REGISTRATION IS OPEN | USM Professional Development Week

Fall into Success: Inspire, Innovate, Lead!

Monday, September 18 - Friday, September 22

Thanks to all who attended USM Learning and Talent Development Committee's third annual USM-wide Professional Development Week featuring learning tracks: Workplace Productivity, Personal Leadership Mastery, Inclusion and Belonging, and Wellness for the Workplace. Visit our Learning Video Archives to view all recordings. 

Questions? Email us.


Keynote Panelists

The USM Learning & Talent Development Committee’s third annual completely virtual professional development week, Fall into Success: Innovate, Inspire, Lead, kicks off with a keynote panel featuring distinguished leaders in higher education. Moderated by Melody Wright, Coordinator, Talent Learning & Organizational Development at UMBC, this compelling panel promises to provide valuable insights as these exceptional leaders share their experiences and visions for the future of higher education. It is a not-to-be-missed event, setting the tone for an exciting week of growth, learning, and professional development.

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Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D., became the eighth President of Coppin State University on May 26, 2020. He is a respected advocate for creating opportunities for all students, particularly those from underrepresented communities. President Jenkins is actively engaged in public policy issues impacting higher education, delivering keynote addresses nationally and internationally. His focus areas include economic development, crisis management, diversity, African American male initiatives, social justice, and funding higher education. Under his leadership, Coppin State is working to cement its status as a national leader in urban higher education, offering new academic programs and emphasizing adult learner education through online offerings. President Jenkins is involved in several civic organizations and has been honored for his leadership in social change and community engagement.

Born in Washington, D.C., and raised between the capital and North Carolina, President Jenkins is a United States Army veteran and a first-generation Fayetteville State University college graduate. He holds a master's degree from North Carolina Central University and a doctorate from Virginia Tech. Notably, he is the first graduate in the history of Virginia Tech’s Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) doctoral program to become a college or university president. President Jenkins is married to Toinette, his college sweetheart, who proudly serves as the First Lady of Coppin State University. They have two daughters.


Ellen Herbst was appointed the University System of Maryland's Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance in November 2017. Before this role, she served as Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration at the United States Department of Commerce. In her current position, Herbst is responsible for managing the financial and administrative performance of the University System of Maryland (USM). She serves as a senior leader for the USM Office and works closely with the system's 12 institutions and two regional centers. Herbst represents the USM in collaboration with Maryland's public officials to ensure high-quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and support research, scholarship, and programs benefiting the citizens of Maryland and the nation. Her areas of oversight include strategic planning, performance and accountability, enrollment management, finance, budgeting, information technology, human resources, and more. She brings valuable executive experience from the federal government and private sector, having worked at various corporations before her government service.

As Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance at the University System of Maryland, Ellen Herbst is vital in ensuring the smooth functioning of the system's financial and administrative operations. Her areas of responsibility encompass strategic planning, financial management, human resources, and information technology. Her educational background includes an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Accounting from the University of Delaware, Newark, making her well-equipped to handle the complexities of managing the University System of Maryland's administrative and financial affairs.


Chris Steele is the Vice Provost for Professional & Extended Studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He has been part of the UMBC community since 1996, initially as a research associate in the Department of Geography & Environmental Systems. Over the years, he has played a pivotal role in developing workforce development and community-engaged programs in The Shriver Center and The Division of Professional Studies, focusing on promoting economic prosperity, social mobility, and social justice. Steele's leadership style embodies the principles of servant leadership and adaptive leadership, emphasizing partnership and stewardship in his approach to leading educational initiatives.

Steele's academic journey includes a BA in Geography from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA in Geography from Binghamton University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from The University of Maryland. He has also studied Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University and participated in various education management programs. In his role, Steele has fostered collaboration with multiple academic and administrative units at UMBC, contributing to developing new and enhanced programs to reach diverse student audiences. Notable achievements include establishing UMBC's presence at The Universities at Shady Grove, creating numerous applied master's programs, and founding UMBC's Institute of Extended Learning. Additionally, he has contributed significantly to the growth and development of The Shriver Center, connecting UMBC with local, regional, and international communities. Beyond academia, Steele is a veteran of the Army National Guard, an avid strength training athlete, and a certified kettlebell instructor. He resides in Baltimore with his wife and two daughters.


Dr. Patricia (Patty) A. Perillo is the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) at the University of Maryland (UMD), where she recently returned after working at seven other institutions of higher learning. Before joining UMD, she served as VPSA and assistant professor of higher education at Virginia Tech for seven years. With over 30 years of experience as a renowned scholar-practitioner, Patty leads more than 13 departments and administrative units within UMD's Division of Student Affairs. She focuses on creating collaborative learning partnerships between student affairs and academic affairs to ensure transformative experiences for students. She is an international leader in higher education, having served as the past president of ACPA – College Student Educators International.

