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NSWC Crane’s internal university stays open for business while employees work from home

By Audrey C. Deiser, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | June 16, 2020

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division’s (NSWC Crane) internal university, Crane Division University (CDU), remains fully operational while most of the workforce it serves is teleworking. NSWC Crane initiated a corporate university concept in 2015 that would focus on Crane specific training needs for the workforce and stood up CDU as part of the Workforce Development team.  CDU provides relevant, tailored training to its employees, ensuring the workforce stays up to date on training requirements and continues professional development.

“When max telework was announced, we were able to quickly pivot and create online training for the workforce,” said Abbie Swartzentruber, a curriculum development specialist who supports CDU. “We made sure the development of our workforce never stopped.”

To date, the CDU team has created 20 CDU Original and Exclusive courses and is currently working on an additional six CDU Original and Exclusive courses to be piloted in FY20. Since March 1, NSWC Crane has provided 15 virtual courses to employees, with 10 more scheduled for June. The CDU team has even developed a new course specifically for employees working from home. “Telework: Healthy Habits & Happiness,” inspired by Yale University’s popular “The Science of Well-Being,” guides employees to evaluate initial happiness levels, discuss what contributes to those levels, and create healthy habits.

“The course also emphasizes the importance of setting a schedule, outlines general email and conference call etiquette, and addresses strategies for managing stress while working from home,” said Swartzentruber. “Participants will walk away with practical steps that will, hopefully, lead to increased happiness levels and improved overall well-being and productivity.”

The CDU team has made it a priority to keep the courses interactive, since that is a tenant of all the university’s original courses. In the course “Introduction to Technical White Papers,” CDU Facilitator and Technical Advisor Scott Karcher transformed an in-person editing activity to an online one using email and screen sharing. Instructors are also using conference lines and communication tools provided by the Department of Defense (DOD) to facilitate group discussions and keep attendees engaged.

“One of the key benefits of our CDU Originals courses, facilitated by Crane personnel, is the interaction students get to have with each other and Crane leaders,” said Karcher. “We have only converted courses that can maintain that interaction and high quality instruction – delivering the highest quality courses possible is always our top priority.”

Responses to the move online have been largely positive, tracked by anonymous evaluations conducted at the conclusion of each course. Participants lauded the instructors’ flexibility, experience, and willingness to help troubleshoot when problems arise.

“I thought the course was great, and the instructors did a very good job when faced with adversity,” said one respondent. “I would encourage more virtual courses, even when we’re back.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

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