Consultant Brings New Communication, Leadership Principles to UP
Last Thursday, January 28th, senior educational consultant Dr. Edward M. Cooper (pictured above) held a leadership workshop for mid-level managers at the University of Prishtina (UP).
The workshop, the first in a monthly series, is part of a long-term professional development strategy that will support stronger leadership and management skills at UP while becoming a part of the University’s internal training and certificate structure.
Dr. Cooper also led two focus groups during his stay that were co-facilitated by local consultant Alejtin Berisha to gauge key stakeholder perception of UP’s public relations (PR) and communications strategy.
A native of Brooklyn, New York City, and a 50-year resident of the state of Colorado, USA, Dr. Cooper has more than 45 years of experience in higher education in positions at all levels—from tenured professor and dean to VPAA/Provost, CEO and board mem-ber.
Dr. Cooper was also a founder and senior level executive in several for-profit higher ed-ucation ventures and spent two years at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems in the 1970’s where he helped develop the globally implemented ed-ucational outcome and impacts system.
His role with TLP-SP builds on this dynamic background to advance UP capabilities in three areas: public relations and communications, organizational change, and financial management.
This was Dr. Cooper’s second visit to Kosovo during which he moved forward with groundwork laid during his first engagement in November 2015.
Along with creating and utilizing a graphic standards manual, said Cooper, “our objective is to improve communication and PR with the community as well as specific internal and external stakeholders for UP”.
He also highlighted the skill-based nature of workshops like the one conducted on Thursday in which participants can earn certificates.
According to Dr. Cooper, “the way to engage the change management component and look at this for the long-term is to build and reinforce leadership and managerial skills and enable individual actions plans”.
Cooper again worked alongside local consultant Alejtin Berisha while presenting the workshop materials to eight heads of departments at UP who represented a cross-section of administrative and student centered functions.
Topics covered in the seminars included developing a personal framework, managing campus culture and change processes, communicating about change, leadership in higher education, project and financial management, strategic planning and Design Thinking, a paradigm that has been widely discussed and implemented in the United States.
“We are planning to continue and deepen this training to create a standing managerial certificate program that all [UP] faculties could participate in,” said Cooper.
During his visit, Dr. Cooper and the TLP-SP team also made efforts to begin designing a financial management plan for the University that will be implemented through the Office of the Rector.
Future activities, perhaps led by Dr. Cooper, will continue to serve University of Prishtina leadership and mid-level management.
Seminars, for example, will start every three months and will engage another 150 UP middle managers in small groups.
Ultimately, this work—done in consort with local consultants—is geared toward job creation.
This core focus aligns with TLP-SP’s objective to enable local institutions to produce graduates who can meet growing Kosovo’s needs.
“I think that [job creation] has to be part of the solution…as well as continued develop-ment of skills…and sustainable development of the University,” said Cooper.
“There’s a lot of energy but we have to give them the skills to sustain their businesses and institutions".