North Carolina Department of Correction
June 3, 1999 graduation of first class
Jeff Schwartz, LETRA
Jeff Schwartz of LETRA
Correction Manager's Training
|This is a very happy
occasion for all of us who have worked on this program,
as well as for the people who are graduating. Many of you
in the audience who work for the department and family
and friends know something about this program which has
been called the Correctional Leadership Development
Program. I think as we congratulate the participants who
are graduating, it's appropriate that you have some sense
of what it is that these folks have done and what the
department has accomplished.
We began last September, nine months ago with a six-day residential training program. The residential training has been the heart of this leadership development effort. It was at Aqueduct, a small retreat outside of Chapel Hill. That six day session was followed by a seven or eight week break and then a four day residential training session and then three more four-day residential training sessions separated by six or seven weeks, then a longer break and a two-day session that we're having now for evaluation and graduation. In all, 22 days in residence. However, a typical four-day session for these folks involved two evening sessions, class from 8 till 9:30 or 10. The result was the equivalent of 29 days of full 8-hour days of training. The training was aimed at the graduate level. I have no question that that was where it was. It was demanding. Before a typical four-day residential session, James might get in the mail a reading book, perhaps 200 pages. That contained readings for each half day curriculum session that he was going to face in the next four days on site. At the beginning on each of those sessions, he was tested on his knowledge of the reading coming into the session. So lots of testing, lots of accountability, just a lot of work to be done. In addition to the residential training which focused about half on management skills--all of it specific to corrections, the other half roughly was on leadership skills.
At the end of all of that, there was a project to be done, an action project that followed from a research project. To do a research project, everybody had to get on the internet. Some of the folks here who are now comfortable with the internet had never done that. They had never done a search. There was a literature search in the professional literature, use of the internet, all for a research project that led to an action project that had to be completed, evaluated, written in final form and then presented to the other participants, faculty members and members of the department's executive management team.
In addition to those two parts of the program, a third major element was mentoring. Everyone in the program spent four days mentoring with an experienced manager within their own division. Then later in the program, four days were spent mentoring with someone in a different division. If you were within prisons you would mentor within community corrections for four days with a high-level, experienced manager. Then later in the program, everybody who was within prisons or community corrections went to support services in the central office. Some of them mentored with Sam Newman in fiscal control, some with classification, but different areas. There was a total of ten days of mentoring with senior managers in the department. It was a very important component of the program.
We got a surprise when we stopped and calculated how much time was involved in this management leadership development program. What we found was that over the nine month duration of the program, it involved almost exactly one-third of the working days of the participants. That was in addition to handling their regular jobs.
When we started this effort as faculty developing this program and presenting it, our direction from Secretary Mack Jarvis was: we haven't prepared the next generation of leaders for a long time. We need to do that. Let's get on with it. Let's prepare tomorrow's leaders for this department. Let's prepare at the same time a new breed of manager. A manager who will be more like private sector managers, more entrapunerial, more able to move in a fast paced environment. In addition to that, there was interest that the program attempt to bridge some of the gaps between divisions within the department because of the size of the department.
The results at the end of nine months with this first class are very clear to us. We do not have the formal evaluation results in yet. Jim Horner and his folks at NC State are doing an outside, independent evaluation that is rigorous and in a while we'll be most interested to get those results. Subjectively, I can tell you some results that we are willing to hang our hats on.
All of the goals that the department had set have been met. This group of participants has exceeded our expectations and hopes. We have been very surprised with what has been accomplished. The people in this group have established working relationships and friendships which I will bet any of you will last the rest of their careers. There is a deep understanding across areas of this department on behalf of participants who came in without that, who were real good, real able, but their view of the department was their own area. That's changed. It has been extremely rewarding for Cindy and myself, for all of the faculty, to see the personal and professional growth in this group. It has been extremely rewarding.
The long term impact on the department is not clear now, but will be clear in five to ten years. I would expect it will be dramatic. I think we have a lot of tomorrow's leaders sitting here.
I want to give you a couple of examples. Yesterday, final projects were presented. Let me just give you some topics. Let me give you some examples of how serious the course projects were and how much some have to offer this department and the breadth of things that people took on.
Betty Beam took on a monitoring program, extending electronic monitoring of offenders to a specific application that has to do with domestic violence. Absolute leading edge stuff. Cynthia Bostick created a professional development center for staff at her institution. This allowed staff to explore training, career opportunities and personal development opportunities. These are not the exceptional projects, this is characteristic of what this group did. That's in addition to the classroom work and the more traditional leadership and manage development.
There is no comparable management or leadership development program in the country and their has not been for the last 25 years anywhere in American corrections. There has been no leadership or management effort that has been anywhere near this ambitious. North Carolina Department of Correction is and has been a national leader in a number of ways. This is another area where this state is setting the pace and setting the standard nationally. You should be pleased and proud with that.
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