May 2020: From Beth Fisher-Yoshida

Last week at our yearend faculty meeting our focus was on sharing considerations and best practices for remote teaching. There were several parts of the event that stood out for me and this began with the conception of the focus, through the planning, to the actual running of the event, to the appreciation received afterwards.

Conflict resolution and process orientation are such a strong part of the way I see the world, that I want to use those lenses to identify some key factors that I believe led to its success.

  • Collaboration: All of those involved participated in ways characteristic of taking a collaborative approach. This means there were the goals of each contributing member that were met, as well as, the goals of the greater good. Logistics were managed seamlessly and behind the scenes so that we did not need to draw attention to the fact the poll showed up when it did or we were moved between breakout rooms and the main room. It “just happened” and allowed the focus to be in the conversation instead. The organizers, agenda setters and facilitators all performed their roles as well, allowing for the discussions to be ripe, rich and on time. And to all of the faculty members who participated in the breakout rooms and shared their best practices and experiences, as well as, volunteered to share these insights back with the larger group.
  • Growth Mindset: We came with lessons to share and more importantly, we came with an attitude to learn. Regardless of our rank or position, years of experience or engagement in our fields, we were there to see the ways in which we could improve our teaching. This speaks volumes to the dedication and seriousness with which faculty at SPS take their roles as leaders of learning. We are, after all, in the business of education, so we should want to educate ourselves, although this is not always the case with faculty. I think this is an important aspect of what makes us stand out and that we even have a department called Faculty Affairs to address this hunger for learning.
  • Community: I am finding more and more participation and synergy amongst faculty and in advancing these aspects we are cultivating a meaningful faculty culture. This sense of community is becoming stronger and we are the better for it. There was a very collegial and supportive atmosphere at the meeting and one that continues to be pervasive in multiple ways, from sharing tips and best practices, to attending and learning together in workshops, to mentoring, and soon, more sharing of research.

I am proud to be a member of this body of faculty and I encourage all of us to continue along this path. Please make it known to Faculty Affairs, and to me, what you would like to see offered to faculty and what you would like to contribute. It takes a village and we are one. Have a good summer and rest up for whatever fall brings us.

Thank you,

Beth Fisher-Yoshida