August 23, 2013
Michael Bugeja, director,
Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology
In higher education, we retreat at the start of every school year. “Retreat” is an interesting word. We step back from our mundane duties and, theoretically, bond around a common theme meant to inspire us so that we return to offices and classrooms with zeal and commitment.
The truth is, most retreats evolve into a 4- to 8-hour faculty meeting with refreshments. We go into them cold turkey after a long hot summer.
Administrators plan retreats carefully, making sure each media emphasis or degree program has sufficient time to discuss needs or new directions. We also heard from our directors of undergraduate and graduate education as well as from Advisory Council members and alumni whom we routinely invite to these sessions.
We also focused on assessment, vitally important for any accredited journalism school.
Suffice to say our retreat generated lots of discussion, primarily focused around our new degree in public relations. You can read about that by clicking here.
The day after a retreat is filled with follow-ups. This is what I am working on today:
• Enlist the help of our Public Relations Student Society of America chapter to organize an event for the School to announce a new PR degree.
• Email or telephone alumni who also want to promote the new degree.
• Prepare a summary of the retreat for the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
• Work with the Dean on securing a visiting professorship associated with the new PR degree.
• Meet with media about the new degree.
• Redo the committee membership list to reflect departures of faculty and staff and assign replacements from continuing colleagues.
• Meet with members of our Long-Range Planning Committee to create a proposal for new hires around a college signature theme.
• Update my calendar for a slew of meetings and conference calls related to topics addressed in our retreat.
Oh. I should mention the most important contribution of any administrator facilitating a retreat. End on time. We did yesterday.
Now the real work begins at a frenetic pace!