Patty hails from Wilmington, DE. One of eight children, her dedication to education and social justice stems from being the first in her family to graduate from college. Patty’s educational background includes a doctoral degree in Public and Community Health from the University of Maryland, a master's degree in College Counseling and Student Affairs, and a bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of Delaware. She has received many honors and awards including ACPA’s Esther Lloyd Jones Professional Service Award, ACPA’s Diamond Honoree Award and inductions into Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa to name a few. Patty is deeply committed to UMD's values of community, service, well-being, inclusion, and learning, and she views her position at VPSA as a homecoming. Outside of her professional commitments, Patty enjoys spending time with her spouse, extended family, and close friends, engaging in various activities such as the arts, athletics, outdoor pursuits, and personal reflection.


Lawanda Dockins-Mills served as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs at Salisbury University until her recent retirement. With over 30 years of experience in the field, she is a visionary leader known for her innovative approach to creating programs for first-year and second-year college students, orientation, mentoring, and fostering positive town-gown relationships. She earned her Ph.D. in organizational leadership from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and holds an M.Ed. in education administration and a B.A. in communication arts from Salisbury University. Dockins-Mills plays a significant role in various committees and boards, including serving as vice-chair of SU's Town-Gown Council, co-chair of SU's Neighborhood Relations Committee, and chair of the Neighborhood Compact Committee.

Throughout her distinguished career, Dockins-Mills has received numerous awards and recognitions for her outstanding contributions to student services and community engagement. She earned the Board of Regents Staff Award for Outstanding Services to Students in an Academic or Residential Environment, the SU Presidential Award, the SU President’s Diversity Award, and the Town-Gown Distinguished Service Award. Her leadership in hosting the "Building Common Ground" campaign has positively impacted thousands of students and community members, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment for all involved. Dockins-Mills' dedication to diversity and her contributions to student and community success has earned her nominations for prestigious honors, including Maryland’s Top 100 Women of 2020.


Dr. Diane Forbes Berthoud is the first Chief Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer and Vice President (CEDIO/VP) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) since July 1, 2021. Reporting directly to UMB's president, she leads and advances the institution's equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) strategy, overseeing institutional change and designing an accountability framework to evaluate the impact of EDI initiatives. Before joining UMB, she held key positions at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), including associate vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion. In that role, she managed the university's Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, developed accountability data dashboards, and created an EDI best practices resource and diversity strategic planning toolkit. Forbes Berthoud has been awarded faculty fellowships in the areas of women’s leadership, community-based research, public policy, and curriculum design. Her contributions to higher education and the community earned her recognition as a San Diego Woman of Distinction.

Dr. Forbes Berthoud's extensive history in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region includes affiliations with George Washington University, George Mason University, Howard University, University of Maryland, College Park, and Trinity Washington University. She has also consulted with The American Psychological Association and an Ombudsperson at the U.S. Capitol. She holds a Ph.D. and MA degrees in Organizational Communication and Social Psychology from Howard University, a BA in Communication, a Spanish Translation and Interpretation certificate from Barry University, and a certificate in mediation from the National Center for Conflict Resolution. Her EDI, organizational communication, and social psychology expertise make her a valuable leader in advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion at UMB.







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Michelle Hixson, Instructional Technologist & Tim Pelesky, CIO, FSU

Elevate productivity with "Powerful Productivity: A.I. Assistance in the Workplace" training. Explore AI-powered tools automating tasks, freeing time for high-value work. Discover ethical considerations in A.I. implementation. Engage in an interactive presentation to unlock the full potential of A.I. in your professional journey. Embrace the transformative power of A.I. to maximize efficiency and drive success.

Presenter Bio

Michelle Hixson has broad experience in the private and public sectors collaborating to develop solutions using technology tools. She likes staying current on new technologies and being an early adopter. As an instructional technologist whose primary focus is supporting faculty and staff through 1:1 and group training, she strives to assist peers in integrating new tools with their respective positions.

Tim Pelesky has enjoyed technology leadership roles both inside and outside of higher education. Holding a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and an M.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg University, he finds recent advances in generative artificial intelligence particularly interesting.  He believes that the coupling of AI with live data will ultimately revolutionize both industry and customer service.


Ebony Phillips, Training and Development Specialist, UMD

Global workplace stress and disengagement are critical issues affecting employees worldwide. Unwinding from job tasks is vital for overall well-being, yet many struggle to disconnect from stressors. This workshop explores workplace stress's complexities and its impact on individuals and organizations. Participants gain insights into recovery's significance for a healthier work-life balance.

