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Learning & Development


Human Resources Learning & Development is committed to continuous learning that goes beyond training. We offer professional development programs that give you the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills so you can make the most of your career at Smith. We believe that your professional development is a shared responsibility and collaboration between you, your manager and Smith. We expect you to come to our programs with a readiness to learn and you can expect us to provide a rewarding, relevant learning experience.

We offer programs throughout the academic year designed for Smith administrators and staff. Programs will be listed as they become available.


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 email

Spring 2019 Learning & Development Offerings

Essential Skills

Service Excellence

Problem Solving & Decision Making


Professional Development

The ability to understand and communicate effectively in teams is an important part of our personal and professional success. Through discussion, interactive exercises, and a debriefing session we will explore how teams can work together most effectively and learn how to apply successful team concepts and strategies in very practical ways. Interpersonal difficulties such as trust, skill identification, and conflict resolution and communication issues will be discussed.

Presented by E4Health EAP

Thursday, March 7, 11 a.m. – noon
Campus Center 205

Annual performance reviews are just around the corner. All managers are invited to attend this practical, interactive workshop. The review process, SMART goals and Smith competencies and their role in preparing reviews will be discussed. This workshop is open to new managers, managers new to Smith and managers looking for the ABCs or refresher on the review process, tips and tools.

Presented by Jenny Silver, Human Resources Assistant Director

Thursday, February 28, 10–11:30 a.m.
Human Resources Conference Room

The Institutional Change Partners Program is an opportunity for small teams of 2–4 staff and/or faculty to bring a project, animating question, challenge or change initiative to an immersive one-week Human-Centered Design deep-dive in June. Is there some project, question or idea you’ve had that you think would make an impact in how your unit collaborates or contributes to the college’s mission or strategic plan, but you haven’t known exactly how to tackle it, where to begin or how to galvanize a team around it?

This weeklong professional development opportunity will introduce teams to processes, tools and methodologies for making positive change within home units or across multiple units. As a cohort, partners will continue to convene for monthly lunch meetings to share progress, successes and challenges. The experience will culminate with an evening of presentations in late March of 2020 where each team will showcase their work. Partners must be able to commit to attending all cohort sessions (to be scheduled) in addition to the June deep-dive (June 3–7 from 9–11 a.m. and 1–4 p.m.), and the final presentations next year.

Please see the application for additional guidelines and principles.

Applications are due to Emily Norton by April 15; applicants will be notified by May 3. If you have any questions or want to learn more about this opportunity, please do not hesitate to reach out to Emily at 413-585-4729 or by email.

Communication & Interpersonal Skills

Meet with the college’s ombudsperson, Michael Stephens, to explore some of the challenges he has found that employees face when communicating with their colleagues or supervisors. Learn skills and develop strategies for discovering what another person may want or need, and build stronger relationships by listening effectively and finding solutions that may meet both your needs and theirs. Practice these skills in workplace scenarios and improve your ability to engage staff in constructive conversations.

No actual employee situations will be shared, but the discussion will review a variety of situations Stephens has observed in his ombuds work at the college and elsewhere.

Presented by Ombudsperson Michael Stephens

Monday, January 28, 1–3 p.m.
Campus Center Room 205

Learnings from the world of negotiation can be used to develop skills that help us work through differences with colleagues, family and friends. Successful negotiations are ones in which all parties feel they have gained something valuable. It is possible to communicate in a way that maximizes the possibilities of mutual agreement. Learn and practice several different negotiation skills that are applicable to any situation, both professional and personal.

Presented by Ombudsperson Michael Stephens

Monday, February 4, 10 a.m.–noon
Campus Center Room 204

Cultural Competency

Session I

Participants will explore their own identities using a model of identity development and consider the impact of power and privilege on the ways in which we understand our sense of self and that of others. This session offers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of our own identities as we work towards intentionally inclusive communities at Smith College. This session is part one of a two-part series and is intended for any interested staff or faculty member.The expectation is that all participants will register for and attend both sessions of the workshop to explore identifiers including race, gender, class and sexuality in depth. If you can only attend one session, please email with that information.

Presented by Dina Levi, Director of Inclusive Leadership, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Amherst College

Thursday, January 31
9 a.m.–noon
Davis Ballroom

Session II

This workshop is open to any staff or faculty member who has participated in Identity & Inclusion, Session 1. 

