Professional Development Is Key

by Lane Trotter
Langara College
Vancouver, BC

I think it’s fair to say that our institutions are dealing with many of the same challenges. Declining budgets, rising enrollments, emerging student needs – these are but a few examples. I’m sure you have some of your own to add to the list.

At the top of my list are two challenges that require a renewed focus on the professional development of our faculty and staff.

Take, for example, the ever-increasing number of Baby Boomers who are, or will be, retiring. The result: We’re faced with having to refresh and rebuild those in our staff, faculty and administrative ranks. The answer, to a large extent, relies on advancing the skills of our employees through ongoing professional development.

Rapid change and the need to keep pace is another key challenge. This is, perhaps, most apparent in marketing and communications. Students and community members increasingly expect rapid-fire responses in their search for information. This often means leveraging technology. And it means making sure marketing and communications team members are what I call “nimble” having the advanced skills to keep up.

In times of budget cutbacks, it’s tempting to cut back on professional development. Instead, I believe it’s more important to seek out educational opportunities with a proven track record – those known for their quality of content, capacity to build professional networks, and cost-effectiveness.

Over the past 12 years, I have found all of these qualities in the programming offered through NCMPR, and I have consistently encouraged my employees to take advantage of it, from regional and national conferences, to webinars and the summer institute. Coming up next month – March 11 to 14, in San Francisco – is NCMPR’s annual national conference, with an agenda full of topics on community college marketing and PR. Take a look at the program. I’m confident you’ll find something that will directly benefit your staff and, ultimately, your institution.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at And all the best in the year ahead.

Lane Trotter is NCMPR Past President and president of Langara College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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