In January, faculty, staff, students and clinical partners from the College of Nursing gathered for a full day retreat called “Liberating Structures.” Consultant Keith McCandless led the group through several exercises to help build creativity and vision for the college. One exercise, called Open Space, invited participants to identify something they were passionate about and begin to imagine how that would align with the college.
More than 40 ideas were brought forward and discussed. Group leaders were then invited to submit proposals and compete for funding to bring their ideas to fruition. Fifteen faculty and staff members took their ideas to the next level. Included in the list is a research collaborative with hospitals and other providers to analyze their data and translate the results back into evidence-based practice. “This will be a forum where health care deliverers can partner with college faculty on research projects in areas of mutual interest and importance,” says Karen Sousa, associate dean for research and scholarship. “The college can also offer a menu of technical capabilities to health care deliverers who have great research ideas but lack experience in design and conduct.”
Another idea being considered is a smartphone app that would help students find deadlines, the academic calendar, forms, graduation and other useful information. “With so many students using smart phones, it is my hope to put helpful program information literally in the hands of the student,” says Judy Campbell, PhD, coordinator of graduate programs.
“This was a real grassroots effort to get faculty and staff to identify what they’re passionate about and go for it,” says Dean Sarah Thompson. “There are a lot of great ideas on the table.”
Additional proposals involved academic and community partnerships, faculty development, global health, pathways to graduate programs, gerontological nursing, and others. Final decisions will be made this spring.