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NCPRE to help professionals prevent, solve problems at work in its first Coursera offering


CSL Communications

It can be hard to choose–or even know–the right path, and to find a way to take it.  Even if you are an expert in your field, you may find that knowing how to navigate workplace pitfalls is just as important to your career as technical skills.

C.K. Gunsalus
C.K. Gunsalus
C.K. Gunsalus
Consider whether something like this has ever happened to you:

  • Your colleagues seem to routinely overestimate on their timesheets.
  • Your boss asks you to fudge a sales report.
  • People around you take office supplies home for their personal use.
  • You're put under pressure to sign your name to an official document you haven't read.
  • Your supervisor asks for your opinion, and you know the truth will hurt or cause him or those above him trouble.
  • You know something that would help a friend if you were legally allowed to talk about it; when the subject comes up, you need to have the right words to make sure you don't break the law.

“People don't get up in the morning planning to be fired that day,” said C.K. Gunsalus, director of the National Center for Professional & Research Ethics and Professor Emerita of the College of Business at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “While temptation, rationalization, and other human coping mechanisms can get us into trouble, most of these problems are predictable, and we can learn skills to help us get through them. The single best way to to prevent and solve problems at work is to start from a foundation of knowing what you stand for—your values and goals—and aligning your words and actions with them.”

Gunsalus and her NCPRE colleagues and a range of professional guest experts, in collaboration with of UIUC's Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, tackle the pitfalls that professionals can encounter through a three-course specialization called “Professional IQ: Preventing and Solving Problems at Work.” The first course of the specialization, “Foundations of Professional Identity,” is available now as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) through Coursera. The course is open to any learner, and accepts new learners on a rolling basis. More information on the course and on how to enroll is available at this link.

The course includes guests from AMD, start-up Zip-DX, Sierra Training, the University of Illinois Community Credit Union, lawyers, management professionals, and more. Material is also drawn from Gunsalus’s book, “The Young Professional’s Survival Guide: From Cab Fares to Moral Snares,” published by Harvard University Press in 2012. The program will use tailored quizzes and exercises to help cement learning. Access to the material is free. Those who complete all three courses and a capstone project on a fee-paying basis will qualify for Coursera's specialization track and will receive a certificate.

The subsequent two courses in the specialization are scheduled to launch in June and August of this year.  More information on the specialization can be found here.