Voices participants regularly contribute input to help shape the university’s programs and policies for the better. They also deliver innovative conferences, develop helpful websites, produce insightful videos, and create useful resources. For a quick summary of the decade and a half of difference made by staff, view this Voices Accomplishments flier.
Voices Progress Reports
Voices, as it's often called, is a volunteer-based initiative that was launched in February 2005 to give staff, at all university campuses and Michigan Medicine, a stronger voice for developing and sharing ideas about the campus community topics that matter most to staff. Progress reports are created to provide a snapshot of the impact that positive and sustained employee engagement has made on our university.
U-M StaffWorks Best Practice and Technology Conference
U-M StaffWorks is a showcase of speakers and poster sessions by Michigan staff highlighting insight, innovation, experience, and expertise in the use of technology and best practices to support the services and operations of the university. The event was held in 2011, 2013, and 2016. Please see the U-M StaffWorks page for information, videos and examples of nearly 100 staff-developed presentations and posters.
U-M StaffWorks connects staff from across campus to cultivated shared learning opportunities and networking. And it provides a forum to share experiences and help U-M colleagues find proven, implementable solutions.
Work Products from Voices of the Staff Network Teams
For more than a dozen years, staff members have served on topic-specific teams. These teams serve the greater university in many ways. Sometimes team serve as sounding boards giving our university leaders quick access to 100+ staff members who reflect the make-up of the university. Sometimes the teams identify challenges and develop solutions in the form of resources, presentations, videos, programs, and even services (such as the Parking and Transportation Office in University Hospital).
Please note: These accomplishments were achieved by teams of staff since 2005. As a result, many of the resources no longer reflect the current staff work environment. However, they serve as important markers of progress towards creating an exceptional workplace.
The Voices of the Staff Embracing Change Team created the Embracing Change Community of Practice that focuses on the opportunities and challenges of leading change at the University of Michigan. The team created a series of change sessions that showcase university change leaders, discuss challenging topics, and encourage the sharing of best practices. The following is a list of past presentations. Slides of the presentations and other resources are linked, if made available by the presenter. Presentations are listed in reverse-chronological order.
For information, or to be added to the mailing list to attend future sessions, please contact Amy Peters.
Unleashing the Power of Gratitude - Mary Ceccanese
What impact does this gratitude have on our mental and physical health? Gratitude can improve relationships, help us cope with everyday stress, and increase our ability to feel more loving and forgiving. Research shows that this amazing virtue can also bring happiness, reduce anxiety and depression, and help us to sleep better. In this interactive presentation, you will hear about what gratitude can do for you, including specific and detailed steps to incorporate more gratitude in your life.
Describe the many benefits of gratitude
Provide research studies that validate the benefits
Participate in two exercises that will help increase gratitude in your life
Finding Happiness in the Cards You are Dealt - Karen Semenuk
Do you think you've been dealt a good hand in life? Are you making the most of the cards you've been dealt? Or would your life be happier if you could exchange a few cards? Join us in an interactive session that looks at what makes people happy and how to make the most of the hand you've been dealt.
Parental Leave - Jennie McAlpine and Kathleen Donohoe
University of Michigan Poverty Solutions Initiative - Luke Shaefer
Dr. Luke Shaefer helps lead the University of Michigan Presidential Initiative for Poverty Solutions and will speak upon this project and his work to change cycles of poverty across the state and nation.
According to the Presidential Initiative page: “This multidisciplinary initiative is designed to inform, seek out, and test new strategies for preventing and alleviating poverty. It combines the principles that attracted many of our students, faculty, and staff to the University of Michigan. These are bedrock principles that we pursue with the full weight of our considerable intellectual power: That we serve the public. That no challenge is too big or too complex. That great universities tackle and aim to solve great problems.
Poverty Solutions will include faculty from many schools and colleges, build upon our strong community partnerships, and provide new engaged learning opportunities for our students."
