The Landscape University™

What is The Landscape University™?

The Landscape University™ is a series of classes instituted by Landscape Services to help employees understand their role in Ole Miss’ effort to "Cultivate Greatness" in its students, athletes, faculty, employees, and friends, by constantly maintaining a well-groomed and beautiful campus. The program curriculum covers introductory material, professional responsibility, safety training, advanced landscaping, and people skills. The goal of the program is to develop a highly confident, motivated landscaping team that is empowered with a sense of excellence. Course materials consist of an instructor's guide, a handout or video for the participants, and a quiz for the employees that covers the material in the handout, video, or hands-on training. Below we have linked just a few materials from select courses within the Landscape University™.

The 2019 attendees desscribe their experience during The Landscape University™ conferenece.

The 2018 attendees desscribe their experience during The Landscape University™ conferenece.

The 2017 attendees desscribe their experience during The Landscape University™ conferenece.

The 2016 attendees desscribe their experience during The Landscape University™ conferenece.

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence,
regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."
- Vince Lombardi

What our staff is saying about The Landscape University™

Who participates in the Landscape University™?

All front line employees in Landscape Services can participate who want to develop mastery level skills. Although the program is voluntary, some Level 100 classes are mandatory--such as department policies, professionalism, and workplace safety. Some of the upper level classes are open to members only by invitation and teach advanced skills and techniques, such as safety and operation of certain heavy machinery.

In addition to teaching proper equipment operation and landscaping techniques, Landscape University™ cultivates interpersonal skills and attributes in employees with a focus on leadership development. These skills and attributes include:

  • Adaptability
  • Efficiency
  • Commitment
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Initiative
  • Integrity
  • Encouraging others
  • Honesty
  • Purpose
  • Unity
  • Attention to Detail
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Quality
  • Dependability
  • Conflict Management
  • Problem Solving





How do you get employees to "buy in" to the Landscape University™?

"The best time to plant a tree is
20 years ago. The next
best time is now."

Working for the University of Mississippi inherently creates a sense of pride in what we do, but we take that one step further here at Landscape Services. We have discovered that what employees want most is the ability to accelerate in job mastery and to do their job with excellence. Also, professional growth pay raises give employees financial incentives to participate in the Landscape University™. Continuing Education Units are needed each year to remain certified. Although two personal growth pay raises can be earned, the emphasis of the University is professional mastery and pride.

When are Landscape University™ classes held?

Classes are scheduled throughout each month in order to foster a continuous atmosphere of learning and growing. What we have discovered is that certain times of the year (such as 1st day of classes, athletic events, April, and campus work load) keep us out of the Landscape University™. After these events, we continue holding University classes. Classes are designed to be brief and focused on what is important for that subject. For classes that teach equipment skills, we schedule those times in advance so that instructors and participants can work together at times that are convenient for both. We often take advantage of bad weather days and hold classes inside.

Landscape University™ Courses

  •  Level 100 
  •  Level 200 
  •  Level 300 
  •  Level 400 
  •  Level 500 
  •  Level 600 

101 Vision
102 Department Policy
103 Professionalism
104 Orientation List
105 Basic Safety
106 Chain of Command
107 Keys-Keys-Keys
108 Football
109 Dress Code
110 What Makes a Great Employee
111 Mentor Pairing—Evaluation
112 Class D License
113 Survey
114 Basic Green
115 Expectations & How to Win
116 Supervisor—Evaluation

201 Practical Safety & Rules of the Road
202 Understanding Standards
203 Campus Zones & Building Names
204 Small Equipment and Fuels
205 Where Equipment Goes, Tag-Outs and Procedures
206 Eye for Detail
207 Pine Straw
208 Time Management
209 Waste Management
210 Radio Protocol & First Responders
211 People Skills: the basics
212 Greatness & Ole Miss Expectations
213 Trailer Skills
214 Zingers
215 Department Communication
216 Golf Cart

301 Toro 325/328
302 John Deere 1565
303 Gravely
304 Walker
305 Monthly Maintenance
306 Grasshopper
307 Turfgrasses/ Turf Identification
308 Turf: Eye for Detail

401 Plant Identification
402 Tree Identification
403 Plant Knowledge: Diseases, Pests, Physiology
404 Pruning: Shrubs and Hedges
405 Seasonal Color
406 Planting details: Shrubs and Trees
407 Eye for Detail: Shrubs and Trees
408 Pruning Smaller Trees

501 Advanced Turf
502 Advanced Plants
503 Advanced Soils, Drainage, Rocks
504 Advanced Campus Knowledge
505 Advanced Equipment
506 Equipment Inventory
507 Irrigation Basics
508 Spraying Basics
509 Bollards & Chains
510 Time Management
511 People Skills
512 Detail Focused
513 Mentoring
514 Personnel Issues
515 Attitude
516 Communication

601 Sweeper
602 JD 1600
603 Stump Grinder
604 Case Loader
605 JD Backhoe
606 Skid Steer
607 Wood Chipper
608 Two Ton Truck

A Message From the Director of Landscape Services

Landscape University™ started off as a dream when several years ago, our team leaders brainstormed ways to develop and transform our "weeders into leaders." Although we felt we were already doing a pretty good job, we knew we could be better and more consistent with our standard of excellence. It was a very slow and rigorous process, but through persistence and many small group meetings, the details came together to form what we call Landscape University™. I've always believed in training because I've experienced how it changes a team in a positive way. As Jack Welsh says, "The team with the best players usually does win - that's why you need to invest the majority of your time and energy in developing your people." I believe this statement whole-heartedly. I am amazed at how Landscape University™ has empowered our team. Instead of just a few of us holding people accountable, staff members are, in a loving way, holding one another accountable. Almost all of the staff has contributed to the creation of the University, as everyone at some point provided feedback or input. It has been a good tool for us.

"Developing Weeders to Leaders"

Jeff McManus

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax."
- Abraham Lincoln