Make the commitment to keep learning

Andraea “AJ” Douglass
Senior Vice President, Human Resources


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Learning is core to Ohio State. HR Senior Vice President Andraea Douglass encourages everyone to be a lifelong learner and engage in professional development.


Everyone can be a lifelong learner, no matter if you are new to the workforce or an experienced professional. Learning is core to The Ohio State University.

We all can and should take responsibility for our own professional development and leverage the resources available to support our unique journeys.

Individuals who invest in development are more engaged in their work, are more productive and enjoy greater job satisfaction.

With all that is packed into our daily routine, it can be difficult to find time to invest in our own professional development. It is important to set a development goal to properly focus on how to get where you want to be. Have open, ongoing conversations with your manager, mentors or peers to talk about your development needs, set goals and create a development plan.

While training is one way to engage in learning opportunities, less formal development experiences such as mentoring, on-the-job experiences and exposure to others through job shadowing and networking are great ways to expand your approach. The acclaimed 70-20-10 framework based on years of research indicates that lessons learned by successful individuals come roughly from:

  • real life and on-the-job-experiences, tasks and problem-solving (70 percent)
  • feedback and working with and observing role models (20 percent)
  • from courses and reading (10 percent)

People learn by doing. We learn from experience and practice, and even more from making a mistake than from getting it right the first time. Ways to learn by doing may include project involvement and leadership, community service or stretch assignments.

People learn with and through others. Employees learn more in an environment that encourages conversation. Create a culture where people are talking to each other and learning from one another. Examples are professional memberships, feedback and coaching from managers and peers, and mentoring opportunities.

People learn through education. Formal learning is a great way to build on experience and exposure. In order for formal learning to truly take hold, it needs to be reinforced with reflection and application. Formal learning may be certifications, online and traditional classes, workshops or conferences.

Ohio State is filled with opportunity and, as a top employer, provides many resources to meet the growth needs and interests expressed by faculty and staff. Check out the Office of Human Resources Gateway to Learning website where you will find many learning and development resources on topics such as mentoring, leadership, career development and more. Additionally, faculty and staff can visit the new university-wide online training tool, BuckeyeLearn, to help manage their professional development.

As you think about your own growth and development, set goals for the years ahead and make sure professional learning and development are important parts of your plans. Make the commitment to always keep learning.


About the author

Andraea “AJ” Douglass
Andraea “AJ” Douglass - douglass.101@osu.edu
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Andraea “AJ” Douglass serves as the senior vice president of talent, culture and human resources for The Ohio State University. In this role, she provides leadership, guidance, direction and oversight to the university's complex human resources functions, which serve more than 40,000 employees across the university and Wexner Medical Center. As the chief human resources officer, she is responsible for all human resources functions, including benefits and child care, employee wellness, compensation, learning and development, employee and labor relations, recruitment and staffing, human resources information technology and leadership development, as well as non-academic aspects of the faculty personnel system.

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Buckeye Voices — Commentary from The Ohio State University


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