Participants will continue to explore power and privilege as they play out in our personal experiences; this time through the lens of systemic marginalization. Participants will have the opportunity to consider how our own socialization contributes to dynamics of race, class, gender, and other identities as we work towards interrupting such systems of oppression.

Presented by Dina Levi, Director of Inclusive Leadership, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Amherst College

Thursday, February 7
9 a.m.–noon
Davis Ballroom


As the college becomes more and more open and welcoming, we find ourselves interacting with students, faculty and staff who use a wide range of names and pronouns, including some that are different from what we might expect. We are also encountering all sorts of new terminology, such as "nonbinary," "gender expression," "cisgender," etc. What does it all mean? How do we make sure that we are being respectful? How do our own experiences with gender come up for us on campus as we interact with others? This interactive, fun and informative session will be an opportunity to learn more about best practices for interacting with transgender and gender nonconforming community members, as well as a chance to explore our own genders and experiences. Bring your questions!

Presented by Tobias Davis, SSW

Tuesday, March 26, 1–3 p.m.
Campus Center 103/104


Did you attend Part 1 of this workshop? Then come join us for Part 2, where we go beyond basic concepts and etiquette to explore next steps in making ourselves and our areas on campus trans inclusive. Still interactive, fun and informative, this second session will be an opportunity to ask more complicated questions and dig deeper together!

Presented by Tobias Davis, SSW

Wednesday, May 1, 1–3 p.m.
Campus Center 103/104

Change Management

Michael Stephens builds on data from meetings with college faculty and staff to present concepts and approaches that can help improve how changes are introduced and managed, including:

  • Examples of the types of concerns employees have about changes in the workplace.
  • The cycle of reactions that people typically have to changes in their work situation.
  • Basic concepts in managing change effectively—with helpful tips for both supervisors and staff.
  • The costs to you and the department that are incurred when change is not managed well.
  • Additional resources and training opportunities.

Presented by Ombudsperson Michael Stephens

Monday, April 1, 10 a.m.–noon
Campus Center Room 204

Grit helps us persist in the face of obstacles and is a significant predictor of personal and professional success. Resilience helps us recover from difficulties and is vital to positive mental health. This training will provide you with a toolbox of specific practices to help navigate life’s challenges, reconnect with what matters most to you, and thrive! Learning objectives are:

  • Define grit and resilience and understand their benefits
  • Learn 5 strategies to increase grit and build resilience
  • Identify strategies that you would like to incorporate into your life.

Tuesday, April 2, 10 a.m.—noon
Campus Center Room 205


Financial Wellness

Join Mary Ellen Gordon to learn the most common mistakes made when investing for your future, and get strategies for investing during turbulent market periods.

Presented by Mary Ellen Gordon, Voya

Thursday, April 11, noon–1:30 p.m.
Campus Center 205

This session will focus on the basics of Medicare coverage, including: Part A: Hospital Coverage; Part B: Medical Coverage (Doctor’s Bills); and Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage; and when to sign up. We’ll then consider how Medicare Supplemental Plans (Medigap Plans) work and how best to shop for them. We’ll next consider the relatively “new kid on the block”: Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C of Medicare) and examine how they may fit in. Finally, we’ll review the best time to sign up for Medicare and the associated penalties for signing up at the wrong time.

Presented by David Carboni, DKC Retirement Associates, LLC, CFP

Wednesday, April 3, noon–1:30 p.m.
Campus Center 103/104

All employees 55 years old and older thinking about retiring in the next year or two are invited to attend an informational session on Preparing for Medicare. This workshop will review Medicare basics—what is Medicare, when and how do I enroll, etc. Presenters will also explain supplemental plans eligible for Smith retirees and their spouses who will have a one-time eligibility to elect coverage for Medicare supplement plans offered by MountainOne Insurance through the Benistar Employee Services Trust Program. The Benistar plans include two traditional Medicare supplement plans that allow you to see any Medicare participating provider nationally. In addition, there are two Part D drug plans. 

