At one IEP partner university, we rolled out a series of faculty workshops over the 2016-2017 academic year. Read on to learn our takeaways, lessons learned, and what we’ve changed about our series for this academic year.

  • Preaching to the choir: Topics were set with the perceived needs of the audience (faculty directors) in mind. For example, the office had experienced a growing interest in incorporating service learning into global programs, but wanted to ensure service pieces were developed and implemented ethically. However, those who joined the service learning-focused workshop were mostly those who already had service successfully  incorporated in their programs. This lead to great discussion and reflection, but didn’t necessarily accomplish a goal of “training” those thinking about service learning.
  • Flexibility: As with any study abroad experience, flexibility was crucial. Anticipate tech issues, low attendance, people coming in and out, and awkward silences as you give room for reflection and responses to prompts.
  • Training requirement: To offset the “preaching to the choir” issue, the office considered requiring participation the workshop series for new directors.
  • Reciprocal learning: In providing space for discussion, the office staff also learned a great deal from workshop attendees. Staff was reminded the faculty director role is often difficult and were reminded of the academic perspective complimenting or at odds with administrative processes.
  • Repetition: To ensure content is widely available, the office repeated certain workshops multiple times throughout the academic year.
  • Gratitude: At the conclusion of every workshop and the entire series, the office staff was re-energized from the positive response from faculty directors. They were thankful to have the office support and a place to connect with their colleagues.

By Ellie Koewler, Senior Campus Coordinator