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Learning and Development

Current Programs: Spring 2014


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 Lily Kane in Human Resources at (413) 585-2268 or e-mail hrdev@smith.edu.

Money Matters

474: Spring Cleaning Your Portfolio

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

The market is up today, down tomorrow. So how do I keep my money safe? How do I know that my retirement portfolio is appropriately funded? How often should I review my investments? Mary Ellen Gordon has a plan to help you understand your portfolio and decrease your anxiety about ever-changing markets. Join us for a lunch-and-learn workshop, and you can even set up an appointment to meet with Mary Ellen, one on one, to talk about your retirement goals.

Thursday, March 27, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 102

473: Your Successful Retirement: Three-session Series “Plan On It”

David K. Carboni, PhD, CFP®, DKC Retirement Associates

David Carboni has delivered thousands of retirement-planning programs nationwide: workshops for the faculty and staff of, for example, Yale University, Williams College, Wellesley College, and Amherst College. Unlike sessions offered by financial-service providers, this program is strictly educational, as the presenter neither sells financial products and services nor represents financial-service organizations. In this series you’ll learn about common mistakes people make in planning for retirement and how to avoid them, as well as the following:

  • Creating a satisfying retirement lifestyle
  • Basics of financial planning
  • Housing and location
  • Estate planning
  • Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance planning
  • Retirement-income planning while managing your portfolio

Thursday, March 6, 4 to 7 p.m.
Campus Center, Rooms 103/104

Wednesday, March 12, 4 to 7 p.m.
Dewey Common Room

Thursday, March 13, 4 to 7 p.m.
Dewey Common Room

Prepare for Your Future: A Retirement Conference for Employees New!

This daylong conference is broken down into three sessions, and employees are encouraged to sign up for any or all of them. The program’s goal is to help you with your retirement planning, whether you’ve just started to think about it or are approaching the big day.

475: Celebrating 65

Ed Estey, Retiree Solutions, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Through the Celebrating 65 educational seminar, you’ll get answers to your questions about Social Security, Medicare, and what health-care options you’ll have under Medicare, so when you reach retirement age, you’ll be able to make informed decisions.

Making Sense of Social Security: Understanding Your Benefits and How to Access Them

  • What is Social Security?
  • How do I apply for benefits?
  • How can I estimate how much money I’ll receive each month?
  • When do my benefits begin?

Simplifying Medicare: Navigating the Medicare Maze

  • What is Medicare?
  • How will it affect me at retirement?
  • How do I apply for Medicare coverage?
  • What are Medicare Parts A and B?
  • What is the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)?
  • What health-care services are covered?

Retirement and Health Care: Thinking It Through

  • HMO? Indemnity? Medigap? What are they?
  • Will I need more than Medicare?
  • How do Medicare supplemental plans and Medicare Advantage plans work?
  • What’s the difference between managed care and an indemnity plan?
  • How much will my health-care coverage cost?

Monday, April 14, 9 to 10:30 a.m.
Campus Center, Carroll Room (Room 208)

476: Facing the Retirement Crisis

David K. Carboni, PhD, CFP®, DKC Retirement Associates

Where do pre-retirees stand now as they approach the big day? Who are pre-retirees and what are their main challenges? Dr. Carboni will provide an overview of the current situation facing pre-retirees and retirees. Extended life expectancy, inadequate nest eggs, and potential health-care expenses seem to challenge the very idea of retirement. There is hope, however. Dr. Carboni will discuss some options and opportunities you may have overlooked in planning for your future. Many of these ideas can provide the flexibility you’ll need to respond to a rapidly changing retirement landscape.

Monday, April 14, 10:30 a.m. to noon
Campus Center, Carroll Room (Room 208)

477: How to Use Your Smith College Defined Contribution Retirement Plan

Mary Ellen Gordon, CRPC, CEBS, CFS, Financial Adviser, ING U.S.

It’s never too early or too late to save for retirement. Whether you’re a saver or an investor, are a year from the big day or years away, join Mary Ellen Gordon for a discussion on how to use your Smith College retirement plan to achieve your personal goal.

