sealPurdue News

October 30, 2001

Krannert School support staff go online for training program

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Krannert School administrative support staff are going back to school – without even having to leave their desks, thanks to a Web-based online training program.

Barbara A. Strueh

"We've always encouraged training and development of our support staff at Krannert," says Barbara A. Strueh, Krannert School manager of facilities and support services. "Last May, we rolled out password-protected online training. It's a formalization of what we've done before to enable our staff to become more proficient in their current jobs and grow and expand both professionally and personally."

The online PowerPoint training includes tutorials on computer software packages, the Purdue computing system and workplace subjects such as ergonomics, teamwork, and stress and time management.

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This year, Krannert support staff are required to complete 20 hours of training – 10 hours of technical training and 10 in personal/professional development. Individual staff members choose the subject matter, and completing the 20 hours of training is on the honor system.

Judy Wilson, a Krannert secretary who supports six professors, has used SmartForce tutorials to upgrade her skills in Microsoft Word and Excel.

"I like the online tutorials better than I would a class," Wilson says. "I can do the training when I choose, right at my desk. It's comfortable, and I can concentrate better."

Pat Fletcher, another Krannert secretary, was part of the seven-person staff Voice Committee that helped put the training program together with Strueh. (The other members of the Voice Committee were Jeanne Baum, Marsha Bunten, Wendy Madore, Cindy McCall, Susan Slaughterbeck and Jo Wiggins.)

"In addition to the online training, we also have monthly seminars on topics such as office safety and connecting with customers," Fletcher says.

Fletcher is an enthusiastic backer of the program. "I think the investment in us is extraordinary."

Fletcher and Strueh credit the dean's office with initial and ongoing support of the training effort.

The training program started last spring with a survey, finding resources and conferring with others on campus. The Purdue libraries have a Web-based training program, so the Voice Committee adapted some of their material.

Then, the Krannert School's in-house computer staff (Jerry Brower, Ryan Chan, Todd Smoak and David Hoover) installed the training tutorials online.

"The computing staff was also instrumental in coordination and installation of software, and they developed a user-friendly manual," Strueh said.

Strueh says she also maintains a library of books and videos available to staff in addition to specialized training.

"We're open to having people tell us what they need," she says. "We send staff to training and have brought software experts in. The message is we want people to be competent and confident to do their jobs."

Another part of the message is the 53 support staff at Krannert are a team, so if a secretary needs to become proficient in new software, PowerPoint, for example, Strueh's office refers the secretary to a list of other Krannert secretaries who are already using the software.

"If you're just one person, there's only so much you can do," Strueh says. "If you're part of a network, you're much more powerful because you can learn different things from different points of view."

Strueh says there are numerous benefits for the participants.

"Internally, we look for people who have gotten training, who have gone the extra mile in developing themselves."

Strueh says she expects the training program to grow and evolve in response to changing technology and the needs of the Krannert School support staff.

Writer: J. Michael Lillich, (765) 494-2077,

Sources: Barbara A. Strueh, (765) 494-4454,

Judy Wilson, (765) 496-1818,

Pat Fletcher, (765) 494-7324,

Judy Wilson, a Krannert School secretary, has improved her computer skills by using the Web-based online training tutorials that all Krannert School support staff personnel now use. The online training presents support staff with a variety of options for professional and personal development. (News Service photo by David Umberger.)

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