Interactive discussions and practical tips empower attendees to effectively transition from stress to recovery. Rejuvenation and recharge are prioritized, equipping participants to navigate workplace stress more adeptly.

Organizations can enhance employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction by cultivating a well-being and recovery culture. Join us in fostering a healthier, resilient workforce and creating a positive and thriving work environment.

Presenter Bio

Ebony Phillips is the ORA/SPAC Training Specialist. She oversees the training programs and initiatives for these departments. She has over 18 years of experience training, coaching, and developing curriculum and workshops. She is a certified Training Coordinator, a Professional in Human Resources, and an ICF-trained Professional Coach. She has an M.A. in Executive Coaching and Consulting. Her passion is inspiring leadership growth in individuals, especially emerging leaders.


Dr. Lucy Gichaga, Retention Co-ordinator, College of Arts and Sciences, BSU

Post-pandemic higher education institutions strive for student retention. Inclusion and belonging are vital beyond H.R. discussions, fostering a balanced workplace for staff, faculty, and students. Negotiating issues through equity and belonging lenses creates win-win outcomes. The daily discipline of belonging and inclusion treatment, access to resources, and individualized support foster the best retention outcomes. Students persist, compete, graduate on time, and become committed alums. As a retention coordinator, I witness the transformative power of this approach, nurturing a thriving educational community. Embrace the strategy of inclusion and belonging for long-lasting success in higher education.

Presenter Bio

Dr. Lucy Gichaga is the Retention Coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bowie State University. 
She has led efforts in retention in both the in-between semester seasons and the within-semester seasons. She enjoys offering individualized and holistic student support to support success in all eight College of Arts and Sciences departments. 

Dr. Gichaga completed her Ph.D. in Communications at Regent University in 2015 and served as Communications faculty before crossing over to administration and supporting data-driven student success. Her research has been in Communications supporting social good and emerging technologies. She researched mitigation strategies based on early warning information systems. 

Dr. Gichaga loves working with the Starfish Retention solution application as the application allows institutions to work together towards a genuinely efficient early earning mitigation system to support student success in all facets of the student’s needs. She believes that a well-managed digital transformation process, which includes a solid human component of caring and empowered staff, will help us achieve student success goals. 

She is passionate about the goal of student-centered individualized, holistic support with significant outcomes on positive higher education student experiences, outcomes, retention, persistence and completion rates. She believes nurturing students through engaged classroom experiences, proactive institutional action and individualized care will profoundly benefit the institutions both short-term and long-term. This is the main motivation in her work as a Retention coordinator in all her interactions with students, their faculty, and their families. 


Jeffrey McClellan, Professor of Management, FSU

Influence begins with self-awareness and self-influence. This workshop delves into spirituality, influence, and fundamental leadership to develop a strong internal way of being. Discover the essence of effective leadership by examining personal values and their alignment with leadership qualities.

Learn to focus on these values for more significant influence as a formal or informal leader. Cultivate a strong foundation of self to influence others and achieve leadership success successfully. Embrace this transformative opportunity to enhance your leadership journey and make a lasting impact.

Presenter Bio

Jeffrey McClellan is a Professor of Management at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, MD, and a former advising administrator. He is an experienced consultant, teacher, coach, trainer, and speaker. He teaches leadership and management and publishes and presents regularly on topics related to international leadership development, leadership in Latin America, servant leadership, and academic advising. Jeff earned his Ph. D. from Gonzaga University in Leadership Studies. He lives in Hagerstown, MD. 


Christopher Bender, Assistant Dean for Communications, A. James Clark School of Engineering, UMD

This workshop offers practical tools for enhancing virtual meetings and presentations. Discover ways to boost engagement, use multimedia elements effectively, and handle Q&A sessions. As virtual engagements become part of our daily routines, let's work together to make them impactful and valuable uses of people's time.

Presenter Bio

Chris is the assistant dean for communications at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering. He works with a team of communications pros to tell a story rooted in strategy and executed with forward-leaning tactics. He has 20 years of experience, including work on Capitol Hill and for a global biotech company.


Diane Zeenny Ghorayeb, International Scholar Coordinator, ISSS, Center for Global Engagement, UMBC

Intercultural awareness training fosters understanding and connection between diverse worldviews, equipping trainees with essential knowledge and skills for thriving in culturally diverse university settings. As international student, staff, and faculty numbers grow, this training becomes indispensable.

