The University Record, April 24, 2000

Workplace 2000 offers 43 workshops, focuses on technology and people

By Jane R. Elgass

With 43 personal and professional development workshops, seven half-day pre-conference programs, information on the latest information technology developments and a resource fair, Workplace 2000 “helps all of us deal with the fact that workplaces are changing rapidly” says Robert B. Holmes, director of Human Resource Development (HRD).

“Busy people at all job levels need to explore personal and professional development within limited time periods, and the conference is a wonderful way to do that.

“It is increasingly evident that employees must continuously develop their competencies if they are to be successful in such a rapidly changing work environment,” Holmes adds.

Holmes notes that a new and key aspect of Workplace 2000 is an emphasis on the link between people and technology. “Displays and demonstrations being developed by the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Information Technology Division present all of us with an opportunity to increase our knowledge of how information technology can serve us by freeing up our skills and creativity. Workplace 2000 will be different from anything we’ve had in the past.”

In addition to the emphasis on people and technology, there are other aspects of the program that are new this year, according to Barbara Mulay, HRD staff development associate who has chaired the planning committee for the past 18 months.

For the first time, members of the community have been invited to participate in the program. The keynote sessions will include entertainment by the Business and Finance Division’s Diversity Choir (May 17) and the Community High School Jazz Ensemble (May 18).

And three topics that demand more than the usual 90-minute sessions—organizational negativity, effective communication and Web design—are being presented in intensive, three-hour afternoon workshops.

“The conference is designed for members of the University and greater community who are interested in furthering their professional development,” Mulay notes, adding that there are many learning opportunities outside the workshops.

“Just attending the program will expose participants to a wide range of subjects and resources,” she says. “If they can’t attend all the sessions that interest them, they at least will know who to contact after the program. In addition, the morning, afternoon breaks and lunch breaks offer wonderful networking opportunities. We’ll be setting up tables on the third floor of the League during the lunch break to help participants get together.”

Pre-conference sessions for “Workplace 2000: Career Success in the 21st Century” will take place May 16. The workshops, displays, demonstrations and resource fair will be held May 17–18, with most of the workshops being presented each day. Sessions will be held at the Michigan League, Rackham Building, Alumni Association and NUBS (North University Building).

“Presenting the workshops twice makes it possible for many more staff to attend without compromising the ongoing work of their units,” Holmes notes. “It also makes it possible for everyone to learn more, as staff can attend different workshops and then share information with their co-workers.”

Remarks and greetings from the University will be offered by guest speaker Jose-Marie Griffiths, university chief information officer and executive director of ITD, who will talk about “Making IT Work—The People Priority.”

Keynote speaker Walt Stasinski will discuss “The Lighter Side of the Success: Humor in the Workplace.” Stasinski will share practical strategies for enjoying your job and managing stress, giving co-workers recognition in a fun way and using humor to foster more productive staff meetings.

Stasinski, a U-M graduate, is a professional keynoter and consultant and teaches at Wayne State University. His aim is to help individuals achieve success and have fun in the process and to encourage them to take action to meet the challenges in their lives.

Workplace 2000 Awards—Distinguished Service Award, Exemplary Team Award and Outstanding Leadership Award—will be presented following the keynote address.

Pre-conference sessions on May 16 will focus on achieving balance in your work and personal lives, developing effective interpersonal relationships, financial management, time management, working in a team setting, and the importance of a “good fit” between you and your job.

The more than 40 workshops will cover such topics as the current status of the admissions lawsuits against the University and what the suits mean for staff, effective use of e-mail, relieving job stress, working with individuals of all generations, managing conflict, developing a holistic life, effective communication and making the change from peer to supervisor.

In the “Millennium Room” at the Michigan League, displays and information on advanced information technology projects being created at the U-M will be featured. Included are some projects recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, as well as some of the displays and demonstrations included at the recent ITCom Technology Fair in workplace technology of the future. Also included will be information on knowledge communities and teaching in the 21st century. Virtual reality projects will be showcased at the Alumni Center.

Also available will be a “Solution Station” that will offer short demonstrations on accomplishing such tasks as animating charts in PowerPoint and wrapping text around a graphic in PageMaker, as well as information on public domain graphic resources; an “Information Station,” providing information on technology services such as videoconferencing, UMTV and UM Online; and cyberstations, where those attending the conference can check out the Web or access their e-mail.

Registration fees, $59 for the pre-conference sessions (space is limited) or $89 for one day of the conference, include lunch. Advance registration is due May 2 and may be made online at or For more information, call (734) 764-5305.

The conference is hosted by HRD and Conference Management Services, and sponsored in part by TIAA-CREF, Manpower Employment Services, Care Choices, Kelly Services, Hyatt Legal Plan and the U-M Credit Union.