Monday, April 14, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Campus Center, Carroll Room (Room 208)

Life Enhancement (All Staff)

469: Walk and Box

Judy Messer, certified exercise coach


1. Sneakers

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

Note: If you choose the traditional glove wraps, make sure they’re a tight (snug) fit.

Class Description and Format

Walking and boxing are both wonderful ways to connect with your breathing, to free stress, and to gain strength. In this class you will combine a self-paced speed walk with a personally structured safe and challenging training for upper-body strength. This includes the core and the lower body to balance and stabilize your stance. You will progress with the basic boxing upper-body strikes, with the goal to gain physical and emotional strength as an integral part of your weight-balancing program.

This class is for all levels. All trainees should be as punctual as possible to get the most out of the training, and are encouraged to make the commitment to full attendance.

noon to 12:10 p.m.

Open power walking warm-up: walking the indoor track at your own pace to get the blood flowing into the muscles and to elevate the heart rate.

12:10 to 12:25 p.m.

Group upper-body strength training with cross-box fitness: proper boxing stances, jabs, crosses, upper cuts, and hook drills, for example. This will incorporate dumbbells and speed-bag paddles. After a couple of weeks spent learning the basic moves, we add partner drills using handheld focus mitts.

12:25 to 12:35 p.m.

Open power walking: walking the indoor track at your own pace.

12:35 to 12:55 p.m.

Round two of group upper-body/cross-box fitness, followed by cool down and stretch.

Thursdays, February 27 through April 3, noon to 1 p.m
Indoor Track and Tennis

470: Awakening Your Garden

Gaby Imerman, Smith College

After such a long, cold winter, the gardener within us is eager to get started, already perusing seed catalogs and perhaps visiting a garden center. A few early preparations in the spring will reap benefits throughout the season. But where do we begin? Happily for us, Gaby here to explain how to get started, from soil amendments and pruning to planting and fertilizing. Bring your questions for Gaby; we’ll reserve time for a Q&A session after her presentation.

Friday, March 7, noon to 1 p.m.
Botanic Garden, Room 112

471: Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Barbara Brehm Curtis, ESS, Smith College

We all know that physical activity helps us maintain our weight, but do you know that exercise helps with alleviating stress? Barbara will speak about the effects of exercise on stress, coping, and overall well-being. We hope to combine this presentation with other wellness offerings to keep you motivated in your exercise regimens, and will talk about other campus ESS and athletic programs that can work for you.

Thursday, March 13, noon to 12:45 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 102

472: Mediterranean Eating and Lifestyle

Bill Bradley, Mediterranean Living

Bill Bradley is a registered dietitian, lecturer, and writer. He’s led more than 1,500 workshops on the health benefits of the Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle and spent time on Crete to research the island’s cooking techniques. Bill is the coauthor, with Koula Barydakis, of Foods of Crete: Traditional Recipes from the Healthiest People in the World, and will share some of these nutritious and tasty recipes during his discussion of the Mediterranean diet.

Friday, March 28, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 205

Professional Development (All Staff)

460: Working on Team Dynamics

Marge Stepansky, Employers Association

Developing a cohesive team is a critical component of building a healthy organization. Teams struggle with the difficulties of cohesiveness: the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results. Join Marge as she discusses evaluating teams and actionable steps that can overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.

Friday, April 11, 9 a.m. to noon
Dewey Common Room

466: 25Live: Quick and Easy Setup—Hands-on Demo

Kathy San Antonio, Events Management, Smith College

Using 25Live to request space and services for an event has enabled the college to achieve the goal of having all the details in one reliable place and has made planning and coordination more efficient, especially when it comes to communication about the event. This review will provide some clarity about requesting space and services in 25Live and highlight how you can quickly get information about your event, information that in the past only a scheduler or service provider could give you. You bring the questions; we’ll answer them.

