Excellence in Management

This program, a joint offering by the Office of Human Resources and Penn State Executive Programs, is designed to provide the strategic leadership perspectives and skills required for managers and directors who manage units and budgets. Participants attending the program will learn how to create strategic direction, align people and resources to implement the unit’s goals and strategies, and lead change. Special focus will be placed on creating an environment of ethics and value-based decision-making, accountability, and calculated risk-taking and innovation.

This program is typically scheduled twice a year, once in the summer (June/July) and once in the winter (January/February).

Please note that there is  no fee for Penn State employees to attend this program.

For more information or to apply for this program, contact Christy Helms or Mary Ann Harvey.

Who Should Attend

This program is designed for University leaders who manage units and budgets, typically with titles including Manager, Director, Senior Director, Executive Director, and Department Head.

When determining if this program is right for you, please consider the following questions:

  1. Does “Manager” or above appear in your official Penn State job classification title?
  2. Do you set vision and strategy for a unit?
  3. Do you manage a budget?
  4. Do you manage a unit or group of people?
  5. Have you been at Penn State for at least 1 year?

Program Benefits

Delivered through six one-day sessions, the program prepares Penn State leaders to critically assess and respond to the changing environment, see how the forces of culture impact performance, understand how financial measures are linked to strategy, and hone leadership skills that establish a common sense of purpose for commitment and cooperation.

 The program provides participants with these strategic leadership and management skills:

 Creating vision, direction, and strategy

  • Innovative, creative problem-solving
  • Creating an environment of appropriate risk-taking
  • Ethics and value based decision-making
  • Setting and managing budgets
  • Inculcating accountability
  • Developing capabilities and people management
  • Communicating effectively at all levels of the organization
  • Leading change

Program Schedule

This program is scheduled for six sessions, meeting every Tuesday from June 16th through July 21st. The sessions meet in room 201 in the Keller Building on the University Park campus from 8:30 – 5:00. Lunch is included each day.

Program Content

Strategic Leadership

  • The Strategy Challenge
  • The Organizational Challenge - New Rules for Organizations; New Roles for Leaders
  • The Culture Challenge
  • Unit Assessment and Prioritization

 Creating and Implementing Strategy

  • What is Strategy?
  • Assessing Your Strategy
  • Aligning Unit Strategy with Enterprise Goals
  • Market and Competitors
  • Building Capabilities, Systems, Processes, Talent
  • Setting Goals and Managing Performance
  • Unit Assessment and Prioritization

 Innovation and Critical Thinking in Strategy Execution

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Design Thinking
  • Studio Method for Innovation
  • Designing Organizations that Work
  • Analysis Tools
  • Action Planning

 Financial Accountability, Budgeting and Business Decision Making

  • Linking Financial Measures to Strategy
  • Setting and Managing Budgets
  • Business Modeling and Decision Tools
  • Innovation and Complexity
  • Action Planning

 Ethical Decision Making at Penn State

  • Penn State and Ethics
  • Ethical Myths
  • Personal & Professional Codes of Ethics
  • Right vs Wrong Ethics
  • Right vs Right Ethics
  • Decision Making Tools, Models, and Resources

 Leadership Assessment and Performance Management

  • 360 Assessment and Feedback
  • Performance Management

 Strategic Priorities and Challenges

  • Creating the Future: The Strategic Leadership Model
  • Framing Your Challenge
  • Action Planning

Putting Theory into Practice

Program delivery links lecture to applied learning assignments as well as self-directed learning via the following activities:

Leadership Feedback - Through a 360-degree assessment tool that uses data provided by your colleagues, you receive a focused look into the organizational climate specific to your immediate sphere of influence. Feedback from the instrument combined with coaching by the faculty provide important personal and organizational insight that, when armed with new perspectives and data, form the basis of real change.

Change Leadership Simulation - You will apply concepts discussed about the process of change through a computer-based simulation that has you determine the appropriate tactics and timing of them in order to lead a successful change initiative. This is an extremely powerful tool that provides intense learning in a short period of time.

Faculty Leaders

A premier faculty group, including a Top 10 leadership coach, will provide frameworks and techniques to transform vision into an action plan for results. Please access their vitae on our Website.


Dr. Albert A. Vicere, Executive Education Professor of Strategic Leadership, The Smeal College of Business

Ms. Maria Taylor, Program Co-Faculty Director, Managing Director of Executive Programs, The Smeal College of Business

Mr. Andy Reisinger, Associate Director, Office of Corporate Controller

Ms. Deb Meder, Assistant Controller, Office of Corporate Controller

Mr. Ken Pasch, Instructor in Accounting and Finance and Professor of Global Business Studies, The Smeal College of Business

Dr. Victoria Sanchez, Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Equity, Office of Educational Equity

Dr. Tim Balliett, Ethics Specialist, Office of Ethics and Compliance

Ms. Stephanie Flanagan, Performance Management and Onboarding, Workplace Learning and Performance

Mr. Andy Gustafson, Assistant Professor of Managerial Communications, The Smeal College of Business

Ms. Christy Helms, Leadership & Management and Learning Design, Workplace Learning and Performance