Important Notes

  1. Please contact Leah Graves for information about the next available program.
  2. A new supervisor is considered one who was promoted or hired into a supervisory role in the past three years, where the primary duty of the job is to supervise the work of two or more UT employees (not students) on a regular basis.

Intended Audience

This program is open to those who have been newly promoted or hired into a supervisory role.


  • Eight courses offered in four, day-long modules
  • Training delivered in consecutive months to create an immersive experience
  • A cohort format that enables participants to build a network of peers at UT
  • Collaborative learning designed for new supervisors
  • Training aligned with distinct learning objectives and competencies


“Through the [Supervisory Foundations] program, we were able to further develop our supervisory knowledge and skills to be more effective supervisors and leaders in our respective units. This program is a great way to professionally develop and grow as a supervisor and connect and engage with other supervisors and leaders on campus.”
Dr. Danny Glassmann, Associate Dean of Students, UTK

“As a new supervisor to UT I was excited for an opportunity to be a part of the Supervisory Foundations program and this did not disappoint. Each module had something different to offer and some even combined my outside interests with valuable skills I could use immediately. I think my favorite part was meeting people from all over campus, that I never would have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise. We could all work together and realize that an issue I am experiencing is incredibly similar to issues others are feeling. The Supervisory Foundations program is definitely worth the time investment.”
Sarah Holt, Library Public Services, UTK

Curriculum – Required Courses

Click course names to view descriptions.

Module I

Prerequisite to the Supervisory Foundations certificate.

Explore the difficulties of moving from staff to supervisor, as well as the challenges of becoming a new supervisor to an intact team. Discussion will include ways to effectively transition relationships with former peers and build staff commitment.

Discover your style as a supervisor — including your greatest strengths and weaknesses — and learn about individual approaches to supervision. Participants will discuss supervisory styles and explore how styles relate to communication, relationship-building and decision-making.

Module II

Emotional intelligence, such as self-management and social interaction skill, is important in numerous components of supervision, such as decision-making, giving feedback and managing productivity. Drawing upon Daniel Goleman’s classic work, “Emotional Intelligence,” as well as other research, this course places particular emphasis on how emotional intelligence relates to supervising others’ work.

Making high-impact decisions are foundational skills in supervision. This course will explore types of decisions, decision-making styles, how supervision styles impact decision-making, and methods to enhance decision-making ability. Participants will gain an understanding of what is expected of supervisors in terms of decision-making and ways to develop confidence in decision-making.

Module III

Review and discuss the brain science and psychology around giving and receiving feedback. Coursework explores the reasons why feedback often induces fear and avoidance responses and how we can conquer those emotions. Practice specific techniques for handling feedback conversations and discuss the power of feedback to demonstrate belief and commitment in staff.

In today’s modern workplace, it’s not uncommon to find as many as four or five distinct generations working side by side. Each generation has its own set of needs, preferences and motivators, especially with regard to supervision. This course offers an overview of each generation as well as specific guidance for managing generation-diverse teams.

Module IV

Delegation is an essential component of successful supervision. Participants will discuss when to delegate, what to delegate, and how to delegate effectively. Discussion and activities will focus on effective delegation techniques. Coursework will also cover a brief introduction to project management, how to approach time management concerns with staff, and ideas to build skills in creating and encouraging productivity in teams.

Explore supervisors’ impact on teams, departmental culture and work climate. Learn to recognize and respond to workplace disrespect and incivility. Discuss when it may be best to step in or let staff deal with their own interpersonal issues.