We wanted to plan this year’s Faculty Retreat a little differently in order to engage faculty who may have grown tired of webinars but also have limited time and energy for an extended, in-person program. Enter Second City Works, a group that offers interactive keynotes to help audiences consider important aspects of inclusive communication, collaboration, and community-building that can be utilized with colleagues, students, or really anyone. Second City Works facilitated the Retreat at the Improv in Schaumburg and offered two interactive keynotes to foster “Ensemble Mindset” and “IMPROV connection.”

Faculty Retreat 2022 Recap: Fostering Ensemble Mindset with The Second City

The three Second City Works facilitators are faculty members who can closely relate to challenges in the classroom and across campus; they modeled activities on stage before inviting participants to try them with fellow attendees. The lead designer for the event, Liz Joynt-Sandburg, is head of Comedy Arts at DePaul University and former faculty in Advanced Improv at Columbia College in Chicago. Joining her were the talented Collette Gregory, award-winning performer and consultant and faculty in Liberal Arts and Sciences at DePaul and Columbia College, and Tania Richard, a published author and playwright who is a faculty member in Theater and Film at Columbia College. You can see their full artistic bios and more information about each session in the event program.

The Retreat was offered both in person and virtually. In addition to the enthusiastic in-person attendees at the Improv, almost the same number of participants took part collaboratively through Webex. Virtual participants were invited to “come up to the Webex stage” to model the improv activities with each other that the Second City Works facilitators had shared.

In addition to a lunch before the event and an extended intermission for the in-person attendees, social time was built into the end of the day to allow for connections among faculty who have been conducting most meetings and many classes virtually. A slideshow of faculty at various professional development programs over the years played during these times set to motivational music contributed by faculty during Spring Opening Week. The Improv venue itself seemed to inspire a relaxed and jovial vibe for participants with the posters of famous comedians lining the hallway and festive lighting and music within the theater. The handout for the closing discussion provides a sense of the activities and related topics from the event.

You can access the recording of the Retreat and view images from the event. Whether you attended in person or virtually, or you watch the recording at a later time, please complete the feedback survey and action plan prior to May 6, 2022 to earn CEUs/credit on your Harper transcript and so we can use your valuable input for future planning.

Questions? Please contact the Academy at academy@harpercollege.edu.