Editor's note: This story from 2014 was mistakenly run in the April 14, 2017, issue of Penn State Today. This event is not scheduled this year. Our sincere apologies for any confusion.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State faculty, staff and student competitors from the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Huck Institutes and the Materials Research Institute will vie for Olympic gold July 23 on the lawn of the Millennium Science Complex on the University Park campus.
With private industry currently spending over $7 billion annually on training and leadership development, it represents the largest sector of investment into training and leadership development today.
“Corporations discovered over 20 years ago that it was more cost-effective to develop leaders than it was to rehire and train new managers,” said Huck Institutes administrative director Wendy Buterbaugh. “As a result, many companies have launched internal professional development programs to train employees on team and leadership development, and as a way of encouraging competitiveness, collaboration and innovation.”
“Working in private industry,” Buterbaugh said, “I was doing two to three weeks a year of mandatory training in team building and leadership development. When I joined Penn State, I noticed a lack of communication and cohesion among the faculty, staff, students and administration, and I wanted to bring those concepts of team building and leadership development from my background in industry to my new work in academia.”
After working at the College of the Liberal Arts, which also holds an annual Olympics for their faculty, staff and students, Buterbaugh said she decided to take the idea to the next level at the Huck Institutes by building on professional development and using scientific props and concepts in the events — even including a few water activities strictly for fun and as a nice way to cool off on a hot summer day.