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2009 New Faculty Workshop - Strategic Planning for Early Career Success

July 17-19, 2009 Björklunden Lodge Lawrence University – Door County, WI

Like 2007, the 2009 New Faculty Workshop was held in Door County, WI at Lawrence’s Björklunden Lodge on the weekend of July 17-19th. The weekend workshop was attended by 19 first and second year faculty including two graduate students. Participants were from 9 of the 14 Consortium campuses. Karen Nordell Pearson the Consortium's director was the primary workshop facilitator, but many others participated in many of the session presentations and discussions.  

Much like the previous several workshops, the two primary goals of the weekend were to help each participant develop an individualized strategic plan for the next 2-4 years of their careers. Secondly, the weekend was designed to provide time for networking with other early career faculty and discuss various issues facing faculty at this early stage in their careers.  The participants were divided into clusters of 3 or 4 people and these clusters met at various times throughout the weekend as they developed their individualized strategic action plans (SAP). The weekend included time for personal reflection, small group conversations, large group discussions, and large group games and skits.  

The workshop began on Friday evening with group exercise followed by dinner. Over the meal, participants got to know each other a little and discussed the 360º review they had conducted as their pre-workshop assignment. After dinner, the large group met to discuss the value of planning, the details of a strategic action plan and the clusters met to begin brainstorming vision and goals. 

On Saturday, the meeting continued with a mixture of time to work on the SAPs and discussions of many other topics relevant to early-career faculty. During one of the morning sessions, Doug Martin (Lawrence), Mark Pearson (Hope), Vicki-Lynn Holmes (Hope), Mathys Meyer (Knox), Laura Listenberger (St. Olaf), Karla Marz (Gustavus) and Todd Zimmerman (Gustavus) all contributed to a lively session entitled “Alternatives to Lecturing”.  We discussed the use of clickers, think-pair-share, Conceptests, minute papers, group problem solving, debates, using primary literature and much more. 

Other sessions on Saturday included a discussion of case studies full of situations that new faculty may encounter, a session on starting an undergraduate research program, and discussions related to finding a mentor, setting realistic goals and balancing work with the rest of one’s life.

Sunday morning began with each participant writing their SAP on large poster papers, so they could be shared with the full group. We enjoyed 5 presentations of poems, readings and skits based on teaching, research, service, time management and finding a mentor. One group ‘borrowed’ Christmas tree lights from one of the large plants in the lodge to describe mentoring as passing the ‘light of wisdom’ from one person to another. One group wrote haikus and another wrote limericks about research and service.

The workshop closed with time for each participant to share highlights of their strategic plan with the full group. The group gave each person one or two suggestions and lots of encouragement about their SAP. Karen made a few closing comments and gave participants their post-workshop assignments. After completing the evaluations, participants headed home.

As always Marlene did a great job helping plan and execute the meeting’s details. Mark, Kim, Ben and the rest of Björklunden’s staff were wonderful hosts and we enjoyed the lake, woods, trails, bonfires, sunshine, great food, pleasant meeting spaces and relaxed atmosphere.



Event Photos - (click to view full-size image)

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