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'Post-Crisis Leadership' Certificate Program Draws 8,000 Participants from 80 Countries

By Keith Morelli

Session Full

TAMPA (June 5, 2020) -- As a major section of the workforce is working remotely – or laid off – because of the COVID-19 crisis, thousands took the opportunity to better themselves through an online certificate program offered by the Muma College of Business. The “Post-Crisis Leadership” certificate could not have been timelier as businesses big and small begin to emerge from under the lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the deadly virus.

Nearly a month into the seven-week course, some 8,000 participants from 80 countries have tuned in to listen to lectures, ask questions and learn how to best meet the challenges of coming out from under the COVID-19 blanket that has covered the nation since March.

Those taking the course, which normally would have cost a minimum of $3,000 per attendee, but which was free from the college as a give-back to the community, are not all business people.

Rachel Piotrowski, who has bachelor’s degrees in international studies and anthropology from USF and who was recalled early from her Peace Corps assignment in Belize this spring because of the pandemic, is among the non-business-minded participants.

"I have no prior experience in business courses," she said. "The opportunity for a certificate in post-crisis leadership was recommended to me as a resume building opportunity. After registering and examining the list of themes and topics for each week, I had initially wondered how much the course would benefit someone with my background.

"Now, halfway through the modules, I have found the content both relatable and helpful," she said. "The certificate course has incorporated several guest speakers to contribute their expertise and diversify the conversations. I would confidently recommend this program to others."

The program explores the psychology behind how people think, the importance of studying trends to find solutions and being mindful of the quality of interactions when responding to a crisis, she said.

"This is practical advice for me as a health professional, and for anyone who wants to work with and understand the public," she said. "COVID-19 is not the first major crisis we will face, nor will it be the last. The ability to adapt and respond effectively to these crises is crucial for success across a variety of sectors."

Piotrowski, a USF Honors College graduate, is working on completing a master’s degree in public health at USF in August. She is looking for the next step in her career and thought the program would offer some insight regarding leadership and management and life in general in response to the pandemic.

The course was designed to impart knowledge to business leaders who are shuttered or slowed down during the COVID-19 lockdown. Now that the nation is beginning to emerge from the pandemic and businesses – large and small – are starting to re-open, knowing how to navigate the path to success is essential. And that is what this program is all about.

Three will be new challenges in the coming weeks and months and leaders will be called upon to achieve success in the re-opening of the economy.

The “Post-Crisis Leadership” certificate is the college’s way of giving back to its business partners who have suffered through the economic hardships caused by the spread of the virus. The program, granted from an accredited university, targeted individuals interested in upskilling, preparing for the new normal, résumé building and being more indispensable within their careers.

It is being offered 100 percent online, so there are no social distancing issues.

The curriculum was designed to teach students how to navigate the transition from the crisis to the new normal and how to recruit, organize, evaluate and lead a resilient team. The Muma College of Business faculty, who have volunteered to teach the modules, designed the curriculum.