Mandatory UNM staff trainings address safety, harassment

Originally published by the Daily Lobo
By Celia Raney

All UNM employees are required to complete annual compliance trainings on how to handle workplace incidents, help prevent workplace harassment and provide information that is “pertinent to everybody’s daily jobs.”

The required trainings include Intersections: Preventing Discrimination and Harassment, basic annual safety training and an active shooter training, which was added this year.

Administered as courses through Learning Central, the courses all have due dates. But what happens if an employee misses the deadline? How do the trainings benefit UNM employees? How does UNM monitor who completes the trainings, and why are they required in the first place?

According to the Employment and Organizational Development office at UNM, if an employee doesn’t complete a training by the deadline, their supervisors are notified and the employee is given a two-month grace period to complete the course. Because supervisors are notified when an employee fails to complete a course, that information can be used in performance reviews.

Using Google Analytics, the EOD can track how much time a person spends on a course. The average time spent on the Intersections module is one hour and 15 minutes.

Because the EOD cannot track how much time an employee spends on each frame of the training, which is presented in a slide-show like format, there is no way to know if employees read the entire page or simply click through and answer the questions.

“We do hope that every University employee would uphold some sense of integrity,” said Ryan Baltunis, technical training consultant for EOD. “If they say that they have completed something, that they are in fact reading it and doing the right thing in that capacity, we do have full faith in our employees to do that.”

Because UNM has a contract with the Department of Justice which mandates the training, the Intersections course is tracked most closely.

Of the 13,649 UNM faculty, staff and student employees, 12,321 individuals, roughly 90 percent, completed the required Intersections training. Regular faculty and staff (not part-time or temporary workers) had even higher response numbers with 99 percent of regular staff and 96 percent of regular faculty completing the training.

Last year the University saw 90.7% of employees complete both Intersections and Basic Annual Safety trainings.

Some employees have reported issues with the Learning Central website when trying to complete the training, which Baltunis attributed to pop-up blockers and missed updates on personal machines. Aside from these issues, the system is “pretty sturdy,” he said.

“While the website was fairly easy to navigate, I had some problems with it going down,” said Makayla Grijalva, UNM freshman and Project Echo employee. “It was down for a couple days while I had to do the trainings, but other than that it was pretty simple.”

Aside from not being able to access the courses for a few days, Grijalva said the only other issue she had with Learning Central was how long she had to spend on some of the courses, since certain positions require other trainings in addition to the Intersections and Basic Annual Safety courses.

The Intersections and basic safety trainings are mostly “common sense,” she said.

“All of it is pretty much ethics, so it depends on how you were taught. But to me it seemed pretty basic like, ‘don’t sexually harass an employee, act civil in the workplace’ kind of thing,” she said.

While most of the course material is basic knowledge, the training is required to ensure all UNM employees know what is expected of them, their rights and their responsibilities in the workplace.

“Providing annual training on discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct is so important because we want people to know their rights, their responsibilities and their options should something unfortunate happen to them or someone they care about,” said Heather Cowan, UNM Title IX Coordinator. “Providing the same training to everyone in our campus community ensures that we are all aware of what University policy dictates and where to go for help, if we need it.”

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