Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Retreat…or Advance?

Submitted by Peg Balachowski, Associate Dean of Teaching & Learning at EvCC

I just returned from the Winter Assessment, Teaching and Learning (ATL) retreat held every quarter at the Rainbow Lodge in North Bend, WA. The Lodge is in the shadow of Mount Si near North Bend, and on Thursday afternoon as we were working in our small groups we looked out onto the grassy area behind the Lodge and saw 2 elk grazing. It’s a wonderful place for our state-wide group of faculty professional development folks to grab a little time for our own professional development and talk about teaching and learning at our different colleges.

The dictionary defines retreat (v.) as the act of withdrawing, as into safety or privacy, and (n.) a place of refuge, seclusion, or privacy. Certainly our time together at the Lodge includes time for both of these. We retreat from our computers, the fast paced every day duties, the traffic, and find a place where we can have real conversations with our colleagues.

Maybe we should call this an “Advance,” defined as (v) to move forward, to improve, to promote, or (n) to increase in value, to improve or make progress, to grow in importance. Our discussions provided an opportunity for us to advance our understanding of what happens in the professional development and teaching and learning centers on the various campuses, and among the workgroups we discussed outcomes assessment, new faculty orientations, and faculty competencies. We also wondered if we should pursue becoming a Council within the SBCTC system. Together we were able to do some sense making of the issues that face our complex system of 34 community and technical colleges, each with a different culture, and potentially resolve some of those differences to ensure both faculty and student success.

Want to know more about ATL retreats? Check out the SBCTC website and learn how you can be involved!

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