L&D Manager Spotlight - Art Markman

Art Markman,

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs,

Extended Education Ventures

headshot of Art Markman

1. Describe your role for UT. 

I am the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. My portfolio has two main components. On the one hand, there is Extended Education Ventures (EEV), which coordinates and facilitates the growth of continuing and professional education programs across campus. The team works with units all over campus to run existing programs and to spur the development of new offerings. As the president’s State of the University address discussed, growth of continuing and professional education is a core element of the strategic plan. In addition, EEV runs the Thompson Conference Center, University Extension, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute programs and the Campus Testing Center. The other half of the portfolio is the academic affairs team, which consists of the Center for Teaching and Learning, the Office of Academic Technology, and Strategic Academic Initiatives. This group focuses on fostering an environment of continuous improvement in the way we teach on campus by collaborating with colleges and schools to improve course designs, make optimal use of course evaluations, and to find the best technologies to improve the accessibility and impact of the way we teach. I work with campus leaders to find opportunities for EEV and Academic Affairs to influence our campus programs and strategize with our teams to allow their expertise to benefit campus.

2. What was the most important lesson you learned as a new manager?

One early lesson was that no matter how hard you try to be approachable, trustworthy, and accessible, not everyone who works for you is going to tell you everything you would like to know. Your direct reports may not want to tell you they disagree with a decision or that there is a problem that needs to get solved or that they are struggling with a problem. Your team members want to make a positive impression on you, and that may lead them to edit what you hear from them. You need to find ways to observe what is happening with your team and to find trusted people who can give you information about what is happening that you’re not hearing about.

3. What advice do you have for managers to help develop their team?

It is important to add learning goals to everyone’s plan for the year. When you do yearly evaluations with team members, have them identify one or two growth areas. You should also add your own observations to this list. Then, work with each team member to develop a plan for ways to enhance their knowledge and skills in these areas. This could involve courses at UT, programs elsewhere, or even using the many online options for picking up new skills. Think about these growth opportunities both in terms of how your supervisees can shore up some of the weaknesses in their performance, but also how they may grow into new roles in the future. Helping everyone at UT recognize their potential for advancement in their career is a great way to help retain your best people.

4. Why is learning in the workplace important?

Creating a learning culture matters across all the portfolios at UT. As I mentioned in my previous answer, it helps with retention, because it demonstrates that all staff at the university are valued. It also enables people to grow into new roles. In addition, the world is constantly changing. Technology influences every facet of the university from the computing and data facilities that track the progress of students and staff to the way that we maintain our facilities. There are advances in workplace health and wellness. In addition, making good on the strategic goal of being the highest impact public university means looking for improvement and innovation in all corners of UT.  All this means that the processes we will use five years from now will be different from those we employ today. As a result, we have to make sure that every employee is exposed to new approaches, knowledge, and skills to ensure we continue to provide great service to the university community.

5. What is your favorite way to learn (feel free to mention any tool, subscriptions, or services here as well)?  

I feel like 30% of my job involves learning new things. I keep up with newsletters and articles from professional societies in my area and I’m a member of a group of administrators from other top-tier universities that shares information. I have a few people who serve as mentors for me that I can ask for help and advice with problems I’m facing. In addition, I try to read something that falls outside of my area of expertise to create opportunities to be surprised in discovering the relevance of something I knew very little about. Lately, I have been listening to biographies of presidents and other leaders while I work out. That has taught me a lot about how successful people prioritize when they have an overwhelming number of things they are supposed to be doing.