Arboretum and Matthaei Botanical Gardens - David Michener
If you're familiar with the Peony Garden at the Arb, you'll know it's vastly revitalized and now draws visitors from around the world. 20 years ago few would have thought this transformation was possible. We'll use the Peony Garden as the first case in discussing change management in our units. In the Peony Garden, much had to change - and remains dynamic - behind the scenes. From my 29 years in diverse curatorial roles at UM, I'm still undergoing meaningful change to my roles and management approaches. Some insights come from project steps that did not go well, and we had to learn (not blame) from these. Managing outcome-based change and expectations is fundamental to refocus and move projects from underappreciated to mission-central.
Academic Innovation - James Hilton
James Hilton leads the Academic Innovation at the University of Michigan, one of President Mark Schlissel's key University Initiatives. Academic Innovation is charged with creating a culture of innovation in learning. As a catalyst for academic innovation the Academic Innovation Office aims to shape the future of learning and redefine public residential education at a 21st-century research university by unlocking new opportunities and enabling personalized, engaged, and lifelong learning for the U-M community and learners around the world.
Hilton is going to share his perspective on innovation in academia and how the University is working to be a national and world leader in this space.
Fight Fear and Lift the Human Energy of Your Team - Richard Sheridan
Rich Sheridan, CEO and Chief Storyteller of Menlo Innovations, a software design and development firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan wanted to build a joyful company, one that produced far better results than he had experienced to that point of his career. He realized that the problems he faced were not technology challenges, rather very human ones, and ultimately they were challenges of leadership, including his own style of motivating with fear which he had learned so well from his own bosses.
In this talk, Rich will share what he has learned from nearly two decades of leading Menlo and from other great leaders he has met along the way. He will explore with you what it takes to lift the human energy of your team, define the values and purpose of your organization, avoid the weight of bureaucracy and meeting load, and lessen the drag of fear-based management systems.
He will share stories of hope, authenticity, optimism, realism, and vision. He will share how we must focus on being leaders rather than bosses, how systems thinking is an essential ingredient of leadership thinking and the role that storytelling plays in successfully reinforcing the most important elements of leading with joy.
Rich co-founded Menlo Innovations in 2001. He brought a joy-filled message to the world with his first book, Joy Inc. - How We Built a Workplace People Love and now shares the path to joyful leadership with his second book Chief Joy Officer - How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.
Rich has spoken all over the world, from Paris to Singapore, from Tokyo to Iceland and all over the US. He leaves audiences inspired and encouraged to begin running experiments that move their teams towards joy and away from fear.
Appreciative Inquiry - Laurita Thomas
Change requires energy, hope, and imagination. Appreciative Inquiry is a discovery of what gives life to an organization. This session will describe an Appreciative Inquiry approach to change and provide an opportunity for participants to apply an AI process in their work. View the AI presentation.
One of the most common changes university employees experience is routine organizational change. Denise is going to share information on how individuals can be successful through changes such as organizational shake-ups, new executives, mergers, and other common scenarios. It will include tips on handling the change as an individual and information on how supervisors can support staff. View the Navigating Organizational Change presentation.
University of Michigan Leadership Model - Sonya Jacobs & Jane Pettit
The University of Michigan is committed to providing the highest quality learning and development of all leaders. In 2017, Sonya Jacobs was named Chief Organizational Learning Officer, and one of her initial charges was to develop a comprehensive leadership model for the university. Jacobs and Jane Pettit will provide participants an overview of the new model, as well as information on how the model might include training content, coaching, and on the job experience to build leaders and best.
Moving Food Forward at the University of Michigan - Steve Managan
Students have moved Michigan's dining options forward for over 100 years. This presentation will take you through a brief history of dining options on campus, where we are currently with the creation of Michigan Dining in 2014 and what the future of food on campus may be.
Joy Inc. at Menlo Innovations - James Goebel
Intentionally developing a department's processes around joy creates the opportunity for a more passionate, engaged team and sustainable results. Experience Lean and Agile principles practiced The Menlo Way TM both joyful and disciplined. James will guide us through Menlo's culture and processes, including pairing, daily stand-up meetings, hands-on visual planning techniques, estimation without fear and more.
How Can Ross School of Business Help Us Lead Change? - Scott DeRue
Join us for a Q&A with Scott DeRue as we discuss the opportunities of how The Ross Business School can help support the campus facilitate change. Scott will provide us with case studies that will illustrate the possibilities that we have available to us!
