Home grown development


Chioggia Beets, by Mason Masteka.  Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/masonmasteka/4804101259/, and used according to a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Most of us have traveled to learn from national figures in our respective fields.   This week I partook of professional development closer to home.

Students in the Training and Development class (part of the Master’s of Leadership Studies Program)  held a series of workshops.  I attended one entitled “What’s your Problem?”.  The presenters offered strategies for examining a problem.  We got to try these ideas in hands-on exercises.  The trainers also discussed potential blocks (fear of failure, inability to isolate the problem,  etc. ) to problem solving:.

The series demonstrated the potential of internal staff development.  Depending upon learning needs such education can take on different forms: learning communities (Signorelli & Reed, 2011), in-house workshops, or even simply talking (Palmer, 1993).  The point is that professional development does not have to mean conferences.

Conferences have their place.  So do other forms of professional development.  Let’s salute the student trainers!  Let’s salute home-grown learning opportunities!


Palmer, P. J. (1993). Good talk about good teaching: Improving teaching through conversation and community. Change, 25(6), 8-13.  doi: 10.1080/00091383.1993.9938466

Signorelli, P., & Reed, L. (2011). Professional growth through learning communities: Knowledge comes with teamwork and fun–all across the organization. American Libraries, 42(5/6),