New Professional Development Courses Available


Twice a year, Duke Learning & Organization Development releases its catalog featuring an array of course offerings covering professional development and skills enhancement.

If your first spin through the catalog’s pages leaves you noting several courses tailor made for what you’re looking for, it’s not by accident. That’s because the Learning & Organization Development (L&OD) staff surveys employees and supervisors to refine its list of classes.

“They’ve been great classes,” said Tracey Madrid, an administrative assistant with the Department of Population Health Sciences who has taken several L&OD courses. “And L&OD has great trainers. They’re thoughtful. They’re organized. They give you a new way of thinking about things.”

Part of Duke Human Resources, L&OD provides courses for leadership and management development and technical training. Among the 115 classes offered through December, there are new courses such as “Feed Forward: Giving & Receiving Critical Performance Information,” “Storytelling: The Art of Advanced Presentation Skills,” “Navigating Difficult Personalities,” and “Crucial Accountability,” a two-day course on how to identify and resolve performance gaps and strengthen accountability.

L&OD Practitioner Don Shortslef will teach the “Navigating Difficult Personalities” class, which came directly from the feedback L&OD gathers.

During recent rounds of surveys, employees asked for help working with the kinds of personalities that create friction in a workplace.

Already teaching courses on conflict resolution, emotional intelligence and communicating with diplomacy and tact, Shortslef volunteered to take on the challenge.

“This is right up my alley,” Shortslef said. “I love working with people and helping people deal with people.”

To create the course – which is appropriate for both managers and direct reports – Shortslef researched the teachings of experts in the field and studied what’s taught in other L&OD courses. The result is a one-day class that focuses on assessing your own role in the conflict, how you can diffuse emotionally-charged situations and how to communicate, and forge productive relationships, with a variety of office personalities, from passive-aggressive co-workers to procrastinators and game-players.

Learn more about the classes and enroll at



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