Training and Development Mission Statement

The mission of our training and development staff is to promote and support employee development and organizational effectiveness by providing high-quality educational training programs. Trainings are designed to meet individual, group or departmental, and institutional needs and objectives. We strive to enhance individual learning and development as the means for creating a better workplace environment and for building a stronger Amherst College community.

What is Training and Development?

Training is an educational process. People can learn new information, re-learn and reinforce existing knowledge and skills, and most importantly have time to think and consider what new options can help them improve their effectiveness at work. Effective trainings convey relevant and useful information that inform participants and develop skills and behaviors that can be transferred back to the workplace.

The goal of training is to create an impact that lasts beyond the end time of the training itself. The focus is on creating specific action steps and commitments that focus people’s attention on incorporating their new skills and ideas back at work.

Training can be offered as skill development for individuals and groups. In general, trainings involve presentation and learning of content along with practicing new skills as a means for improving workplace behaviors and enhancing performance.

To view the current educational trainings offered at Amherst, please visit the Office of Human Resources (OHR) Current Trainings webpage.

Organizational Development (OD) is a process that “strives to build the capacity to achieve and sustain a new desired state that benefits the organization or community and the world around them” (from the Organizational Development Network website). OD work implies creating and sustaining change.

An OD perspective examines the current environment, the present state. OD work helps people on a team, in a department and as part of an institution identify effective strategies for improving performance. In some situations, there may not be anything “wrong” at the present time. The group or manager may simply be seeking ways to continue to develop and enhance existing relationships and performance. In other situations, there may be an identifiable issue or problem that needs to be addressed. The OD process aims to find ideas and solutions that can effectively return the group to a state of high performance.

The four stages of an OD plan are outlined on the Organizational Development webpage.

These two processes, Training and Organizational Development, are often closely connected. Training can be used as a proactive means for developing skills and expertise to prevent problems from arising and can also be an effective tool in addressing any skills or performance gaps among staff. Organizational Development can be used to create solutions to workplace issues, before they become a concern or after they become an identifiable problem.

Trainer and Organizational Development Specialist

Stephen Butler is the college's Trainer and OD Specialist. He is on campus five days a week in the Human Resources Office, and you can contact him at 542-2521 /

Professional Development Opportunities

Amherst College supports its employees in the development of professional skills, and in pursuit of on-going personal development. On an ongoing basis, the Office of Human Resources sponsors training programs such as legal updates for supervisors, sexual harassment awareness training and performance evaluation training, in addition to a wide range of topics including leadership, team development, change and transition, time management, communication skills and more.