Supervision Essentials

Employee retention and engagement are key to successful companies. The Supervision Essentials program, developed by a faculty team with both academic and managerial experience, is designed for first-level supervisors, managers new to supervising others, and/or individuals likely to move into a supervision role. The program features four courses; each course consists of four half-day modules (for a total of 16 modules). All classes are instructor-led and held virtually, using Zoom video-conferencing technology. Feel free to take just one course, or earn the Penn State non-credit Supervision Essentials certificate by completing all four!

Questions? Contact our office at [email protected] or call 570-675-9253.

Scroll down or click on the course titles below for course descriptions:

MDEV 6000: Supervisor Roles & Responsibilities 

Course Content

Module 1: Meeting Supervisory Responsibilities

  • The Transitions to Supervision
  • Supervisory Roles and Skills
  • Values and Ethics
  • Management Approaches and Styles

Module 2: Communicating Effectively

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • The Elements of a Message
  • Communication Barriers and Problems
  • Effective Listening

Module 3: Building Work Relationships

  • Interpersonal Styles
  • High Quality Work Relationships
  • Strengthening Work Relationships
  • Building Trust with Employees

Module 4: Leading Others

  • Characteristics of Effective Leaders
  • Leadership Focused Areas
  • Providing Excellent Direction
  • Delegating Effectively


MDEV 6001: Managing Employee Performance

Course Content

Module 1: Setting the Stage for Excellent Performance

  • Performance Management
  • What Motivates Employees
  • Supervisor as Performance Manager
  • Expectations for Excellence

Module 2: Clarifying Expectations and Observing Performance

  • SMART Performance Objectives
  • Setting Standards and Measures
  • Communicating Expectations
  • Observations and Performance Data

Module 3: Coaching and Providing Feedback

  • Supervisor as Coach
  • Providing Effective Feedback
  • Developing Coaching Skills
  • Planning a Coaching Session

Module 4: Dealing with Challenging Performance Situations

  • Performance Improvement Sessions
  • Positive Approach to Discipline
  • Planning for Performance Improvement
  • High-Quality Performance Evaluations


MDEV 6002: Solving Problems and Managing Priorities

Course Content

Module 1: Managing Time and Priorities

  • Identifying Priorities
  • Maintaining Focus
  • Dealing with Time Wasters
  • A Goal-Based Approach to Time Management

Module 2: Solving Problems

  • Problems Faced by Supervisors
  • The Six-Step Problem-Solving Process
  • Tools and Techniques for Solving Problems
  • Applying Tools to Current Problems

Module 3: Resolving Conflicts

  • Causes and Nature of Interpersonal Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution Styles
  • Planning Positive Resolutions
  • Guidelines for Positive Interactions

Module 4: Supervising Projects

  • What is a Project?
  • Project Stages and Elements
  • Tools for Project Planning, Coordination and Monitoring
  • Reducing Project-Related Problems

MDEV 6010: Developing Individuals and Teams

Course Content

Module 1: Interviewing and Selecting Employees

  • Behavioral Interviewing
  • Planning the Interview and Developing Questions
  • Conducting Effective Interviews
  • Legal Considerations in Employee Selection

Module 2: Developing Employee Skills

  • The Supervisor’s Role in Skill Development
  • Determining Employee Needs for Development
  • On-The-Job Training and Coaching
  • Tips for Effective Classroom Training

Module 3: Developing a Team

  • Characteristics of Effective Teams
  • Developing Teams for Success
  • Reducing Barriers to Teamwork
  • Virtual Teams

Module 4: Building a Positive Work Climate

  • Employee Interactions, Work Climates and Performance
  • Respect in a Diverse Workforce
  • Dealing with Difficult Behavior in Others
  • Keeping on Top of Stress