If you've been thinking about taking a professional development course or computer training at MIT and have been waiting for the "yellow book" from Personnel or the Computer Training Catalog from Information Systems, they aren't coming in their usual form.
Instead, all employees should by now have received the MIT Training and Development catalog, which for the first time includes the courses offered by a number of areas in one publication.
Information about courses offered to employees by the following departments is included: Benefits Office, Campus Police, Environmental Medical Service, Family Resource Center, Financial Systems Services, Information Systems, Performance Consulting and Training (part of Personnel) and the Safety Office. There is also information about the Writing and Communication Center, Toastmasters (for improving speaking skills), and learning activities on diversity and harassment issues.
Combining the courses into one publication responds to comments heard by the Training Policies and Administration project team that locating information about training at MIT is sometimes difficult. Other advantages of the combined catalog are that it will reduce some administrative work for departments offering training and also will save money in production and distribution costs.
The course listings are presented in three main categories -- professional and personal development, information technology, and safety and health. The group providing the training is listed on the outer edge of each page. The new catalog is intentionally more generic than its individual predecessors in that it doesn't list a specific day, time, location or presenter for a given course.
"This new catalog is designed to give employees a comprehensive view of the training and development opportunities MIT offers. But the web is really the best place to get the most current details about new courses and information on dates and locations of classes," said Jeanne Cavanaugh, team leader of Training and Publications Services in Information Systems.
The training web site for each department is listed at the bottom of its course description pages. In addition, there is a new web site at that provides a listing and links to all of the groups.
Most of the courses listed in the catalog are free of charge to MIT community members. Exceptions include more advanced information technology training and some courses that have a fee for materials. Although most fee-based courses in the catalog are not covered by MIT's tuition assistance benefit, the publication does include information about the policy on page 6. This was added to address community comments that the Tuition Assistance Plan is not widely advertised to employees.
The catalog includes short sections designed to help employees plan the courses they want to take and tips on how to apply what they've learned. The inside back cover provides information on MIT's Professional Learning Center.
Departments included in the catalog will continue to distribute periodic flyers or other small publications, but they hope that community members will use the new catalog in combination with the web sites to learn about and register for training. Extra copies were printed to be available for new employees and for departments who want to include the catalog in their own orientation programs. For additional copies, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call x3-7685.
Some departments such as Facilities provide training that is geared and offered specifically to its employees, so those courses are not included in the new MIT Training and Development catalog.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 6, 1999.