Run your meetings edcamp style: The un-faculty faculty meeting

Here's a step-by-step guide to turning your faculty meetings into engaging PD opportunities

I taught two topics: Podcasting and Technology Efficient Feedback. My assistant principals taught Dealing with Difficult Parents. I would like to tell you that we “recruited” faculty leaders to teach Mindfulness and Yoga, but they came to me offering their services! If you already run “un-faculty” meetings, that’s what happens. If not, recruit with a smile. There’s more power in persuasion than force!

3. Develop a registration process.
Set up a Google Form to allow faculty to sign up for their choices. Google Forms allows you to limit the number of choices. Our faculty chose three from our five options. If someone didn’t sign up by a deadline date, my secretary called them, but less than 10 percent of the faculty needed that call!

Based on the number of faculty selecting each choice, add or decrease sections. For instance, 30 faculty signed up for Podcasting. Therefore, I needed to run only one session. Ninety-five signed up for Mindfulness so we ran three sessions.

4. Schedule your room locations.
Once you’ve determined the number of sessions and assigned faculty to each, assign rooms, preferably close together to minimize transition time between. I used a mail merge tool in Google Drive to grab faculty selections from the spreadsheet associated with the form they submitted and populated a personalized invitation to each session and sent these to faculty. They loved this personalized invitation and it really helped organize the event. If you are not as tech-geeky as me, simply email them or arrange their assignments in a schedule, listing everyone on one document for them to follow.

5. Emphasize to faculty that this is an opportunity to pique their interest.
The beauty of edcamp-style faculty meetings is you can always bring topics back or, more importantly, let them experiment as a group so that they can troubleshoot together at a future meeting. In my session, I gave a “how-to” instructional that reinforced what I demonstrated and offered five minutes of Q&A at the end. This also allowed faculty to share ideas about how they might use the newly learned concept, which created a shared feeling of “Oh yeah, I never thought of that” between colleagues.

6. Consider this as a continuum.
At the end of the final edcamp session, consider this as ongoing or a great idea will die. There are three important steps I follow to ensure this doesn’t happen:

  • Issue personalized certificates of completion. You can find templates easily online.
  • Follow up with survey feedback (ask what went well, what suggestions do you have, what would you like to see at a future session).
  • Offer follow-up PD in team, department, or future faculty meetings, based on their needs/requests.

All of the above guarantees that your faculty remains invested, energized, and motivated to continue learning through their own unique PD format. That’s empowerment!

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