ACE graduates laud program's benefits

Linda Foster, a Libraries administration secretary, was one of 21 clerical staff members who graduated last month from the University's two-year Accomplished Clerical Excellence (ACE) program. ACE will be accepting applications until the end of June. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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For more than 30 years, the Accomplished Clerical Excellence program has been helping Purdue's clerical staff hone their professional skills, build relationships on campus and position themselves to advance their careers.

The program again is accepting applications until the end of this month. It's available to clerical staff members who have been in their current position for at least six months.

Applications are posted on the Leadership and Organizational Development (LOD) website at

Linda Foster, a Libraries administration secretary, was one of 21 who graduated from the program last month. She says that the program prompted her to forge friendships with her classmates; it also taught her invaluable skills such as public speaking, computer and telephone etiquette, and ways to improve time management.

"The networking opportunities ACE provides are a big plus," Foster says. "As classmates, we took an interest in each other's careers -- we even notified one another of open positions that might be of interest. We helped each other in any way we could."

In existence since the late 1970s, ACE graduated its first class in June 1980. Overall, 769 clerical staff members have completed the program, says Carrie Hanson, training manager in Human Resources.

Each year a new class of participants begins its first semester together. Classes meet for two hours each week starting in September.

Classes consist of traditional instruction in classroom settings as well as bus tours of campus and visits to key locations, such as Printing Services and Warehouse and Surplus. Near the end of the program, participants plan the details of their graduation ceremony, including choosing a theme, coordinating a meal and planning the agenda.

Several ACE graduates said they'd highly recommend the program to other clerical staff members. They include Dana Beck, who graduated in May. She is administrative assistant to Pamela Horne, associate vice provost for enrollment management and dean of admissions.

Beck was promoted into her position in February 2011 while she was completing the ACE program. Previously, Beck was a secretary in admissions.

"The contacts that I made while in ACE -- and the knowledge that I gained about the different departments at the University -- have served me greatly in my new position," Beck says. "Participating in ACE showed my enthusiasm and willingness to take on new tasks, which I think helped land me my promotion."

Graduates from earlier classes say the program has had reverberating effects on their careers. They include Maggie Grogan, administrative assistant in the Office of the President. Grogan graduated from ACE in 2007.

"Participating in ACE was everything that I had hoped it would be -- it opened a lot of doors for me," Grogan says. "ACE helps clerical staff members recognize their abilities and enjoy their present accomplishments while paving the way for possible promotions down the road. I would recommend ACE to every Purdue clerical employee."

More information about ACE and other employee development programs is at the LOD website, or by contacting Hanson at 49-47397 or