Presented by MountainOne Insurance

Thursday, April 18, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Human Resources Conference Room

Emotional Wellness

This workshop will make use of all of the latest research in the field of positive psychology that helps us understand what contributes to our level of happiness. At the end of the workshop, you will have a greater understanding of:

  • Myths regarding what makes us happy
  • The factors that contribute to our happiness levels
  • Research-based strategies and practices that will increase our overall level of life happiness that they can implement in their own lives

Presented by THRIVE

Friday, April 26, 10 a.m.–noon
Campus Center 205

For individuals facing the difficult situation of caring for their parents, the decisions seem endless. This seminar will help establish goals for their elderly loved ones, and will discuss the realities of reaching these  goals. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Situation: How Did You Get Here?
  • The Balancing Act • Elder Services
  • Understanding and Coping with Dementia
  • Case Management: Who Should be Involved with Elder Care
  • Elder Medical Information

Presented by Harvard Pilgrim

Tuesday, April 23, 2–3 p.m.
Campus Center 205

Physical Wellness


We have all heard about the dangers of being sedentary. However, many of us are challenged by our commutes, job requirements and travel schedules. How can we build more movement into our daily routines while still doing everything we need to do? In this interactive session, we will examine potential roadblocks and pitfalls we may all experience when it comes to exercising. We will also review exercises we can do anytime, even when we can’t get away from our desks, and develop a realistic outlook and action plan.

Presented by e4Health EAP

Wednesday, February 13, 10 – 11 a.m.
Campus Center 205 

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. When detected and treated properly, the risk for disease can be greatly reduced. At this screening, participants’ total cholesterol and HDL (the “good cholesterol”) will be checked. In addition to receiving individual results, each participant receives educational materials and nutrition recommendations based on their dietary needs and eating patterns.

Presented by Harvard Pilgrim

Wednesday, March 20, 10 a.m.–noon
Campus Center 003 Lounge

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. It is not necessary to come to every session. You can go to one session, or all; come and go as you please! Please bring a yoga mat to each session.

Presented by Certified Exercise Coach Judy Messer

Wednesdays, starting January 16 through May 1, noon–1 p.m.
Berens Leeds Dance Studio

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 will progress with the basic boxing upper–body strikes to achieve physical and emotional strength.

Equipment needed: sneaker and fabric speed–bag boxing glove wraps or traditional fabric boxing wraps. It is not necessary to come to every session. You can go to one session, or all; come and go as you please!

Presented by Certified Exercise Coach Judy Messer

Mondays, starting January 28 through April 29, noon–1 p.m.
Indoor Tennis and Track Facility

Weight Watchers is a leading, global provider of weight management services committed to providing a comprehensive approach to weight loss based on the latest scientific thinking. For more than 45 years, they have helped millions of people around the world lose weight through the fundamental learnings of safe and healthy weight loss. They can help with:

  • Learning to eat more healthfully
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Learning to create and live in a supportive environment conducive to achieving a healthy weight
  • Managing the challenges involved in changing behaviors

Weight Watchers doesn’t teach you how to diet. They are dedicated to inspiring and helping you adopt a healthier way to live. For life.

Participants may join at any time.

Tuesdays, January 8 through March 5, noon–1 p.m.
Weinstein Auditorium

Additional Resources

Smith College Technology Courses

Smith purchased a campus-wide license from, a premier provider of online technology training for Smith students, faculty and staff. The Lynda library of over 1,500 courses covers all learning levels for a vast array of software, including 3D, audio, business, design, development, photography, video and web applications. Don't miss this opportunity to learn a new skill or stay up-to-date with software you already know. To start learning what you want when you want, log on to the Smith Portal and click the link on the General Info tab.

Five Colleges

Five College Training and Development Collaborative

Faculty and staff have the opportunity to attend trainings and workshops offered by the other members of the Five College Collaborative. To enroll in programs offered at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, please follow the registration guidelines and procedures outlined on their learning and development websites. If you have any questions about these programs or how to register, please contact Kate Harrington at or call 413-585-2268.

Local Resources

The organizations represented below conduct training in the local area. Please note that the college does not screen or endorse these providers. Please visit their websites for more information.

SIS (Seminar Information Service, Inc.)

This site consolidates course schedules from many top workplace training providers, including SkillPath, Fred Pryor and Padgett-Thompson. The database is searchable by topic, date and location.

Employers Association of the Northeast (EANE)

EANE provides public seminars, workshops, briefings and webinars on an ongoing basis for member companies throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont. As a member organization, Smith College receives an automatic 30 percent discount on most training and consulting services.

E4 Health

Your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) includes a comprehensive training website with online courses, articles, videos, quizzes and assessments. To log in to the website, register with the name Smith College (case sensitive) and password (guest). The site is voluntary and confidential.