ADVANCING BY RETREATING: THE IN'S AND OUT'S OF LEADING FACULTY RETREATS
Faculty should feel comfortably uncomfortable in the retreat surroundings. A game to randomly divide participants into groups promotes discussion and splits up coteries. Designating a senior faculty member as spokesperson for each group enables untenured and demure faculty to express opinions in the group while remaining anonymous to the whole. Before the retreat, distribute a statement of purpose, list of goals, and a journal article to read that deals with the issues at hand. This provokes preliminary discussions and early venting of pent peeves. Designating a Scribe to take notes on poster paper, which is then placed for all to view, enables the facilitator to keep the discussion moving. Divide the goals into tasks. Focus on each task for a specified time, allowing sufficient time for questions, discussion, and ideas. Combining the small groups into larger groups after the initial tasks are addressed promotes compromise and helps build consensus. In the summary session with all groups, construct five, or fewer, concluding statements that address your goals. Afterward, write and distribute a brief report. This enables you to add your insights and prevents future revisionist views from distorting the actual outcome. Above all, have fun together.