Empowering staff with cross-cultural competencies enables effective engagement with the global university community. Awareness of cultural differences enhances intercultural interactions, fostering meaningful relationships. Communication strategies facilitate collaboration and mutual understanding.

This training embraces cultural diversity, creating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment. Building bridges across cultures enriches campus ecosystems, unleashing the true potential of a globally connected academic community. Invest in this transformative opportunity for harmonious and enriched educational experiences.

Presenter Bio

Diane Zeenny Ghorayeb was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and after the Civil War in Lebanon started, she went on to live for 22 years in Paris, France. In 2006, she brought all of these varied aspects of her experience with her to the U.S. where she has combined them into a dynamic hybrid identity. After working in translation for several years, Diane joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in 2016. She obtained her Master of Arts in Intercultural Communication from UMBC in 2022. Diane is fluent in English, French, and Arabic.

Diane currently serves as International Scholars Coordinator in the Center for Global Engagement at UMBC. She manages UMBC’s J-1 Exchange Visitor Program and H-1B petitions for specialty occupation workers.

In her spare time, you can find Diane in her kitchen, cooking up a gourmet feast for her friends. Or eagerly trying to convince her family and lifelong friends from Lebanon or France to come visit so they could discover her life in the U.S.


Michele Hunt, Sr. Consultant, Organization and Employee Development, UMB

Enhance your communication with this course on crafting clear, persuasive documents. Delve into emails, memos, reports, proposals, and presentations. Identify your audience and purpose to tailor your writing effectively. Master tone, style, and language for impactful communication.

The workshop provides concrete tools for immediate implementation and improved writing prowess. Gain confidence and proficiency in crafting compelling materials. Whether a professional seeking persuasive communication or an aspiring writer honing skills, this course refines abilities.

Elevate the impact of your written communication in personal and professional spheres. Join us to embark on this journey of improving communication skills and achieving success in all endeavors.

Presenter Bio

I joined the University of Maryland, Baltimore in November of 2018. My current position is Senior Consultant.  Prior to UMB I spent 6 years at Towson University and almost 25 years at The American Red Cross Blood Services as a training and development professional. I received my Bachelor of Science from Loyola University Maryland and Masters degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Instructional System Design. I am also an adjunct professor at Towson University in the Communication Studies Department teaching Public Speaking, Business and Professional Communication and Communication in Training and Development. The written word has played a significant role in my career. A crucial skill is the ability to write a variety of business documents that are read and acted upon.


Christopher Everett, HR Business Partner, FSU

This presentation addresses global burnout prevalence and stress management strategies. Learn to combat burnout through techniques like optimizing performance, undoing untidy thinking, leveraging leisure, securing support, and evaluating efforts. Escape burnout and mental fatigue by implementing these empowering strategies. Reclaim balance, well-being, and productivity to thrive in both personal and professional spheres. Embrace the journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Presenter Bio

Chris is a HR Business Partner at FSU and handles recruitment, training & development, classification & compensation and various other projects for the Academic Affairs Division at FSU. He also deals with immigration for foreign national employees.


Shawn Celio, Director of H.R. Partnerships and Employee Labor relations and Nadea Armogan, Learning & Organizational Development Specialist, MSU

Microaffirmations foster inclusivity and convey value and respect in the workplace. Simple acts like nodding or eye contact make employees feel heard, leading to happier and more confident teams. Intentional use brings positive outcomes: greater job satisfaction, increased confidence, meaningful relationships, heightened productivity, and an inclusive environment. This learning opportunity equips participants with the knowledge to leverage microaffirmations for enhanced employee experiences and job satisfaction. By incorporating these gestures, they create a supportive and validating atmosphere, fostering a more inclusive and thriving workplace.

Presenter Bio

Shawn Celio is the HR Director at Morgan State University. With a BA and MBA from UMBC, he's skilled in mediation, DEI, and HR service models. He led HR at Luminis Health, MedStar Health, and Johns Hopkins. He's known for fostering trust and productivity, focusing on labor relations, engagement, and workforce planning. He discussed "Quiet quitting" on WJZ, wrote about workplace dynamics in Baltimore Sun, and advised MSU's lacrosse teams for restoration.

Nadea is currently the Learning and Organizational Development Specialist at Morgan State University. Her passion for Human Resources comes from a professional background of 10+ years in Applied Behavior Analysis and vocational rehabilitation. Naturally, she enjoys working with people to help them maximize their potential and achieve their goals through evidence-based practice. Aside from her role at Morgan State, Nadea is active in community outreach. She is a mentor for Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization that engages education and policy partners to drive systematic change and provides direct support to teen parents in college as well as their children through holistic, two-generation programming. She also volunteers at local schools to provide coaching and guidance on classroom and behavior management. For fun, Nadea enjoys hot yoga, cooking, motherhood and all things Harry Potter!


