Writer: Roger Nielsen
The Brazilian government supervisors didn’t get what they expected when they arrived for the first professional development course the Carl Vinson Institute of Government delivered in South America.
Instead of a stodgy lecture, more than 60 officials attending the Institute’s Succeeding as a Supervisor program got an interactive learning experience that encouraged class participation and engagement.
And they loved it.
Managers from 27 Brazilian government agencies completed the two Succeeding as a Supervisor courses the Institute delivered Dec. 4–8 in Brasilia for the Brazil Ministry of Finance’s School of Public Finance Administration—known as ESAF for its Portuguese acronym. Now, ESAF and the Institute are exploring opportunities to provide additional supervisory and management training in Brazil, according to Institute Interim Director Stacy Jones.
“Our courses were extremely well received,” Jones said. “It was an opportunity to take a highly successful UGA program to Brazil and have an impact on their civil service.”
SaaS training helps supervisors develop their skills in motivating employees, performance coaching and other topics critical to effective leadership. Jones and Institute faculty member Walt McBride co-taught one of the SaaS courses. Institute faculty member Marci Campbell teamed with Associate Vice President for Public Service and Outreach Steve Dempsey to deliver the other course.
The interactive learning experience stimulated the finance officers’ sense of engagement and heightened their class participation, according to Campbell. “It was a new type of learning environment for them, and I think they enjoyed it. It’s about facilitated discussion, it’s active learning, and they were just really involved in the class,” she said.
Dempsey was impressed at how fast the supervisors began applying what they learned—some didn’t even wait for the weeklong course to end before emailing colleagues with suggestions. “They embraced a lot of what we presented, especially our mix of textbook material and practical application,” he said.
The UGA School of Public and International Affairs’ global reputation for excellence was critical to the ESAF project, according to Jones and Rusty Brooks, head of the Institute’s International Center. Brooks contacted ESAF leaders interested in collaborating with a U.S. training organization at the suggestion of Bradley Wright, head of SPIA’s Department of Public Administration and Policy.
“This is an exciting new partner, and it gets the Institute into South America, where we’ve never worked before,” Brooks said.