Award Winning Program LUCO Relaunching

The Human Resources Department at the University of Central Oklahoma is relaunching the award-winning Leadership UCO program, which had been inactive last year due to revisions of its content.

The program was dedicated for full-time faculty and staff focusing on the development of their professional and personal leadership qualities, network and interpersonal skills. It was revised by different departments across campus, as well as previous participants and subject-matter experts on campus.

“The goal was to incorporate all of their knowledge in order to establish a program owned by UCO and that would specifically meet the needs of UCO employees,” said Fran Petties, director of Professional Development.

After working in the HR office for 19 years, Petties said the department has a habit of reevaluating their programs every three years, but this year they decided to take it a step further.

“We have asked them to develop the curriculum in a way that it could be facilitated by anyone,” Petties said. “So, in the future, if they are not available, we would be able to facilitate the content of those sessions or identify other experts in the matter to facilitate it.”

The relaunch of LUCO brings a completely new curriculum focusing on five different areas: self-development, strategic thinking and problem solving, leadership basics, communication and group dynamics.

Petties described these five subjects as the foundational areas of leadership development.

“Those are areas where staff and faculty should focus on and further develop themselves in,” said Jakey Dobbs, coordinator of LUCO and professional development specialist.

Applications for LUCO opened July 2 and will close at 5 p.m. on Aug. 8. Around 20 of the applicants will be accepted into the program, according to Petties. The application and the program are free of charge.

Only full-time UCO faculty or staff can apply, while new employees must have successfully completed their introductory period before July 1, 2018.

According Dobbs, an ideal applicant would be someone who is already seeking professional development on and off campus.

“I’m wanting to see a passion to do it and then to see how they are impacting their community,” Dobbs said.

Michelle Ramsdell, assistant director of the Max Chambers Library, was part of LUCO’s 14th class in 2016-2017. Aside from the program’s content, Ramsdell wanted to join LUCO because of the networking opportunities that it offered.

“You really learn a lot about how to deal with people,” Ramsdell said. “You had a lot of training on how to deal with introverts, extroverts and everybody in between, how to communicate more effectively. You also learn about yourself, where you fall in that line.”

In 2017, LUCO was recognized nationally by as one of the top programs with Emphasis on Leadership and Organizational Development as it came in second place. The HR Professional Development: Management Development Program of UCO also got third place.

“LUCO gives the opportunity for faculty and staff to expand their knowledge and their skills outside their job,” Dobbs said. “It gives them the ability to be out of the office and focus on themselves and their professional development.”

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