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Learning and Development

Current Programs: Spring 2015


All full-time and part-time staff and faculty at Smith along with the other Five Colleges are encouraged to enroll in these programs.


Registrations will be accepted throughout the semester on a space-available basis. Select your workshops, check with your supervisor and submit your registration in one of three ways:

Waitlist Policy

When a class is full, participants will be waitlisted in the order in which their registration was received. Participants are notified once space becomes available. If there is an adequate number of waitlisted participants, we will offer the class again as soon as feasible.


In order to better evaluate our professional development programs, we ask that you complete a Workshop Evaluation Form after attending one of the sessions. If you have questions, please contact Avril Russell in Human Resources at (413) 585-2271 or e-mail hrdev@smith.edu.

Professional Development

Straighten Up — Personal Organization Skills (500)

Pamela Kristan, author of Awakening in Time: Practical Time Management For Those On A Spiritual Path

Experience the 4–point Straighten Up! strategy to get your desk, your files, and your life in order. This is an intuitive, sensible, fun, and effective 90 minute workshop to help develop personal organization skills. Facilitator will also provide (9) — 15 minute individual consultations at the employee's desk to help improve organization.

Thursday, April 9, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Campus Center, room 205

Make It So: On–the–Ground Project Management (501)

Pamela Kristan, author of Awakening in Time: Practical Time Management For Those On A Spiritual Path

Do you feel as if you have great ideas but have difficulties turning them into day–to–day operations? In this workshop, you will learn a 5–step project management model to make your ideas a reality. You will also learn effective time management and communication skills that support your projects. Participants are encouraged to bring one project to use as a case-study and for hands on experience.

Thursday, March 5, 9 a.m. to noon
Campus Center, room 205

Preparing for Your Performance Evaluation (502)

Jenny Silver, Human Resources, Smith College

Preparing for your performance evaluation can be a daunting task, but it is important process that all employees should complete. Participants will learn the psychology of performance reviews, how to get the most out of the review process and how to prepare for the review. Come learn strategies and tips that will help you get started in the right direction.

Friday, March 13, 10 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Human Resources, 30 Belmont Avenue, conference room

25 Live (503)

Kathy San Antonio, Events Management

25Live is the tool used to request space and resources for your events. Whether reserving space for an event is something you do frequently or rarely, learning some "tips and tricks" and the best way to navigate the request form is sure to be beneficial to you. Some of the highlights of this session will include: getting information about your event as soon as you need it, who to call if you're not sure who's responsible for your request, how to find available space, how to request a change, and other topics that will help clarify this mystifying process. The first part of the work will be a demonstration, with adequate time at the end for answering your questions.

Wednesday, March 4, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Campus Center, room 205

Write Right — three part series (504)

Sue Kline, EANE Business Communications

Are you interested in enhance your communication skills in the workplace? This workshop is an all focused, practical, and fast-paced program designed to address questions about email communication, common grammar mistakes and proofreading. Participants are encouraged to take all three classes and earn a certificate in Written Communication.

Slaying the Email Dragon — March 11

Few innovations have transformed the world of communications the way e–mail has for business, government, education, marketing, and personal uses. There's no better time than the present to figure out how to compose effective, correct and professional e–mail message. In this 90–minute class, you will master 10 practical email guidelines reinforced with examples and exercises.

Repair the Grammar Gaffes — March 25

So complex, so many rules. Grammar can seem like a daunting project. No matter who the employees are or what their education level is, people manage to make plenty of mistakes in their use of the English language: "who" or "whom," "I" or "me," "he" or "him," "went" or "gone," "is" or "are." In this highly interactive workshop, you will learn to detect the 10 most common grammar errors in writing and speaking — and correct them in all your workplace communication.

Perfect Proofreading — April 8

How embarrassing it is when an important document is tarnished by a glaring mistake! Readers are likely to form an impression of sloppiness, inattention to detail, or even incompetence. Now is the time to eliminate the blunders — whether they are typographical errors, misspelled names, mismatched days and dates, doubled or missing words, errors in punctuation and capitalization, or inconsistent format. This workshop will provide guidelines, strategies, and useful tools to hone your proofreading skills and apply them in practical exercises. The result? You will have the skills you need to spot mistakes confidently and make sure that workplace messages are error-free.

Wednesdays, March 11, March 25 and April 8, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, room 103/104

Managerial Effectiveness (for managers and supervisors)

Managing Difficult Conversations During the Performance Review Process (505)

Jenny Silver, Human Resources, Smith College

In this round table discussion, participants will review strategies involved in conducting effective performance reviews, practical tips for success and pitfalls to avoid. We will discuss:

  • The psychology of performance reviews
  • Why we conduct them
  • Preparing for the performance review
  • Identifying employee problems and strengths
  • Common appraisal errors
  • Tips for writing performance reviews and providing feedback

Thursday, February 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Human Resources, 30 Belmont Avenue, conference room

Money Matters

Retirement Fundamentals for the Beginner Investor (506)

Mary Ellen Gordon, CRPC, CEBS, CFS, financial adviser, ING

Have you ever wondered how much money you would need to retire, or maybe thought how do you invest, but not sure where to begin? Perhaps, you even heard of the term compounding but not sure what it really means? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, this workshop is for you. In this relaxed, conversation-style workshop, participants will review the basics of investment and retirement planning. You will also identify what kind of investor you are and what investing strategies are available.

