| 03.21.2018

Backed into a corner – Faculty Senate discusses problems with employee supervisor training modules


Members of the University of Idaho faculty voiced their grievances regarding the new training modules for employees and supervisors at the Jan. 26 meeting of Faculty Senate.

“It certainly has not been without its growing pains,” said Brian Foisy, vice president of Finance.

Foisy attended the previous Faculty Senate meeting to address senators” concerns and assure them appropriate changes would be made.

“What we rolled out was version 1.0,” Foisy said. “Not without bugs, certainly it wasn”t absolutely perfect.”

All employees are required to complete three training modules by April 5 – Our Inclusive Workplace, UI Stewardship of Resources and Ethical Conduct, and UI Mission and Goals. University supervisors are required to complete four additional modules by April 5 – Performance Management, Performance Evaluation, Navigating the Employment Legal Landscape, and Strategies for Selection and Hiring Success. Employees will be required to complete refresher trainings every three years.

Much of the criticism from Faculty Senate focused on the format of the modules. Many senators said they and other faculty in their departments were frustrated when they found they couldn”t skip forward to look at more content, and had to listen to the audio instructions that addressed subjects they had already read about.

“I think the biggest complaint I”ve heard is that it”s a very inefficient training mechanism,” said James Foster of the College of Science.

Other issues Foisy said he heard from faculty was that portions of the modules were overly specific and only applied to a few faculty members in certain departments.

Foisy said the State Board of Education requires that UI has a compliance program, and the training modules fit part of the requirement. The training modules were also developed in response to a request based on a campus and work climate survey in 2013 that showed staff were unsatisfied with the supervisory environment.

“Like it or not, that was the perception in 2013,” Foisy said

Foisy was open to criticism of the current modules, and even said it would likely be beneficial to the process of improving them in the future.

“To some extent we are backed into this corner,” he said. “But I will also say that even if we weren”t backed into this corner I think there are institutional opportunities where I would want to be in a corner anyway.”

Erin Bamer can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @ErinBamer

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