A New Group of Emerging Leaders Completes the NPS GOAL Academy

The GOAL Academy 2018 participants pose for a group photo.
The GOAL Academy 2018 participants pose for a group photo.

NPS Photo

May 2018

This month, the National Park Service celebrated the hard work of employees graduating from the 2018 session of the NPS GOAL Academy, the bureau’s leadership and organizational advancement program. “GOAL” stands for “generating organizational advancement and leadership.”

The cohort-based development program for mid-level NPS employees is designed to strengthen competencies in management and leadership. Participants explore various aspects of leadership: team building, strategic thinking, ethics, leading change, self-evaluation, conflict management, and championing diversity.

This year, more than 40 participants in the eight-month program presented their class projects at DOI’s Main Interior Building in front of fellow participants, peers, family, friends, and NPS leadership, including Deputy Director Dan Smith.

Cheryl Eckhardt, GOAL Academy program manager, noted the immediate impact of the program. “GOAL Academy emphasizes the concept of leading where you are now,” she said. “Participants take skills home with them to use in their current work.”

Throughout the professional development program, participants took part in trainings including online classes, residential sessions in Los Angeles and Atlanta, personal evaluations, and a class project.

The class project, a key element of the program, offered an opportunity to apply what the participants learned in the program to a real-world example in the National Park Service. Project topics ranged from improving access to policies, enhancing understanding of hiring processes, and improving communication with new visitors to promote stewardship throughout the National Park Service.

“My favorite experience was working with my project team and learning from everyone's strengths and weaknesses,” said participant Emily Davis, a public affairs specialist at Grand Canyon National Park.

For NPS employees, more information about the GOAL Academy is available here. (Login required.)

Last updated: May 14, 2018