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One theme from our July 1 retreat was a strong interest in more opportunities to know each other better.  Here are a few of the comments that were made when people identified issues for the collaborative work environment committee.  “More opportunities for interaction with colleagues, especially those outside of my immediate area.”  “Promoting more informal, getting-to-know-each-other events.”  “Finding more ways for people in different roles and different parts of the building to get to know each other would be great.”

There also was a strong interest expressed in learning more about what other people are doing at the School, along with an interest in promoting greater inclusiveness.  “Educating faculty and staff on the range and scope of work done at SOG.”  “Roundtable meetings about a variety of topics (especially with the Dean).”  “SOG to be more inclusive with staff (A MUST FOR SUCCESS!).”  “Respect for the knowledge and skills of people in roles other than yours.”

As one response to those interests expressed on July 1, I will host an ongoing series of bi-monthly lunches with School employees—which also was suggested a few years ago at our first School-wide retreat.  This will be separate from the orientation lunches for new employees.  The idea is to have a mixed group of faculty and staff members meet for lunch and talk about whatever topic is on your mind.  There will not be a prescribed agenda.  It could include a discussion of current initiatives, budget concerns, or why you think rhubarb pie is superior to all other pie (which obviously is true).

I will be hosting these lunches every other month and I will be happy to answer questions, but the focus is not just on me.  The goal is to learn more about each other and your work.  We will start by going around the table for brief introductions, and then we will go wherever the conversation leads.

Beth will send out a request to sign-up for the first lunch, which should be held before the end of September.  I hope you will be interested. The next one will be in November.  We will limit attendance to eight employees so that everyone can have a chance to participate—and no one should attend more than one lunch per year.  Each will be scheduled from 12-1:30 p.m.

I look forward to getting better acquainted with everyone as we eat lunch and have fun.  The Renoir painting admittedly is misleading in terms of the menu and the dress code for our lunches—though fancy hats will be welcome.  See you there.

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