As Head of School, Mike Henriques, noted in his welcome to faculty and staff Monday morning, Proctor’s campus never truly shuts down. It slows down as students depart for the summer months, but between Gordon Research Conferences and on-going projects on campus, things never stop!
This week is a week of ramping up as we prepare for the arrival of our first students on campus Friday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are filled with faculty and staff meetings. Mike began meetings Monday morning recapping the faculty, staff, trustee retreat that took place in June. His message was clear: Proctor has a clear mission that runs through all of our interactions as a community regardless of our role.
Updates from the Development Office, a newly formed Communications team, and the Admissions team rounded out Monday morning before faculty gathered to digest their summer reading, The Art of the Changing Brain by James Zull. Science Department Chair Buz Morison led a discussion that began with an overview of basic neuroscience before transitioning to a highly productive small group conversation on ‘how does this apply to us as educators’.
Representatives of each academic department worked through key points from the book in small groups. As a faculty, we began to truly understand what we have known for a long time: we actually aren’t teachers, we are facilitators of learning. We should not care about best practices of ‘teaching’, but rather about best practices of ‘learning’.
Meetings Wednesday morning picked up on this theme as each academic department began to brainstorm applications from The Art of the Changing Brain to their own courses. By wrestling with the learning cycle (below), and various points at which students enter this cycle, we continue to evolve not only the content we are covering in our classes, but how we deliver that content.
As new ideas bounced around department meetings and small group discussions, we were constantly reminded how well our experiential educational model fits into Kolb’s Learning Cycle. We know we are in a good place as a school, but we also acknowledge we must continue to evolve that model. We must honestly assess how we facilitate learning for our students and how we assess that learning and build upon the foundation of our educational model.
During these opening days, we also had time to hear from the Dean of Student’s Office, Assistant School Leader Alex van Raalte ‘15 (below), and those stepping into new roles in the community like Kristen Nesbitt (curriculum consultant) and Adam Jones (technology integration director) before recognizing those faculty and staff who are celebrating milestones in their careers.
25 years at Proctor for Sue Houston, Mike Koenig, and Lisa Scarry!
The last few days of meetings, conversations, and brainstorming provided many reasons to be excited for the upcoming school year. Wednesday night we met a bunch of those reasons as day students and their families joined faculty on campus for a Day Student Family Picnic in front of Cannon Dining Hall (see more pics here). Here we go!