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Inclusive preparation for a staff retreat

I’m at an eXtension staff retreat that begins this morning. Weeks ago, I could tell it would not be like any staff retreat I’ve attended or helped organize.

The timeline went something like this –
Months in advance staff was given the travel and meeting dates and the hotel link to book a room.

About a month in advance a wiki page was opened for staff to write what each thought important to discuss. The opening post was a recommendation from the director: review the eXtension Strategic Road Map to discuss current activities, make sure we are on task and discuss activities and priorities for the next 6-12 months.

Staff members added 10 entries during the next week or so. Some were collective thoughts from people who work together. Some were individual ideas because not everyone on staff has a workgroup. Then some would pick up an idea and tie to it or add a note to an existing entry.

Several weeks in advance, some of the leadership team created the agenda, selecting points from the idea page. We were alerted that the agenda was posted so we knew who would moderate each of the eight sessions and who would be the recorder; that tapped 16 people because no one is a moderator or recorder more than once. Ground rules for the two-day retreat were posted. We had reading homework.

It’s time to look forward
I am excited because of the democracy and inclusiveness. I anticipate we’ll accomplish a great deal because we’re mentally prepared.

eXtension, www.extension.org, is an Internet-based collaboration where land-grant university content experts provide objective, research-based knowledge to solve challenges. eXtension connects knowledge consumers with knowledge providers. Faculty and staff from more than 70 universities make up the eXtension community.

Staff scheduled to be at the retreat: 21 people from California, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.


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If you are interested in reading further about inclusion and diversity, I suggest you check out the book Inclusion Paradox by Andres Tapia at http://budurl.com/inclusionparadoxbook. Andrés Tapia has become one of the foremost thought leaders in the area of workplace diversity. He offers a unique perspective on how inclusion has shifted the paradigm on how leaders now think about diversity. It is a good read for those who are interested!