Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meetings and Committees

Many employees at the College spend a great deal of time in meetings. It's important that our time in meetings is meaningful, as they are a primary means of communication and a major symbol of our culture. How we interact and run meetings is a direct reflection of how we think, act, and feel at the College. When communication and trust become a more tangible feature of our culture, the general dynamic of meetings will change. Hopefully, people won't be sitting in and observing other people's meetings...which has a feel of "monitoring" and distrust. Rather, a move to representative governance that is inclusive and well-communicated will serve as a catalyst for positive change.

One thing that I'm changing at the College is differentiating a "staff" meeting versus a "committee" meeting. Staff meetings, like the Academic Department head meetings, deal with a variety of topics that group members need to work on as a team. I asked that the Academic Department Heads meet more frequently for less time to maximize their work together. In addition, it is generally a closed a meeting with no one "observing or monitoring". Rather, if anyone wants to participate in the meeting, all they have to do is make their request to Dr. Engel and the agenda can be adjusted. In addition, people will be invited to help inform the work of the Department Heads so they can make more informed decisions. Instead of publishing minutes and posting them to a network that very few people will access, "salient points" and agenda summaries should suffice if they are posted on a common website of some kind that would include College Senate activities and subcommittee work, Strategic Planning Committee notes, Executive Team salient points, Academic Department Head salient points, and other relevant information related to decision making and governance at the College.

These are some new directions and ideas I have related to meetings, committee work and the time spent on committees - what do you think? What experiences have you had and what does it feel like when you serve on a group that works well? I'd appreciate your insights regarding committee work and overall function at the College. Please respond to presblog@mvcc.edu. Thanks.