Perspective Online

Transition and Transformation

by Dr. Pauline Gagnon

Much of my activity as I transitioned into the interim dean position involved meeting with various stakeholders in and outside the College of Arts and Humanities. I have been delighted to meet and interact with so many thoughtful and enthusiastic supporters of our COAH mission: to support student success and recognize “the transformative power of a liberal arts education.”

One particular event these past few months taught me that transformation at UWG is likewise available to those who serve our students. Members of our COAH staff invited me to lunch with them in the middle of a day long retreat this past November. When I arrived they had clearly had an interactive and successful morning and all were looking forward to continuing conversations and exercises designed to engage, reflect, and yes, possibly transform their own professional skills.

This was the very first COAH Staff Retreat giving the college’s 22 staff members a chance to bond and improve student service. Modeled after the popular annual Faculty Retreat, the staff members met off-campus at Sunset Hills Country Club, and participated in a fun, yet informative, professional development workshop presented by Associate Professor of Business Education Susan Hall Webb. The topic of the inaugural retreat was Customer/Student Service Essentials, and staff members were asked to participate in several team building exercises that reinforced strong communication and efficiency, with a particular emphasis on personality types and work ethic.

The COAH Staff Retreat was met with resounding approval. Kimily Willingham, budget and personnel coordinator in the Department of English and Philosophy said that she valued the spirit of teamwork instilled by the program. She said that she “learned much about our colleagues’ personalities and how some prefer to work.”

Overall, the group found the retreat to be a huge success and is now planning their next retreat, a mini session in the summer, to hone more of those professional development skills that make UWG the best place to work, learn, and succeed.

Dr. Pauline Gagnon is the interim dean for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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