Cornell University advances an environment of continuous learning and professional growth as a way to align the needs of the institution with the skills, interests and abilities of those in our workforce. These guidelines describe the career development programs designed to prepare staff to meet the challenges of today’s workplace and outlines staff and university responsibilities regarding career development.


The development of staff is a shared responsibility of individual staff members, managers and the university leadership.


The staff member has the primary responsibility for maintaining effective individual performance and managing professional and career development by:

  • Keeping skills and knowledge up to date to meet changing workplace needs and the expectations of the current position.
  • Examining current skills and identifying areas for further development.
  • Seeking opportunities for ongoing skills enhancement.
  • Pursuing relevant training.
  • Contributing to the department/division's goals and objectives.

To participate in a professional development opportunity, the staff member will initiate the request to participate in a relevant opportunity by engaging in a discussion with his/her immediate supervisor.


The responsibility of supervisors is to create and foster an environment that facilitates and enhances the skills training and career development of staff by:

  • Discussing with staff members development needs in relation to the work of the unit.
  • Providing opportunities for the discussion of individual goals on at least an annual basis and for the development of a mutually agreed on plan for training and career development.
  • Recognizing developmental achievements during the year.
  • Based on the operational requirements of the unit, providing job-specific training to enable staff members to acquire skills and knowledge necessary to complete the work of the unit based on identified needs.
  • To the extent that operational requirements allow, providing staff members with appropriate opportunities to acquire skills or experience which would enhance the staff member's ability to make a continuing contribution to the work of the University.​


The university provides tools and programs that allow staff to plan and grow their careers.