This will be an informal session and we encourage you to come prepared to ask questions around leading change, resources, academic change models etc.
Learning to Embrace Change - Jill Castro, University of Michigan Faculty & Staff Counseling & Consultation Office
Having mixed feelings about a big change coming your way? You're not alone. In this session, participants will gain tools for better understanding how they are affected by change, learn how to recognize signs of stress and anxiety, and develop an individualized stress survival plan.
Kristen Storey, Training & Development Director, Learning & Professional Development
From 2013-2015, UM-Flint executives invested in leadership development for their high potential faculty and staff leaders. The fundamental skill of managing change was introduced into the action learning projects to help cohort members proactively and realistically think through potential campus recommendations. The presentation will walk through the background and logic behind using the managing complex change model to build the cohort members strategic thinking abilities resulting in well informed project recommendations. Participants will have the opportunity to work with and discuss their own best practices relative to the model.
Dr. Erik Wessel, Office of Student Conflict Resolution
Times of great change can bring about conflict and challenge individuals to practice greater resilience and civility. Dr. Erik Wessel, Director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution and his staff engage campus groups around the intersection of civility, conflict, and community. He shares information about changing social trends and using conflict as a normal and natural tool for essential community change. His presentation includes practical examples and concrete tools to employ when choosing to engage in civil discourse when moments become contentious. His presentation teachings participants to build trust, create constructive change, reduce violence (physical and emotional), and increase justice in the community.
Jennifer Evans, Ross School of Business
Much of what we know about successful organizational change requires leadership from the top of the organization and the ability to influence individuals lower in the hierarchy. Positive deviance describes uncommon behaviors or strategies that have positive outcomes and will move individuals and the organization to a better place. Jennifer Evans is a positive deviant who—without authority—has positively influenced the culture at the Ross School of Business. Through her story we will discuss the tendency of organizations to resist positive deviance and consider the strategies she used for overcoming resistance from higher levels and more powerful players. We will explore how you can use positive deviance to unlock resources in yourself and others and create change—from the bottom.
The Positive Leadership Game - Gretchen Spreitzer, Ross School of Business
Gretchen Spreitzer is the Keith E. and Valerie J. Alessi Professor of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She joined the Michigan faculty in 2001 after spending nine years on the faculty at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business. She was also a Visiting Professor at the Australian School of Business in Sydney in 2008. Her research focuses on employee empowerment and leadership development, particularly within a context of organizational change and decline. Her most recent research is examining how organizations can enable thriving, especially in contexts dealing with the new world of work such as coworking spaces. This highly engaging sessionfocused about the science and practice of positive leadership. In the game, you will have a chance to unlock hidden resources at your table to address work issues and dilemmas.
The Fundamental State of Leadership - Robert Quinn, Ross School of Business
Robert E. Quinn holds the Margaret Elliot Tracy Collegiate Professorship at the University of Michigan and is on the faculty at the Ross School of Business. He is also one of the co-founders of the Center for Positive Organizations. Robert has published eighteen books including the best-seller Deep Change, and The Best Teacher in You which won the Ben Franklin Award as best education book for 2015. Robert is a fellow of the Academy of Management and the World Business Academy. As a long time student of leadership and change, in this presentation he provides insight on The Fundamental State of Leadership.
The Michigan Medicine Change Model - Janet Palmer & Vic Divecha, Michigan Medicine
Janet & Vic shared the new Michigan Medicine Change Management model that has been developed in the past two years. They also provided a project use case for the model and talk about what went well, what could be improved, and lessons learned, as well as practical tools and concepts in use at Michigan Medicine for application to your own change projects.
Working with Faculty - Martin Philbert, School of Public Health
Dean Philbert shared his perspective on the unique opportunities and challenges when working with faculty on university changes. His insights on competing faculty demands are helpful to any change leader who needs to successfully partner with faculty on a new process, system, or initiative.
