About Learning & Development

We are advocates for working professionals continuously learning, and help create a structure of success for learning. We believe that continuous learning is a load-bearing pillar for well-being, and knowing how to learn is fundamental to running a healthy, innovative, and productive organization. Through knowledge sharing, online learning, and collaborations with our UT partners, we will foster a community of learning and establish UT as a first class learning organization for all working professionals.

Our UT L&D Team:

Emil Kresl, Director of Learning & Development

Email: kresl@austin.utexas.edu
Phone: 512-471-0797

  • MPAff, University of Texas at Austin
  • MSCRP, University of Texas at Austin
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin at Madison

For twenty years at The University of Texas, Emil has helped people at every level of the university better understand their own jobs and discover ways to make those jobs better. His work in academic departments, The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, and now Human Resources has provided him with a comprehensive knowledge of the systems, policies, and procedures of UT and higher education. In all of those UT departments Emil improved working conditions and increased efficiencies. He now reaches out to the rest of The University to do the same.

As the director of Learning & Development, Emil advocates for all working professionals at UT to continuously learn. In addition to coordinating courses lead by world class instructors, he also provides several talks for the the UT community throughout the year. Emil helps people realize their potential in part by adapting technical and complex professional concepts for use in everyday life, but also by raising their awareness of cultural and behavioral issues that influence their performance.

In addition to being a student of professional and personal development, he is a student of public policy and community planning, and has had various articles published on those topics. He is also the author of Self-leadership: The Art and Science of Control.

Frances Delacruz, UTLearn Lead

Email: frances.delacruz@austin.utexas.edu
Phone: 512-232-4537

  • Bachelor of Science in Technical Management, DeVry University
  • Masters in Project Management, Keller Graduate School of Management

Frances is a seasoned learning and development consultant with over 10 years of experience in staff development, instructional design, and program administration.  She has extensive administrator level proficiency in learning management systems along with enterprise-wide strategic level contributor in systems implementation, program planning, and process improvement.  Frances is highly committed in creating content, delivering learning programs, and leveraging learning solutions to support a culture of learning for working professionals.

Frances is also a member of the State Agency Coordinating Committee, Training & Development Subcommittee whose mission is to create training and development opportunities for all state employees resulting in quality programs that are cost effective for the State of Texas.

Michele Bennett, Administrative Associate

Email: michele.bennett@austin.utexas.edu
Phone: 512-475-9706

For the past 20 years, Michele Bennett, has provided support to Human Resources as an administrative associate. Her focus has been on logistical support, website design, communication, progress improvement, and professional development. Michele is a strong believer that the little things and details matter, whether it’s preparing class handouts or coordinating an event.

Additionally, Michele is the project lead for the President’s Staff Awards Program which recognizes outstanding staff and supervisors across UT and staff members for years of dedicated service. In her spare time she enjoys a variety of artistic endeavors including glass fusing and photography.

Organizational Learning Team

UT Learning & Development provides boutique service for departments and teams looking for more organization focused facilitation and instruction. Tommy Darwin and Susan Franzen will participate in a planned event or help build a whole event around their programming. Choose from a list of topics below or work with Tommy and Susan to develop a customized course. Contact us at UTLD@austin.utexas.edu for pricing.

  1. Communication: Communicating across reporting levels and teams, having difficult conversations, giving critical feedback, and using different communication style and formats (e.g., oral, email, virtual, text, etc.)
  2. Effective Teams: Collaboration strategies, change management, communication, diversity and inclusion, and emotional intelligence.
  3. Identifying Professional Strengths: Intentionally seeking out strengths in ourselves and others, understanding their roles among groups, and knowing how best to apply them.
  4. Problem Solving: Critical thinking, decision, making, collaborating, methodologies.
  5. Working with Diverse Personal Traits and Tendencies: Personality inventories and assessments, interactive exercises to help people see the usefulness (and humor) in diversity.
  6. Workload Management & Productivity: Tools for maintaining focus, being productive, and minimizing distractions, time management principles, workload organization, and prioritizing strategies.

Tommy Darwin

Dr. Tommy Darwin served as the Director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program in the Moody College of Communication for several years, in his 20 years at UT he held positions in the Graduate School and DDCE. He also worked directly with a number of programs across campus. Dr. Darwin has developed programs and graduate level courses in the broad areas of entrepreneurship, leadership, and community and organizational change. He works with individuals and groups to build their resilience and ability to engage opportunities and adapt effectively to changing situations.

Susan Franzen

Susan is a collaborative, strategic, and visionary leader with a focus on growth, change, and performance improvement. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership and organizational development.

Susan has designed, developed, and facilitated over 100 leadership education learning modules, led the strategic planning process for over 50 leadership teams, planned and moderated six higher education and business conferences with 200 to 1200 attendees, facilitated over 165 strategic retreats, achieved 77 percent completion of 26 organizational change initiatives within 18 months, and implements approximately 75 change initiatives each year.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Elmhurst College and a Master’s in the Neuroscience of Leadership from Middlesex University. She is a graduate of Coach University, and is certified in DiSC Behavioral Theory, Training and Development (Boston University), Evaluation (Kirkpatrick), Negotiation (Karass), The Leadership Challenge program and 360-assessment (Kouzes & Posner), Prosci Change Management, and Professional Teleclass Leader (Teleclass4U.com). She currently serves as Chair of Hospice Austin where she has volunteered and served on the Board since 2003. She credits her interest in how our brains work to her nephew’s recovery from a traumatic brain injury and her houseful of rescue dogs. In her spare time, she reads books on neuroscience for fun.