Melody Wright, Coordinator, Talent Learning & Organizational Development, UMBC

Join this overview of psychological safety's four stages to foster an inclusive and innovative team environment. Embrace inclusivity and openness to create a safe space for learning, contribution, and challenging the status quo.

As defined by Timothy R. Clark, psychological safety encourages open dialogue without fear of embarrassment or punishment. High-performing teams learn from failures, leading to more wins than losses.

As a leader, define success with open dialogue and learning. Encourage candid sharing of concerns and successes. Embrace diverse perspectives and listen to all voices.
This interactive seminar delves into essential aspects of psychological safety, providing insights on creating a nurturing team environment. Unlock your team's full potential with inclusivity, openness, and a supportive culture fostering innovation and growth.

Presenter Bio

Melody Wright, M.A. serves as the Coordinator for the Talent Learning & Organizational Development unit within the Human Resources & Strategic Talent Development department at UMBC. Melody has over 20 years of experience in corporate and non-profit management, before moving into instructional design and development. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from UMGC and an M.A. in Instructional Systems Development from UMBC, a notary license, and is a certified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. She has been a campus leader in shared governance and is experienced in developing and guiding others into leadership roles. In her spare time she loves to travel the globe, read crime novels, and is entertained by a husband, two adult children, one dog and two mischievous young cats. 


Dr Pauline Belton, Adjunct Professor, Mental Health Counseling M.A. Program, Department of Counseling, BSU

Positive and negative stress is a constant influence on all of our lives. The trick is to maximize the positive stress and to minimize the negative stress. Participants will be shown how stress can be positive and negative, and we’ll look at the Triple A approach that will form the basis of this workshop.

Navigating Stress in the workshop will give participants a three-option method for addressing any stressful situation, as well as a toolbox of personal skills, including using routines, relaxation techniques, and a stress log system.

Presenter Bio

Dr Belton is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Board-certified Hypnotherapist, Trauma-Informed Grief and Loss Specialist, Approved Clinical Supervisor, Author, Consultant, Adjunct Professor, and Talk-Radio Host. Dr Belton enjoys the process of teaching and learning. As an Adjunct Professor, Mental Health Counseling M.A. Program at Bowie State University, growing the next generation of Mental Health Providers is a complete joy and honor.


Jeff Cullen, Director, Student Conduct & Community Standards, UMBC

The pandemic and hybrid work negatively impacted workplace relationships, reducing trust and rapport. Restorative practices offer a valuable solution to foster connections and build community. This workshop explores restorative theory and practice, enhancing morale and well-being.

Implementing restorative approaches can improve workplace atmosphere and team dynamics. Reconnecting meaningfully, even in a hybrid setup, promotes a supportive and cohesive workplace. Learn practical techniques to create a positive and productive work environment through restorative practices. Embrace this transformative opportunity to rebuild relationships and enhance workplace dynamics.

Presenter Bio

Jeff Cullen, Ph.D.  is the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, where he has worked for 16 years. Jeff is the co-founder of the restorative practices initiative at UMBC which has trained more than 500 faculty, staff, and students since the program's inception in 2015. Jeff is also involved with exempt staff governance at UMBC.


Jill Weinknecht Wardell, Director, Workplace Learning, O.D. & Wellness, UMBC

Unlock mindfulness' transformative power, embarking on a journey of self-improvement within a supportive community. Together, with our USM peers, we will begin the morning with power and presence with a series of rejuvenating mindfulness meditation practices. Led by UMBC's Jill Wardell, each day will explore different meditation techniques aimed at cultivating awareness, focus, and resilience that, when practiced over time, build our capacity for skillful responses to life's challenges. Each session will include time for practice and discussion, sharing insights, observations, and application strategies.

Presenter Bio

Jill Weinknecht Wardell, MA, leads UMBC's Workplace Learning, O.D. & Wellness. A proud alum, B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies, MA in Transformative Leadership. Executive coach, mindfulness practitioner, and teacher, integrating wellness into org. development. Enjoys kombucha brewing, public speaking, and joyful moments with her kids. 


Connect with esteemed colleagues from the University System of Maryland (USM) in an engaging and interactive virtual networking session. Facilitated by the Learning & Talent Development Committee leaders, these 45-minute sessions offer purposeful conversations centered around thought-provoking questions. Explore a common theme, foster camaraderie, and ignite professional growth. Share insights, exchange ideas, and build meaningful connections. Take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to connect, collaborate, and thrive in creating a brighter future for higher education.