CIE team members come together for Fall 2011 Professional Development Day


On Monday, August 15, staff members from every component of Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE) gathered for the fall 2011 Professional Development Day. The event marked the launch of the new school year, and provided a great opportunity for everyone to get up-to-date on both division-wide and university-wide goals. The day was made up of equal parts picnic, meeting and professional development.

View the photo gallery below.

“CIE is people,” said Dean Judy Ashcroft. “We have a collection of some of the most interesting, diverse, incredible, fantastic, talented people who not only are super-smart but have the heart of a continuing educator which makes it possible for us to give access to quality education to anyone who desires it. Our staff is energetic and business-minded. When we all get together, it reinforces the work we do.”

The day kicked off with a lunchtime picnic at Under the Oaks in the Thompson Conference Center (TCC). Staff members enjoyed hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, beans, lemonade, iced tea and all the classic ingredients of a Texas cookout. The staff then broke into small groups of no more than 8 people made up of workers from the various CIE components. The goal was to integrate team members from different components and functions to give everyone an opportunity to meet new people and discover even more about the breadth of programs and services provided by CIE. In the facilitated discussions, everyone was encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas about the challenges of the previous year and their goals for the coming year.

The staff then moved upstairs to the main meeting room in the Thompson Conference Center (TCC) to hear from three of CIE’s unit leaders: John Hoopingarner of the Petroleum Extension Service (PETEX), Liliya Spinazzola of the Professional Development Center (PDC) and Pat Watson of the TCC. John, Liliya and Pat were each given 9 minutes to share a new best practice adopted by their organizations based on a leadership challenge they met in the previous year.

At the next staff meeting in January, leaders from the remaining CIE components, K-16 Education Center, University Extension (UEX) and University of Texas-University Charter School, will give similar presentations.

Dean Ashcroft took the podium to share university information with the staff and her hopes for CIE’s future. She outlined three words to guide our efforts in the coming year: “Access – access to education, access to opportunity; relevance – relevance of curriculum, relevance of business practices; and quality – we have the highest quality because our students deserve it and that’s what we need to be proud of. Those three words will keep us on track. If we keep those three words in mind, everything else will fall into place.”

Her presentation concluded with recognizing the great work and dedication of Monica Mercado, CIE’s Fall 2011 Truly Outstanding Performer (TOP) Award winner. Look to this blog for an upcoming interview with Monica about this great achievement and honor.

Assistant Dean Stacy McCracken then introduced a professional development video presentation from John Maxwell, a leadership expert and the best-selling author of “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” John Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries worldwide.

When asked why she enjoys events like the CIE Professional Development Day, Dean Ashcroft responded, “I’ve been at the university for 17 years. At events like this, I get to see friends who have been my friends for over a decade. I get to see people that I hired and who have blossomed and flourished in their roles. I get to see people that I’ve seen through difficult circumstances. There are so many fantastic people in CIE and, at events like this one, I get to see them and catch up with them. It energizes me to be in the company of this wonderful staff.”

Click on any of the images below to be open a photo gallery from CIE's Fall 2011 Professional Development Day.


Lunch at Under the Oaks.

Pat Watson and Mayda Cruz welcome staff.

Dean Judy Ashcroft at the Fall 2011 CIE Professional Development Day.

Linda Glessner a the Fall 2011 Professional Development Day.

Team members break into round table discussions.

Carol Tremaine and Gisela Greco take part in round table discussion

CIE staff assembles to hear presentations.

Monica Mercado receives her TOP Award from Dean Judy Ashcroft

Arthur Munoz and Yuteh Ma.

Diane York and Maureen Lidell of the K-16 Education Center.

PETEX director John Hoopingarner.

Gwyn Boyter and Cindy Story at the CIE Professional Development Day..


Tags: top award, photo gallery, monica mercado, judy ashcroft, cie professional development day,