Having a retreat

March 12, 2008

mlandg.jpg

From time to time organizations decide to have a “retreat” where members of the company or department get out of their usual surroundings and get out of town. Once out of town, and with usually long hours of discussion ahead of them, participants are able to open up and talk extensively with each other, brainstorm, argue, debate, process, laugh, plan, and re-evaluate.

I haven’t been on a retreat at UCLA with the music department since the summer of 1983 when our department (still with ethno, musicology and music under one roof) went to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend. Great memories. All I remember is our Dean wanting us to “cast a shadow in the community” and how so and so got really drunk.

On Friday our department will be going to May’s Landing in Malibu for a day retreat. No drinking or overnight stuff, but I think people are looking forward to it. The only ones not coming are out performing around the country. I sent out a rough agenda yesterday for feedback and I was amazed at the marvelous feedback I have already received. People care, and are passionate about what the important issues are. I feel fortunate to have a faculty with such enthusiasm, rather than one that I would have to drag along.

In our retreat we will be discussing plans for the future: what to strengthen and how to pay for it. Being an organization tied to the California state budget, we are looking at cuts over the next few years. So discussion about building while trimming is a tricky one to convey, but one we will try to tackle.

I run a tight meeting in our monthly 2 hour meetings, but retreats can be opportunities to let people run a bit longer and go off on tangents if they need to.

I’m looking forward to our retreat.

[Photo of May’s Landing in Malibu, CA. That is the ocean at the top, not snow…]

Previous post:

Next post: