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Administrative Faculty Dive into Professional Development

The Culture Initiative Task Force
Rebecca A. Eckland

TMCC has a long history of offering in-house professional development opportunities for its academic faculty and classified staff. This summer, however, marks an important milestone: for the first time, Administrative Faculty, too, will have the opportunity to explore important topics like workplace culture, communication, personality types and to collaboratively arrive at solutions in order to promote the college’s mission to support student success, academic excellence and access to lifelong learning. 

The Summer Synergy Summit, which is happening Tuesday, July 16–Thursday, July 18, aims to do just that with high-energy sessions that will require attendee participation. “This isn’t just a traditional lecture where you sit and watch a series of PowerPoint presentations,” said Marcie Iannacchione, co-chair of the SSD Culture Initiative Task Force. “There’s going to be hands-on group work and workshop-style activities. We want it to be similar to the experience of attending a professional workshop, where you leave feeling energized and full of ideas.” 

The goal of the event? To help you acquire tools that can help you enhance the culture in your department and division. “It is meant to help participants learn ways in which to positively collaborate with their colleagues in order to enhance our professional development—and TMCC’s campus,” said Iannacchione.

Event History

Summer Synergy planning

The seeds for the Summer Synergy Summit were sown a few years ago when a “Human Synergistics International’s Circumplex survey” assessed the performance of individual contributors, leaders, work teams, was completed by President Hilgersom and her leadership team.  Vice President of Student Services and Diversity (SSD) Estella Gutierrez asked her division to complete the survey, which led to the development of ten initiatives. 

The SSD Culture Initiative Task Force, comprised of Leslie Jia, Marcie Iannacchione, Amber Burroughs, Jay Jorgenson, Sione Lavaka, Erin Frock and Kaylene Brady  was created to address each of these initiatives, which resulted in the Dialogue to Discussion (D2D) forum, a platform/venue that provided an opportunity for SSD employees to share their perspectives on the cultural climate at TMCC. 

The Summer Synergy Summit is the result of that D2D event, additional collaboration with the Administrative Faculty Committee and the continued input of the SSD Culture Initiative Taskforce. 

What You Can Expect

Wear your comfortable shoes (and your grooviest clothing), because the Summer Synergy Summit won’t have you sitting down for long. Open to anyone who would like to join (please sign up on the Professional Development website)—the point of the summit is to build community and camaraderie through insightful activities that are also supposed to be fun.

“Come with a positive attitude,” said Leslie Jia, SDD Taskforce co-chair. “Be open to new ideas. Be interactive. Meet new people you don’t know.”  You should also be ready to hear a lot of music from the 1960s, a soundtrack that corresponds to this year’s summit theme.

Workshops that will run three days, and cover topics that include advanced communication skills, leadership styles, team building, and collaboration, building courage and vulnerability, personality types and crafting culture. Participants can also look forward to a panel of experts who will discuss leadership led by Diane Nicolet, Chair of the Faculty Senate Administrative Faculty Committee, as well as “socials” each day that will enable you to mingle with your colleagues while enjoying refreshments (and on the last day, lunch!) 

All Summit events will be held in RDMT 255 and 256, aside from the Lunch Social, which will be held in the Student Center.  

How to Get Involved 

Everyone who attends will be encouraged to complete an event evaluation in order to provide feedback to event organizers. “We want to know what people liked and what they didn’t like,” said Iannacchione. “We want to cater to the wants and needs of our peers and colleagues, and to make this event a positive learning experience for everyone.”

If you would like to be even more involved, consider joining the Administrative Faculty Committee by contacting Committee Chair Diane Nicolet, or join the SSD Taskforce by contacting Leslie Jia or Marcie Iannacchione.

For more information, refer to the At-a-Glance handout and the event brochure, or contact the Professional Development office at 775-674-7965.