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Feb. 10, 2011 Volume 32, No. 19

Certificate program aims to prepare and improve first-line supervisors


Nearly 1,500 employees have signed up

Employees who are promoted to managerial positions often lack the preparation, training and tools to be a successful supervisor.

To better prepare them to meet this challenge, MU’s Missouri Training Institute, in collaboration with Human Resource Services, has developed a program for workers who already are in supervisory positions, as well as for employees looking to advance into management.

“Working with Missouri Training Institute to develop a certificate series for first-line supervisors has been a wonderful experience for Human Resource Services,” says Karen Touzeau, assistant vice chancellor for Human Resources Services. “We looked at different vendors to help us develop some of the 21 courses that are part of the program. After meeting with MTI staff, we realized they offered the best options for developing the programs on our list. They are experienced, creative, flexible, open to new ideas and are wonderful presenters. The course evaluations from participants have been excellent.”

The MU First Line Supervisory Certificate was originally designed two years ago for Campus Facilities, Residential Life and Campus Dining employees. In 2010, it was opened to departments across campus. During the past two years, 1,495 people have registered for the program.

The courses in the certificate series are customized to provide supervisors with resources needed to direct and motivate their employees, such as training in budget management and fiscal responsibility. The training also helps teach supervisors how to conduct effective meetings and build successful work teams, as well as fair and effective discipline, accountability and coaching.

Employees can complete a combination of 12 mandatory and optional classes to receive a non-degree certificate from the university or just take classes as needed. The three-hour classes cost $50 and meet in Cornell Hall. A few are offered online, like the university’s policy on family and medical leave and violence in the work place. Participants seeking a certificate can expect to complete the course work in three years, says

Gay Albright, director of business development at the institute and one of the program’s designers. 

“This is a bargain, compared to going off campus for the same training,” Albright said.

The Missouri Training Institute is part of the Trulaske College of Business. For more than a quarter of a century it has provided professional development training and consulting services to businesses, government agencies and institutions of higher education.

 “Since we opened this certificate series program up to the whole university, we have received a number of people coming from all departments on campus,” Albright said, adding that every class is offered in rotation each fall and winter semester.

Along with the willingness to improve professionally and to became a certified first-line supervisor, it is hoped that participants will learn how to motivate employees and improve the relationships they have with workers, Albright says. 

“That is the number one goal,” she says. “They can become better supervisors by attending this training and that would mean employees are more motivated, productive, want to continue to stay and work for them and we have less turnover.”

Because the supervisors come from different units across campus, they have the opportunity to network with people they don’t normally see or know, Albright says.

“It is helpful to hear that others are experiencing similar problems,” she says. “This is a good networking opportunity, a good way to learn about how others manage employees in their units.”

For details about the program, classes and registration, go to or call Albright at 882-2403.