Within my learning organization, adult workers can be split into two inherently broad categories: staff and faculty. Within each category, there is further categorization based on one’s professional skills; for example, within the ranks of the staff, there are those who specialize in IT, business administration; guidance, advising, and counseling; or student activities. My domain of specialization is in academic support. Amongst the faculty, you have biologist, sociologist, psychologist, and mathematicians—just to name a few. The point here is that, within my organization, there exist a variety of skills sets that must be considered in the development of worker aimed PD opportunities. In a world without budget constraints and at times conflicting HRD interests, perhaps, it would be possible to do this; however and unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world, so the limited PDL opportunities that we do have should aim to address the most pressing concerns of the learning organization; and for me, the issue of diversity, or lack thereof, is one such concern worth addressing. Everyone in my organization would benefit from diversity focused PDL opportunities, but I believe our faculty would be best suited for it because they are at the forefront of my organization’s mission to deliver a practical education for our diverse, minority-predominant student body. But therein lies the problem: the primary facilitators of education in my organization are neither representative of the students they educate, nor emblematic of the increasingly diverse world these students will be asked to work in. How then can faculty drive meaningful student learning, which takes students’ personal narratives into account, if their frames of reference are incongruent to that of students? Short of a massive and improbable hiring spree to “fix” the representational imbalance, I think faculty focused diversity PDL would help faculty, and my organization at large, better meet—through understanding and familiarity—the educational needs of our students. If our students, adult learners in the their own right, are making meaning and self-authoring their identities from a reservoir of diverse experiences, then it behooves faculty to learn how to also tap into this reservoir to encourage and facilitate student academic engagement and success.
Within the rank of the staff, I think it is important for workers to engage in PDL activities that emphasize collaboration and allow for greater familiarity with the multiple domains within my organization. Too often, departments operate within a silo like environment and this can negatively impact students' experiences within my organization when, for example, they aren't given accurate information. One way to possibly resolve this issue is through the creation of intra-organizational PDL internship program/opportunity. As I imagine it, the I.O.PDL program would allow working staff to routinely intern in other organizational departments and/or domains to get a sense of the different kinds of professional work and responsibilities occurring elsewhere in the organization. This familiarity with the work of various organizational departments would translate to better customer service and support for our students.