Submitted by Jim Edstrom, History
Harper College faculty retreats have long been an integral part of faculty development. They became regular events during the 1990s partly as an outgrowth of “preferred future” initiatives introduced under the leadership of President Paul Thompson. They have gone under a wide variety of designations:
- “Great Teachers”
- “Adventures in Excellence”
- “On the Bleeding Edge of Teaching & Learning”
- “More Millennium Madness”
- “Rendezvous with Teaching and Learning”
Often these retreats involved weekend stays off-campus at locations such as Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois and at Interlaken Resort in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They have consistently highlighted programs and presentations from outside speakers as well as Harper faculty, and they have provided faculty with opportunities to share ideas and strategies for more effective teaching and learning. Attendees have engaged in exercises ranging from discussing books that influenced their own learning to brainstorming student assessment to collaborating across the curriculum.
But over the years, the most important benefit of faculty retreats—attested to by numerous attendees—has the been the opportunity to get acquainted with other faculty from a wide range of disciplines. The new relationships that result have always proven to be a fruitful source of collaboration and innovation that build upon Harper College’s reputation as a center of outstanding teaching and learning.