Skip to main content

Professional development conference caters to ASU community

September 09, 2014

Professional development is essential to building an evolving and rewarding career, but accessing development trainings, while working full time and balancing the needs of our personal lives, can make it challenging. Not only is it sometimes an issue of finding the time to attend, but there’s also travel and often high costs to get the trainings we want and need.   

It is with these challenges in mind that the ASU Commission on the Status of Women and the ASU Staff Council are hosting the seventh annual ASU CSW/SC Professional Development Conference. Spread over two days, the conference will feature more than 52 workshop sessions, campus luncheons, networking events and webcasts.

Best of all, the conference will take place at all four campuses, and is completely free of charge for ASU staff, faculty and students.

The conference is scheduled for the Downtown and West campuses Wednesday, Oct. 1, and the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses Thursday, Oct. 2.  Conference sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on both days.

For the first time ever, the conference will feature webcasts of select Tempe sessions Oct. 2, allowing individuals to attend the conference from their computer.

The conference has grown and evolved over the past seven years, with each year adding new workshops, increased seating and exciting events. As one ASU staff member remarked, “It gets better every year. There are so many valuable sessions that it is incredibly difficult to choose between them all.”  

Similarly, Cathy Kerrey, director of academic services for New College, said she looks forward to this conference each year.

“The first time I attended, I was so excited to be granted the opportunity to enjoy an entire day of free, professional development provided at my home campus," said Kerrey. "The conference sessions provided me with an opportunity to improve my leadership skills and my own self-care, all while networking with others I rarely see. The conference sessions are informative and professionally presented, and the conference leaves me feeling excited and energized.”

Last year the conference had nearly 1,000 attendees, and the CSW and Staff Council expect that the number will be even higher this year due to increased workshop offerings, increased seating and webcast options.  

Karen Engler-Weber, the CSW’s senior coordinator who oversees the planning and development of the conference, said the conference planning process is complex and takes nearly a year to put together.  

“Nearly all of the workshops offered at the conference correspond to ASU’s core expectations for staff as well as the overarching goals of the university, providing the opportunity for ASU staff to develop their own careers while learning skills to help move the university forward,” Engler-Weber said. “The workshops are designed so someone can attend training, and take that knowledge back to their desk and apply it immediately. The ASU CSW/SC Professional Development Conference is one of the largest single development training events offered by a university nationwide.”  

Workshop topics this year fall into a number of important categories, including career development, leadership development, supervisory training, sustainability and financial planning. Topics such as “Power of Presence at Work,” “Leading Upward,” “Effective Workplace Communication,” “Enabling Student Success” and “Grant Writing” start out a long list of exciting workshop topics. 

This year, in light of ASU’s new compensation system, the conference is offering specific workshops on the new compensation system as well as “Owning Your Performance Evaluation.” Both of these sessions are available by webcast as well as in-person attendance. Additionally, the conference is also offering sessions geared specifically towards undergraduate and graduate students. There is something for everyone.

The completely free-of-charge conference is funded and supported through donations from colleges and administrative units across ASU.  

“Our goal with the conference has always been to provide this opportunity at no cost to the attendee and thanks to the support of many ASU colleges and units, as well as many of our workshop presenters who donate their time to leading the trainings, we are able to do so,” says Engler-Weber. “In many ways, it demonstrates the collective support that ASU has for investing in the professional development of all faculty, staff and students.”

Want to attend? Complete conference information, including registration, can be found on the CSW website at Individuals are encouraged to register early to guarantee their seat for each session. Per SPP 601, supervisors and employees are encouraged to work together to identify reasonable work modifications to allow the employee to attend conference workshops, without negatively impacting service.

If you have any questions about the conference, email or contact Karen Engler-Weber at