Shorten retreat to 1-1/2 days.
Provide reading material ahead.
Many people in the group were not familiar with the principles and framework of strategic/planning/thinking. We need a fundamental process overview to get us all going/thinking in the same direction.
Keep working groups smaller better training for facilitators. Better focus-stay on task.
Small group/whole group participation and interaction.
Community & student input would have been valuable. Include in up-coming meetings.
Give advance reading materials to all participants, so that there is a common basis of understanding for retreat discussions.
Keep it going at a considerable pace, and don't take time to let it get bogged down-shape our future NOW!
Hold separate retreats, e.g., administrative, academic. Then attempt to mesh the perspectives.
A discussion of implementation and expected outcome. Where is this going, how fast, and what can we expect to have from this as we proceed? Some sort of "contract" ought to be introduced early on to define what participants will see happen if they invest in this.
Stronger coalition in groups.
The "working group" process could use some reinforcement.
We need more Diversity in Retreat, more outside U of Akron guests to contribute to creative ideas and more Student Involvement! (93% revenue, and only 5 students participating!)
Probably smaller-fewer individuals involved in entire meeting. Assign prior reading of factual material of current thought. Try to keep sales-motivational approach to a minimum. A lighter lunch!
Invite everyone to do the background reading in key texts so that fundamental concepts are knownin advance. Get people brainstorming on their own overnight-not just "homework," not to waste the time getting wheels turning.
There is a sad lack on emphasis on scholarly productivity. It has got to be a major part of the effort to build a better university.
ÊStay to a 1-Day format. LESS information. So much information is overwhelming as the first day's afternoon demonstration.
Have a smaller group discussing the same topic.
Professional facilitators who were not stakeholders would have been useful.
Smaller groups-perhaps 2 groups separately looking at the same issue. Perhaps additional hand-out info to give more detail to the concepts, Mike Dolence sketched briefly. "Train" the facilitators as to where they are going with the issues they lead. Some problem with the lack of focus.
More notice. Brief reading materials before, so can focus on application of ideas versus just confronting info. for 1st time. External facilitatorsÑthey do not have their own ideas /agendas that make it harder to hear different ideas and or credit them. Easier to keep people on task & out of the details if "what is."
Dolence had a very valuable perspective but could have condensed the information into 2 hrs. It would have been good to have a 2nd guest speaker with a 2nd set of facts and a 2nd perspective. ÊName labels did not stick well.
Use this as a starting point. Keep building on what has been started.
Intersperse lecture & discussion. More interaction & feedback from beginning.
Smaller group. More breakout sessions.
Better focus. Smaller break out sessions less than 20.
It would be helpful to have some summary documents to share what happened (on Thursday) with our staff and students.
I wish Michael Dolence would have provided a more comprehensive view of change within the University. He focused too much on the academic side. Smaller work groups 10-12 people is an optimal group for discussion (40 people were too many).
Narrow group discussion topics. Smaller groups. Morale of faculty and staff needs to be addressed for positive improvement.
Too few results. Too general.
It's hard for the administrative side to tie in how they fit into this process.
During the summer - easier to schedule than during the school year.
Facilitators need to be "well-drilled" on the process to follow in sessions. Much was a rehash of what has been said over and over again, ad nauseum. Sessions for discussion need to be more focused, goal orientated.
Lack of clarity in explanation of the key terms, concepts, & overall shape of the process, e.g., "Forces" Work on those elements. Do exercise to better incorporate the diverse voices and perspective into the conversation.
Other speaks such as Michael Dolence who bring a larger perspective about the changes & shaping of higher education in the future.
Start breakout session on Day 1 to get people actively involved quicker.
Opportunity to have several breakout sessions with different members. This would provide a chance to hear more opinions, etc.
Establish action plan for where we go from here.
Professional facilitators and smaller focus groups.
More staffing, training, resources to do. What we need to do for necessary customer service. Better measures and quality control.
Maybe develop smaller work groups. Maybe involve the Board.
Lack of 2 opinions on way to go. Mr. Dolence was good, but are there any other expert opinions to solicit. Try to shorten time allotments for group - two hours on Wednesday was too long to sit. Break it up some more.
Not enough time to cover the agenda. Follow up meetings (subgroups/breakout groups) for the purpose of continuing the agenda & dialogue established during the 2 days.
Turn this into an annual event so that we can keep focused; to reaffirm where we are going; to build a cohesive leadership group.
Smaller discussion groups to make it easier to reach a consensus. Divide units into similar areas of expertise.
Time to focus.. need more to refine. Breakouts too big. Hard to come together.
The number of points to focus on needs to be cut.
Since in this retreat "no idea is wrong," a follow-up retreat should be more focused on a more specific goal-hopefully gained from this first go-around.
Break main group (the 5 groups) into smaller groups. For some initial brainstorming before the entire group consensus . You should get even more ideas because more people will have time to speak.
More discussion in full group.
Shorter & more condensed i.e., 1/2 day. Difficult to take 2 full days out of a very busy "crunch."
A line of action to meet future challenges must be developed.
Facilitators should have received more (or some) training and/or guidance. Groups needed to be smaller. However, it seemed that a healthy exchange of ideas still occurred.
We shall see later. Try to schedule these between semesters.
One outside council plus one inside person to lead focus groups.
Smaller groups. Should have been briefed on who we are in order to better define who we wish to be.
Consider Friday & Saturday in future so we will not miss two work days.
More pre-retreat preparation. Train leaders, provide info. to participants.
Individual's department identified on name tags (unless it was strategic not to include).
Even smaller groups.
We should have this workshop every semester.
The consultant would have proven of greater value on the second day, after group breakout topics ( Forces, Vision and Intent, Competencies, Opportunities, and Quality) were presented and digested. His feedback and comments on the second day would be appreciated-the first day were "softballs" compared with the "hardballs" He would have had to field the second day.
Maybe more groups of smaller size-could have 2 smaller groups focused on the same questions or topic but fewer people on each discussion-I think we would get more idea.
My attention would have been held better if a.m. was for getting information, and
p.m. for talking with each other.
Smaller breakout groups with more targeted missions.
Need to do this regularly to tweak the vision, mission, strategic plans.
Reassert Value of current faculty & staff while we strive to improve, let's not forget those who build this university. Morale issues.
Look at expanding the capacity of those programs who are turning away good students. Twice I heard about programs that are denying admission to students. If these denied students (some of them) are good, why not improve capacity? A decentralized approach would provide incentive to grown these programs.
More direction and focus for the breakouts. Collection data from participants prior to the retreat & feedback to them for discussion at the retreat.
A follow up in 1 year to assess what movement has taken place.
Future briefings should be more focused on concrete problems. More attention should be given to scenario based discussions. The discussion of determinants was too linear. We do not know that planning will be flawed. Only scenario.
Process-have scribes capture information during the breaks and distribute (Could use students or work study).
More breaks between discussion groups.
There are people I wish could have been there. Somewhat longer breaks-lots of "business."
Use trained facilitators and no dears/seniors administrators. Intersperse breakout sessions & speakers; more shorter breaks. Smaller groups. Provide follow-up steps to group before seminar ends; encourage & provide guidelines for ongoing communication.
Train the facilitators, simply writing disjointed words (flip charts) makes little sense.