By Connie Chang, Knowledge Management Research Analyst at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
Editor’s Note: We are happy to post two takes on a recent course on “Managing Your Work Environment” offered by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and facilitated by Judith Millesen, Ph.D. Both authors were recipients of grants from the Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) section of AALL. Thank you to Connie and Janet for taking the time to share their thoughts on their experiences and takeaways from the course.
Thanks to a grant from the Private Law Librarians & Information Professionals Special Interest Section (PLLIP-SIS), I attended the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) course, “Managing Your Work Environment.” The course focused on team development and interpersonal skills. It was held over three weeks (Sept. 13 to Oct. 4, 2022). There was also some pre-course work on the importance of having a growth mindset and taking time to reflect about work experiences. I am so grateful to PLLIP members for supporting the PLLIP-SIS grants through your dues. I am also very grateful to the PLLIP-SIS Grants Committee for managing the grants program on behalf of our section.
There were 18 learners in the course, half at law firms, three in government law libraries, and six at law school libraries. The course format was virtual and mostly asynchronous, concluding with a synchronous group discussion via Zoom. Our instructor was Judith Millesen, PhD, Director of Strategic Planning, Fundraising, and Capacity Building at Association Options. Her experience includes teaching as a professor for 20 years and advising nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Through recorded video lectures, carefully selected course materials, and insightful feedback on each learner’s discussion board posts, short reflective essays, plus a short video that each learner made, Professor Millesen skillfully guided us in our quests to be better team members (or team leaders).
During our Zoom meeting at the end of the course, it was clear that the course enriched learners with information and suggestions we could employ immediately to help improve our work (and personal) lives. The coursework helped us to identify areas where we wanted to become stronger. Some common themes that also came through in our discussion board posts and in our final meeting were: learning from our mistakes, becoming more mindful and more comfortable with discomfort that can lead to growth, and keeping in mind what we can and cannot control. Though I learned many things from the course that I plan to explore further and implement, I share below only one key takeaway from each week in the course.