OPD Course Spotlight – Maximizing the Spartan Experience: Customer Service Training

“All of your customers are partners in your mission.” – Shep Hyken

In higher education, we serve an enormous variety of customers — everyone from colleagues to students to granting agencies. Realizing the importance of high-quality service and effective communication can lead to increasingly satisfied customers. MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department offers a live, virtual course designed to help you take your customer service skills to the next level and provide what’s referred to at MSU as “The Spartan Experience.”

Maximizing the Spartan Experience is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for January 13, and April 21, 2022, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.

This updated and engaging version of the popular The Spartan Experience training provides a foundational perspective related to enhanced customer service delivery and is based around high, clear, and concise customer service expectations that are the key to maximizing opportunities in engagement, inclusivity, and Delivering Outstanding Spartan Experiences (DOSE).

In this OPD course, you will learn how to:

  • Communicate effectively with customers
  • Create a positive first impression
  • Develop and maintain high customer service standards
  • Plan for great customer service

Todd Bradley, MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist, brings his trademark positivity and extensive expertise when facilitating Maximizing the Spartan Experience, explaining, “High morale, enthusiasm, and positive engagement are all desired outcomes of this course.” For a quick preview, check out Todd’s recent Todd Talk video regarding this topic.

Recent course participant, Christie Provost-Perkins, Operations Coordinator for the MSU College of Nursing, shares, “I truly enjoyed attending Maximizing the Spartan Experience. The class reinforced essential customer service skills but also took a deeper dive. It expanded on the topic in new and interesting ways. I also appreciated how well the content was delivered in the virtual format. Real world examples and discussion added to an engaging presentation. This was one of the first professional development courses I’ve been able to attend, and it set a high bar.”

Ready to learn more? Register for an upcoming Maximizing the Spartan Experience session in the EBS Portal, or contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu or 517-355-0813 for additional information.

Mental Health Resources for Employees

Whether you’re a parent working from home while taking care of kids, an employee on the frontlines, or someone dealing with grief and loss, everyone’s mental health continues to be affected by the pandemic. While it can be difficult to ask for help, there are a variety of resources available to assist you as an MSU employee.

Support Groups and Learning Opportunities

The following virtual courses and meetups are available (some require registration) from MSU Health4U and the MSU WorkLife Office:

  • MSU Grief and Loss Support: Specialized counselors facilitate weekly online support sessions on Tuesdays for those experiencing grief and loss.
  • Coping 2.0: During the pandemic, our coping strategies were tested. This virtual course on June 1 is an overview of our coping strategies and why they seem to be failing at certain times. The class will review what our brain is doing during times of stress and teach brain-based coping strategies that can be accessed any time they are needed. At the end of this class, the participant will leave with a variety of coping skills and how to use them effectively.
  • Virtual Health and Well-Being Sampler Series: Health4U is offering an all virtual ‘Health and Well Being Sampler Series’ to units and departments at MSU. The Sampler Series is designed to provide MSU employees with a taste of the classes, programs, and services that are offered by the professional staff of the Health4U program. Participating MSU Units will have the chance to map out a custom, six-week course suite with classes in the focus areas of Emotional Wellness, Food & Nutrition, and Movement & Fitness.
  • Mental Health & COVID: What are we up against? How does COVID-19 impact our mental health? How do we care for ourselves and others? What resources are available and how do we access them? Let’s talk about these and other important questions as we address the intersection of physical health and mental health in the COVID19 pandemic. This event with the WorkLife Office is on May 13 – please register using the link in the course name.
  • Self-Care and COVID: We know that “self-care” is a buzzword we’re hearing all over the place lately, but what does it really mean? We’re here to tell you that it’s more than chocolate and bubble baths – although those are great too! Talk with us about ways in which we notice that we are in need of some care and how it’s possible even in the midst of a pandemic. We all need to take care of ourselves, so let’s look at how to make those lovely thoughts a reality. This event with the WorkLife Office is on May 20 – please register using the link in the course name.

Employee Assistance Program Counseling Services

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU faculty, staff, retirees, graduate student employees, and their families. Learn how to make an appointment on the EAP website. These appointments are offered virtually through Zoom.

Teladoc and Best Doctors Services

As a reminder, benefit-eligible employees also have access to Teladoc and Best Doctors Behavioral Health Navigator for mental health services. Teladoc offers 24/7 access to a healthcare professional via web, phone or mobile app for employees enrolled in an MSU health plan. Employees and their dependents over 18 can also receive medical care for behavioral health (depression, anxiety, grief counseling, addiction, etc.). If deemed medically necessary, a prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice. The Behavioral Health Navigator can help you get a second opinion on any medical opinions and access to coaching and online educational tools.

Your mental health is a priority, and we want to ensure you are aware — and can take advantage — of the many mental health resources available to MSU employees.

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).