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The Family Friendly Faculty Retreat

13 May 2015, 20:08 UTC
The Family Friendly Faculty Retreat
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Future faculty scheming how they will run their retreats.Does your department or research group undertake an annual retreat? If so, is it family friendly?Retreats offer the chance to break from the routines and confines of day-to-day work to gather as a group to consider the Big Questions facing an institution. In my view, an essential part of an effective retreat is that it be away from the office, and that it span at least one overnight.I know of several physical science departments for which the "retreat" consists of a full-day meeting at their workplace. But I worry that in the temporal and physical space that houses our day-to-day work, it is all-too-easy to fall back on day-to-day thinking. The goals of the retreat is much more grand: First, we seek to build community. Second, we seek to engage in blue-sky thinking and fresh approaches aimed at tackling the Big Questions! An overnight also means meals together, and it is over meals that I have experienced the most thought provoking conversations, and the opportunity to really check-in with colleagues.However, (overnight) + (away from office) puts a retreat on a collision course with that sacred family-work balance that we seek. I have written ...

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