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Supervisor training program recognized for quality

August 28, 2023

Annual Knowlton award given for excellent innovations

Brenda Merkel, Wendy Simmermon, Matthew Ingram, and Deb Roach collaborated on a supervisor training program which was awarded the 2023 Knowlton Excellence in Quality award at DSU. Not pictured is Mike Roach.

Successful supervisors are the key to organizational success. In order for supervisors to infuse positive leadership, motivation, and communication skills across all university departments, an interdisciplinary team at Dakota State University created a training series to impact these skills among DSU supervisors.

For their efforts, the team was awarded the 2023 Knowlton Excellence in Quality Award at the annual Welcome and University Address on August 14.

The multi-meeting series, titled Professional Training in Supervisory Management, was created by a team from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Business & Information Systems, including Wendy Simmermon, Brenda Merkel, Matthew Ingram, and Michael Roach.

Simmermon is a lecturer in the College of Business and Information Systems (BIS), Merkel and Roach are assistant professors in the College of BIS, and Ingram is an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. They also worked with the Human Resources Department, including HR Vice President Deb Roach to create communications for the program.

“I was happy to participate in this project because of the positive overall and widespread positive potential impact it would have on our colleagues, and our students,” said Simmermon.

This program is unique given the use of internal resources, faculty expertise, and the cross-campus impact. Sessions included topics of culture, empathy, championing performance management, motivation, and evaluations.

The program created a positive direction within the first nine months of implementation. Ingram said, “it is empowering to hear the stories of our campus supervisors as they've shared their campus successes, charted opportunities for growth, and helped our team learn about the professional development opportunities and collaborations we can forge to support our campus colleagues.”

He added, “I am honored to have had the opportunity to bring together supervisors and build a collaborative learning community of leaders.”

The Knowlton award was instituted in 2017 to honor employees who make outstanding contributions to improving processes and outcomes at Dakota State. It is named after former DSU president Doug Knowlton, who was a leader in implementing the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program at Dakota State in 2010. CQI is a business management philosophy and a technique that perpetually evaluates organizational processes.

Past KEQ award projects include a mental health library, a remote learning help night, and a student transportation program.


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