to positive accountability. When you take actionable steps to demonstrate personal accountability, it can generate a strong impact on not just performance and results, but also your personal and team satisfaction. Find additional resources around the topic of accountability, including short videos and courses, using MSU’s free online resource, elevateU.


Skillsoft Ireland Limited. Developing a Personal Accountability Framework. Retrieved February 10, 2021 from

Skousen, Tracy (2016, April 12). Responsibility vs. Accountability. Retrieved February 10, 2021 from

Tredgold, Gordon (2017, September 14). 7 Truths About Accountability that You Need to Know. Retrieved February 11, 2021 from

Upcoming Virtual Professional Development Courses

Whether you’ve jumped into the new year with a list of goals to work on or need a little inspiration, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you. Find a list of upcoming courses sorted by topic below. You’ll see some familiar course names now offered in a virtual format, alongside some newer courses like Managing Employees Remotely and The Power of Habit.


Customer Service

Human Resources



  • Managing Employees Remotely – January 20: Shifting to remote work has required changes in our perspectives and approaches to work, and successfully managing employees in this environment means strengthening new and different skills. Learn more about how to do just that in this new, one-hour virtual course.


  • Query Studio – January 27: Query Studio is an ad hoc reporting tool that can be used to produce queries against enterprise data (HR and Finance) as well as additional data that has been added to the dimensional models in MSU’s enterprise data warehouse.
  • Records Management and Retention at MSU – February 25: Learn the rules, regulations, and strategies to help manage university records. Class will cover both electronic and print documents.

Personal Development

  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – January 14: Everything DiSC® helps you build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles.
  • The Power of Habit – February 23: In this course you will learn how habits are created and how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. You will learn how to spot your habit loop, turn bad days into good data, and create habits that get the results you want.

You can find all the current virtual Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any).