District to spend $689K on ‘7 Habits’ training

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Chancellor envisions leadership training in the curriculum.

By Carlos Ferrand


In an attempt to develop leadership among employees and students at the Alamo Colleges, the district is spending $689,000 over three years to reproduce materials and training for Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

According to franklincovey.com, “’The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ training program is training that helps an organization achieve superior results by focusing on making individuals and leaders more effective.

The $689,000 price tag for intellectual rights resulted from a renegotiation of the district’s contract with Franklin Covey Co. for 2014, saving the district $233,500.

In April, the board approved $922,500 to continue the district program with Covey through fiscal year 2014 and $306,090 to purchase instructional materials and facilitator services from Covey for fiscal year 2013, which ended Aug. 31.

In August, the district renegotiated the contract to purchase intellectual rights instead.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie stressed at district convocation Aug. 19 that the district would stress leadership training for its about 65,000 students each year. The district’s 6,000 employees will be trained first.

The first 200 employees in attendance were given a copy of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

By having intellectual rights, the Alamo Colleges no longer needs to purchase materials directly from Covey or pay to use its facilitators, Hope Galvan, district director of organizational learning and employee development, said.

The idea to purchase the rights came from the desire to cut costs and personalize training materials, Galvan said.

“All the shipping and all the storage that I need to do to handle that much material doesn’t make sense or to keep paying for that every time you do a class,” she said.

Galvan estimated that a training book purchased directly from Covey could cost up to $80, but with the ability to print the materials, the cost would be closer to $30.

Workshops are 2 ••• days long and focus on making the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” a lifestyle and not just a seminar, Galvan said.

“It’s not just a workshop; it’s a cultural transformation,” she said

“Dr. Leslie and our board of trustees believe that there is a leader in every seat,” Galvan said. “Everybody leads at the Alamo Colleges, not just the board or the presidents and vice chancellors. Every person leads.”

During an interview Thursday, Leslie said the goal is to have every employee and student of Alamo Colleges learn the program.

Employees must go through the program first so that they better understand how the program works, Leslie said.

Leslie’s hope is that after every employee has completed the program, it will be rolled into the core curriculum for every student.

“We believe that students knowing these skills (Covey) will help them be more successful as students,” he said. “The larger issue is that we graduate that student to be a successful employee.”

The program could be added to student development courses by next fall and would earn a student a certificate of completion that would appear on their transcript. This would be the first phase.

Currently, only students entering the college with fewer than 15 semester hours are required to take a student development course, and it is not a college-level course.

One reason Leslie selected the “7 habits” program is because it is so universally recognized by employers, he said.

“Our goal is for our students not only to understand the model but live it,” he said.

Darryl Nettles, associate director for student success at Northwest Vista College, is a strong supporter of the program and tries to live it daily.

“It’s common sense, simple things,” he said. “It’s something that everybody can do.”

Nettles said in his research of self-help programs, he finds the simple nature of the “7 habits” to be its strongest attribute.

“The more complex a program is the more people will not engage,” Nettles said.

Nettles facilities a four-hour seminar for students using the “7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students” model.

Each semester, Nettles conducts at least one workshop a month. He started teaching the program in 2006.

Workshops are voluntary and open to all Alamo Colleges’ students.

Most students find the information worthwhile, he said.

District officials would like students to take the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” but first train every employee, Galvan said.

“We don’t believe that our students will succeed until our employees succeed,” she said. “We want our students to go out to the workplace and be successful as leaders and go out to their homes and lead their families and their communities.”

The district conducts 22 workshops per semester and has trained 20 employees to facilitate the program.

District wants to train about 5,625 employees before the end of fiscal year 2014 Aug. 31. About 400-500 employees have been trained so far, Leslie said.

For more information on “7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students,” email Nettles at dnettles3@alamo.edu.


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