Ellis wins HR Innovation Award

Andrea Ellis

Andrea Ellis (MAEd ’04), the director of professional and organizational development at Wake Forest, received the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) 2012 HR Innovation Award. She received the award for her role in the creation of the Professional Development Center. Thanks to the generous support of Ellucian, CUPA-HR will give a $3,000 contribution to Wake Forest’s endowment or a scholarship of Ellis’s choice.

This award honors a team’s or an individual’s demonstrated human resource innovation. The innovation can be technological in nature, based in process improvement, a novel partnership that advances the profession, or a new approach to an HR department’s current challenge, but most important, it must advance the human resource profession or contribute to the overall excellence of the profession.

Prior to the creation of the Professional Development Center (PDC), there were limited opportunities for training and few options for professional development at Wake Forest. Ellis recognized that unmet need and began working to not only create more professional development programs, but also to centralize these programs in one location.

The PDC debuted in March 2008. Through the PDC web portal, professional development activities and programs for both faculty and staff are marketed through one location, thus generating community across campus, decreasing duplication of efforts, encouraging collaboration between departments and reducing costs.

Since its inception, the PDC has filled 40,000 seats with faculty, staff, students and community members; held 4,200 classes and events; and marketed 100 conferences.

“The addition of the term ‘PDC’ to the lexicon at Wake Forest is a testament to how well the PDC had been received,” says Hubert David Womack, librarian, instruction and outreach at Wake Forest. “Rarely does a day goes by where you don’t hear a reference to the PDC in conversations across campus. If you need an opportunity for development or instruction, everyone at Wake Forest knows to go to the PDC first. The innovation of the PDC has been to leverage technology to bring together a disparate group of resources under one central location without duplicating efforts or reorganizing the resources.”

Through the PDC, several innovative leadership and organizational development opportunities have been created, including:

  • the Leadership Development Program (a cohort leadership opportunity for senior leaders from both the faculty and staff sides of the institution);
  • the Aspiring Leaders Program (geared toward faculty and staff with five to seven years of experience who are looking to acquire a leadership position);
  • coaching (one-on-one coaching between faculty and/or staff members that provides an ongoing, confidential partnership designed to help produce fulfilling results in participants’ personal and professional lives);
  • organizational development training;
  • and the Cultivating our Organization to Realize Excellence (CORE) program (a competency-based program to help faculty and staff enhance their careers and to potentially assume new levels of leadership and responsibility).