The Power of Empathy - John Park, Michigan Medicine
Dr. John Park is Cheng Yang Chang Professor of Pediatric Urology and Chief of Pediatric Urology at the University of Michigan Medical School and Health System. He graduated from the University of Michigan School of LS&A in 1986 and completed his MD at the University of Michigan in 1990. He was a resident in urological surgery at the University of Michigan from 1990 to 1995, and after a two-year research fellowship, he went on to train in pediatric urology at the Harvard Children’s Hospital in Boston in 1997. He returned to Ann Arbor in 1999 and has worked as a pediatric urologist and medical school faculty ever since. For the last 5 years, he has served as the Surgeon-in-Chief of the C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital. As the physician leader of one of the largest children’s hospital surgical units in the country, he has had privilege of working alongside many dedicated staff here at UMHS, even as we went through many changes – some anticipated and some unexpected, since the opening of the new children’s hospital in 2011. He will share from experience of the amazing power of empathy for patients, families and colleagues and how it drives and sustains our purpose.
Competing Values Framework - David Sweetman, Michigan Medicine
The Competing Values Framework provides a way to more fully appreciate the way differing leadership values both complement and compete with each other. Especially during times of change, teams require individuals who bring the right mix of skills to the team to successfully implement the changes. This session was designed to help change leaders understand their own values and appreciate the values of others.
Unconscious Bias - Denise Williams, Michigan Medicine; Carmeda Stokes, University Human Resources; W Jean Tennyson, University Human Resources
In this session, learn about the significant influence of unconscious and unintended biases on our beliefs, judgments, attitudes, and decisions. Bias often drives decisions that can hurt others whether we intend to or not. We will discover together how we can become more aware of our vulnerability to bias, its impact on others, and how we can reduce the influence of bias in our everyday life and in the workplace as change agents.
Finding Happiness in the Cards You are Dealt - Karen Semenuk, Faculty & Staff Assistance Program
Finding Happiness in the Cards You are Dealt is a session designed to help individuals make the most of the hand they have been dealt in life. This session explored what makes folks happy, and how to make the most of what they are currently dealing with in life, including at work. It was added to the embracing change series because successful change is not only about effectively leading it on campus, but also helping individuals make the most of the circumstances change brings.
Meeting in the Middle to Manage Change - David Sweetman, Michigan Medicine
Most changes either are either led from the top down or emerge from the bottom up. David is going to talk about leading change by managing the intersection of these two approaches, enabling mechanisms in the middle where both leadership and staff are working together to influence change, and how that increases the chances of success.
Leading Change at the University of Michigan - Laurita Thomas, University Human Resources
Laurita discussed some of the unique challenges of leading change at the University of Michigan. She will share how engagement and a respect for university culture are essential to any change effort, and provide tips she has learned leading change initiatives over time.
Life on Purpose - Vic Strecher, School of Public Health
Vic Strecher reconsiders directions taken in health and wellness and discusses new strategies for examining the daily personal and environmental factors that increase energy and willpower to live for what matters most to an individual, and in doing so, improving health and well-being, resilience, and performance. This presentation incorporates ancient philosophy, the latest scientific knowledge, and advanced technologies to create a new vision for health across the lifespan.
Working with Change Sponsors - Catherine Lilly, fmr. Office of the Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Catherine shared best practices for working with sponsors for your change effort. Catherine has extensive experience leading change at the University of Michigan, and will also provide insights on how to lead change effectively on campus.
Communicating Change on Campus - Rick Fitzgerald, Office of the Vice President for Communications
Rick discussed best practices for communications for campus changes. He talked about concepts around key messages, managing the media, and how to adapt your communications if the change becomes challenging.
Change and the Brain - Deb Orlowski, Learning & Professional Development
We're expected to deal with new things everyday: technology, reorganizations, changing work needs, and our personal life. The problem is, our brains are wired to NOT want to change. This fun and self-reflective workshop will provide information on making change easier. The goals of the workshop include: · Understanding how the brain works · Awareness of why it's difficult to change or accept change · Identification of personal barriers to change · Awareness of strategies for lowering barriers process
Taking Charge of Change - Karen Semenuk & Lorna Hurl, Faculty & Staff Assistance Program
Whether we want it or not, change happens. In this workshop we explore the different stages of the change process as well as the different ways in which change impacts our emotions. We discuss why people respond to change differently and explore strategies for managing and change-proofing ourselves as we navigate the stages in the change process. The goals of the workshop include: Familiarity with the dynamics of the change process Awareness of the dynamics behind the personal experience of change Sensitivity to how others experience change in their lives Awareness of strategies for reducing stress associated with current or potential change
Beginning in March, 2013, more than 500 staff members from the Ann Arbor campus and Michigan Medicine participated in the Career Development Passport Pilot. The pilot was created by the Voices Career Development Team.
