Faculty Senate president Andrea Wheeler begins each meeting by telling all in attendance the senate is a collaborative, collegial and cooperative body. She reminds senators shared governance happens best in an environment of mutual trust and respect.
Wheeler is adding action to those words with three clinics that focus on leadership and inclusivity. Clinics set for Feb. 1, March 22 and May 10 will be conducted in collaboration with the Professional and Scientific Council. The goal is to help committee and council members be better prepared for leadership roles, and encourage participation and diversity in the senate and council.
"This came from conversations more than a year old," said Wheeler, an architecture associate professor. "We want to ensure Faculty Senate and P&S Council are inclusive environments. We want to make sure they are diverse and have a wide range of perspectives."
The clinics are aimed at senate and P&S Council members, but Wheeler said they are open to all faculty and staff. Skills learned can be applied in roles across campus.
Wheeler said committees and councils drive much of the work the senate does before it reaches the full body. Without training or experience, chairing these groups in an inclusive way can be a challenge.
"The clinics will be very practical and focus on working well together," she said.
The clinics -- limited to 100 people each -- are built around the theme of influence and will be led by Treo International, an interpersonal skills research and corporate training company out of Des Moines. Each clinic focuses on one topic:
- Asking questions
The 90-minute online Zoom clinics are designed to be interactive sessions with multiple breakouts for group discussions. To keep participants engaged, the activity shifts about every 15 minutes.
"We will have video clips, there are several polls, breakout groups on specific topics for a peer-learning component and opportunities to talk as a group," said Tero International founder Rowena Crosbie, who will lead the three clinics. "We started the virtual clinics during the pandemic and found that 90 minutes seems to be just about perfect when utilizing all the tools."
All attendees will receive an email in advance of the clinic with questions to consider.
"We also provide several digital resources as learner prep so they can apply it to their world," Crosbie said. "It allows us to provide support to people and any changes they are looking to make."
Topics are simple ideas of asking questions or listening during meeting. Understanding why people don't do them more often and effectively is the biggest benefit, Crosbie said.
Wheeler said she hopes the clinics will be an eye-opening experience for faculty and staff to realize they can step into a leadership role.
"There is support for those who want to step up into committee and council roles," she said. "Senate and P&S Council leaders really want people to take part, and it is not just for the very vocal or only for those who have been at the university a long time. The point is that we welcome new voices and opinions."