Friday, February 28, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 003

461: Lynda.Com: Hands-on Demo

Liane Hartman, ITS, Smith College

Every Smith employee has unlimited access to more than 2,000 online courses from Lynda.com. Classes cover a wide range of topics, from Microsoft Word and photo editing to some 400 on various aspects of business. These courses are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no charge.

Each online tutorial is presented as a video with an instructor leading the training session. Screenshots, illustrations, and animations aid in clarifying the lessons. You learn at your own pace, as you can pause, rewind, or fast-forward the tutorials. With Lynda.com, you can start as a beginner and work up to advanced levels of instruction without having to sign up for another training service.

Come learn more about advancing your online skills in this live demonstration. No computer experience required.

Thursday, March 6, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 102

462: Information Security: It’s in the News and in Your Hands

Ben Marsden, ITS, Smith College

Information security and privacy: The topic is in the news almost daily, and it’s an issue for all of us both at work and at home. So what should you know, and what can you do to protect the information you work with? Come hear about current hot topics and some best practices that you’ll find useful wherever you are. And bring your burning security questions, so you can get some answers.

Wednesday, March 12, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Room 102

463: Emotional Intelligence

Mary Hulbert, True Directions

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 delivers a step-by-step program for increasing your emotional quotient using the four core EQ skills—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management—to exceed your goals and achieve your fullest potential. Through a personal appraisal test, you’ll identify your strengths and enjoy consistent performance in pursuit of important life objectives, with proven strategies from a decade-long effort to measure and increase emotional intelligence.

Wednesday, March 26, 9 a.m. to noon
Dewey Common Room

464: DiSC: Personal Styles and Creating Effective Work Relationships

Stephen Butler, Amherst College

The DiSC Behavioral Styles profile explores how and why people act the way they do at work. The model identifies four basic styles and examines their similarities and differences. The inventory provides information about:

  • Strengths and limitations of each style
  • How people work most effectively
  • What’s important to people at work
  • How to develop effective work relationships with different styles
  • Understanding common causes of tensions among the styles and what to do to minimize interpersonal issues

Friday, April 4, 9 a.m. to noon
Dewey Common Room

465: Make the Right Choice: Grammar Reminders in Business Communications

Sue Kline, Business Communications

So complex; so many rules. Grammar can be a daunting subject. Although we speak and write correctly much of the time, we still manage to make plenty of errors: who or whom, I or me, went or gone? And sometimes we misuse words, words whose meanings are easily confused: affect and effect, compose and comprise, disinterested and uninterested, for example. In this class, we’ll explain and correct the gaffes in grammar and word choice that well-intentioned people make every day.

Thursday, April 10, 10 a.m. to noon
Campus Center, Room 102

468: Bystander Awareness

Pamela Nolan Young, director of Institutional Diversity/Equity, Smith College

It’s not easy to step in and correct a supervisor or manager or even a peer to help that person see how she could handle a situation differently. And it’s just as difficult to frame a conversation in a way that doesn’t offend a coworker. Pamela will lead a discussion on what it means to be a bystander in a variety of situations in which someone may have crossed the line of professional or personal conduct.

Wednesday, April 2, noon to 1 p.m.
Campus Center, Rooms 103/104
Note: We’ll supply the lunch.

Management and Supervision

467: The Performance Appraisal

Jenny Silver, HR, Smith College; and Richard Dufresne, LifeScope

This seminar is developed and offered jointly by LifeScope (previously Wellness Corporation) and Smith’s Human Resources. The focus will be on strategies involved in conducting an effective performance appraisal, practical tips for success, and pitfalls to avoid. We will present the Performance Evaluation in Perspective:

  • The purpose and concept of performance evaluation
  • Where appraisals fail
  • How to manage the appraisal
  • Performance objectives
  • Key results and key measures
  • Exceptional performance vs. poor performance
  • How to identify employee problems
  • EAP resources to help improve an employee’s performance
  • Legal issues in performance appraisal

Wednesday, March 19, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Human Resources, 30 Belmont Avenue, Conference Room
Note: We’ll supply the lunch.