Staff participated in various career-focused growth and development activities surrounding self-assessment, career exploration, professional development and opportunities to hone job search skills and techniques. The 12-month long pilot officially ended on February 28, 2014.
On February 7, 2014, a CDPP Capstone Event was held at the Michigan Union where attendees had an opportunity to hear a leadership panel discussion during which the following individuals shared their career stories, offered career support and advice and responded to participant questions:
Tom Baird, Assistant Vice President for Development
Deborah Childs, UMHS Chief Human Resource Officer
James Jackson, Director of the Institute for Social Research
Tim Slottow, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Gloria Thomas, Director, Center for the Education of Women
Laurita Thomas, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
In addition to the panel discussion, the Capstone Event included an interactive keynote workshop conducted by career expert Jocelyn Giangrande based on her book: What's in Your Sandwich? - 10 Sure-Fire Ingredients for Career Success. At the close of the event, participants were thanked for attending and for continuing to invest in their U-M careers.
Voices of the Staff opened its 10th year Thursday, January 22, 2015, with a town hall meeting that drew President Mark Schlissel and 100 staff volunteers interested in building on Voices changes that benefit staff.
The president was on hand to support the Voices mission and participate in an “elevator speech” exercise. Volunteer groups devoted to 12 separate topic areas conferred, then nominated a spokesperson. Each one stood before the president to deliver a brief summary of their suggested changes.
What makes a good leader? The Voices of the Staff Leadership Development Team continues to explore that question. We seek to speak with effective leaders and ask them about lessons learned from their experiences and what they believe contributes to good leadership.
From our archive of video interviews we compile video vignettes on a variety of leadership topics. We continue to add to the site from time to time so check back. Many of our interviewees have been drawn from past and present winners of the Work-Life Balance Champion Award. We believe you will find the videos useful. If you would like to create your own videos, this guide can help you get started.
Ideas for using the videos
Here are three ways we imagine you might use these videos; let us know if you find other uses!
To spark self-reflection for one’s own leadership development
To start a discussion in a training class or group setting of supervisors
To launch a discussion with your staff about your own leadership style
Observations from University supervisors on how they build trust with their employees (3:26)
Deborah Apsley, School of Information
Mark Lemak, Department of Dermatology
Esrold Nurse, LS&A
Robin Russell, 8-C, General Surgery
David Stockson, Architectural Services
Olidia Thomas, Briarwood Family Medicine
Making an Open Door Policy Work
An open door policy can encourage openness and transparency with the employees of that company. As the term implies, employees are encouraged to stop by whenever they feel the need to meet and ask questions, discuss suggestions, and address problems or concerns with management. An open door policy serves to foster an environment of collaboration, high performance, and mutual respect between upper management and employees. It is a quality management practice and mechanism that serves to sustain employee empowerment and morale, while maintaining a vital effect on improving efficiency, productivity, growth, and corporate ethical standards. (Video length: 4:06)
"A Place for You" was developed by staff volunteers from Voices of the Staff to celebrate the extraordinary difference that diversity makes at Michigan. This video pre-dates the university's current diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which shows that valuing diversity has a long history at Michigan. The video explores universal themes of inclusion and respect.
To help faculty and staff identify and avoid potential pitfalls, Voices Technology and Best Practices team (now Leveraging Technology) created Guidelines for the Use of Social Media. This document is a compilation of suggested behaviors and considerations for members of the U-M community who choose to engage in social media. This document has been requested for use by dozens of peer institutions, and even international organizations. The U-M director of Social Media has taken ownership of the content, which was one element of the current guidelines and other resources.
The Leadership Development Team created the Leadership Competencies and Resource Guide in 2009-10 to re-organize the University of Michigan’s Organizational Competency model and develop a framework of presentation that could easily be understood and applied by U-M staff, supervisors, managers, directors and executives. In it, you will find recommended resources available both inside and outside of the university for developing or enhancing leadership competency.