Thursday, March 12, noon to 12:55 p.m.
Campus Center, room 205

Social Security Collecting Strategies (507)

David K. Carboni, DKC Retirement Associates, LLC, CFP

This 90–minute workshop will present various "collecting strategies" to help you maximize your Social Security retirement benefits. Once you complete this program, you will be able to answer these questions:

  • When's the best time to take social security?
  • Why "Delayed Retirement Credits" can be a single retiree's best friend?
  • Will using a "file and suspend" strategy help couples increase their benefits?
  • How "restricting your application" can increase couples' benefits?
  • How the "earnings test" works (and the exception to the earnings test during the first year of retirement)?
  • What about divorced persons' benefits? When to collect on your ex's account?
  • Under what circumstances can you "have a do over?"
  • When a lump sum's available under Social Security?

Tuesday, March 24, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Conference Center, Oak Room (New Location!)

Technology and Fraud: How to Protect your Money and Identity (508)

Sean Capaloff–Jones, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

In this workshop, participants will discover and interact with resources that can help protect their identities and money in an increasingly interconnected and technology–driven world, as well as receive information about how to protect or mitigate fraud attempts online and offline.

Thursday, March 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, room 205

Your Successful Retirement Planning (509)

David K. Carboni, DKC Retirement Associates, LLC, CFP

Although retirement may seem years away, it's never too early to begin planning. This 9–hour workshop seminar will address pertinent retirement questions to help you plan for a successful retirement. Questions answered are:

  • Am I on track to afford to retire?
  • When's the best time to take Social Security?
  • How do I decide among retirement plans payout options?
  • Do I have necessary legal documents?
  • How does Medicare work and shopping for Medicare Supplements?
  • How to make sure your purchasing power last throughout retirement?
  • How to pay your income taxes in retirement?
  • How to convert your home's equity to retirement income?
  • What are "annuities" and how might they fit into my plans?
  • What's changed to make reverse mortgages worth another look?
  • If I'm thinking of relocating, what are key questions to ask?
  • How to develop an investment plan?

Participants will receive a comprehensive retirement planning workbook and light refreshments will be served. Partners are also welcome.

Tuesday, March 24, Wednesday, March 25,
Thursday, March 26, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Campus Center, Carroll room

Life Enhancement

First Aid and CPR (510) and (512)

Mary Ann Richardson

Note: Space is limited to 10 participants for each workshop.

When you complete this course, you'll receive certification in first aid and CPR. In the first-aid portion, you'll learn the basics of how to behave in a variety of emergency scenarios. In the CPR class, you'll become adept at cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and will discover what to do if someone goes into cardiac or respiratory arrest. Learn how to save a life: sign up today!

(510) Friday, April 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, room 205

(512) Friday, April 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, room 205

Gentle and Restorative Yoga (511)

Judy Messer, certified exercise coach

Note: Maximum class size is 25.

Enjoy a restorative break for your body and mind: soothe your neck, shoulders, and eyes; unlock your hips and back; and release stress. Then return to work with more energy, clarity, and calm. No special exercise wear is required, but don't wear tight clothing or jeans that day. And please drink a glass of water before class begins!

Mondays, March 23 — May 11, 12:10 to 12:55 p.m.
Neilson Browsing Room

Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence (513)

Tara Healey, Program Director, Mindfulness Based Learning

Success at work and fulfillment in life depend critically on "emotional intelligence" (EI), the ability to monitor one's own feelings and the feelings of others. EI helps individuals avoid habitually criticizing themselves or others, by demonstrating how to identify the source of problems instead of becoming caught up in cycles of negativity and self-doubt. As a result of skills related to EI, individuals are more likely to embrace new challenges, work in teams, lead others, and effectively care for themselves. Additionally, EI positively informs our choices in how and what we consume, and how we engage with our families, sharpening the skills that help us make decisions in our own best interest as well as the best interest of others. This program will discuss how the practice of mindfulness — the cultivation of a mind that is steady and sees things clearly — is the foundation for developing these ways of being with ourselves and others.

Thursday, April 23, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, room 205

Stress Less for Fun (514)

Lisa Abend, Firebird Coaching & Consulting

In this workshop, you'll learn a variety of practical, creative tips and techniques for reducing and managing stress at work and at home. You'll discover: 4 main categories for effective stress management; how to approach stress reduction on 4 different levels, and uncover your favorite; relaxation techniques that can easily be done at work; an introduction to cognitive strategies for further learning; and more! Come away feeling inspired and refreshed.

Wednesday, April 15, 10 a.m. to noon
Campus Center, room 103/104

Walk and Box (515)

Judy Messer, certified exercise coach


1. Sneakers

2. Fabric speed–bag boxing–glove wraps or traditional–fabric boxing wraps

Note: If you opt for glove wraps, make sure they're a snug fit.

Class Description

Walking and boxing are both wonderful ways to connect with your breathing, alleviate stress, and gain strength. In this class you'll combine self–paced speed walks with individually structured, challenging but safe upper-body training. You'll also involve your core and the lower body to balance and stabilize your stance. You'll progress with the basic boxing upper–body strikes to achieve physical and emotional strength.

This class is for all levels. Please be as punctual as your schedule allows you to be, so you'll get the most out of the course, and make the commitment to attend all classes: you'll be glad you did!

Noon to 12:10 p.m.

Power walk, warm–up. Walk the indoor track at your own pace. This will get your blood flowing into the muscles and elevate your heart rate.

12:10 to 12:25 p.m.

Group upper–body strength training with cross–box fitness. You'll learn proper boxing stances, jabs, crosses, upper cuts, and hooks. After the initial drills, you'll be using dumbbells and speed–bag paddles. After you've learned the basic moves, we're incorporating partner drills with handheld focus mitts.

12:25 to 12:35 p.m.

Power walk. Walk the track at your own pace.

12:35 to 12:55 p.m.

Round two of group upper–body cross–box fitness. After this session, you'll cool down and stretch.

Wednesdays, February 25–May 13, noon to 1 p.m., except March 18
Indoor Track and Tennis Facility