Friday, November 27, 2009

CoLAB Session: UF College of Fine Arts 2009

Another experiment! The UF College of Fine Arts wanted to present a CoLAB session for their faculty in the 3 schools: Music, Theatre/Dance/Design and Visual Arts. The problem was lack of time. I was appropriated 1:30 minutes in which to make this happen: signs were ready but participants had to insert their personal answers to questions about their personal passion, their skills and future recommendations for changes with the school, college or UF systems.

We've got a lot of great photos (shot by Barbara Hood of this facilitated process. The location was a renovated women's gym at UF that presented natural light and two floors with a useful ledge around the balcony for preparing signs. Approximately 100 participated and were able to have 10 focused conversations with colleagues from schools different from their own. Although faculty were extremely skeptical about the process, it was a huge success. The Dean Emeritus, Dr. Donald McGlothlin commented, the college "had tried many times to create a networking environment, but this was by far the most successful of all previous attempts." The process was so successful that some faculty are using it to help graduate students connect with each other's passions and assets.

CoLAB Session: Broward Community Foundation Summer 2008

WOW, two sessions for the Broward Community Foundation, with Kimberly Sovinski assisting were a tremendous effort. More than 60 participants attended and were divided into to groups: 8:00 to 12:00 and 1: 00 to 5:00. We managed to allow folks to move through enough rounds that they were able to have CoLAB discussions with nearly everyone. It was truly a Herculean effort by the CF staff and the results were excellent. Participants reactions have been consistent: they cannot believe how much they don't know about each other, the community, and the available resources.

CoLAB Session: Living the Future Conference April 2008

This was definitely an experimental session. The theme of the conference, Transforming Libraries through Collaboration, drew over 150 from throughout the country, both academic library professionals and Tucson fans of Peter Senge, the keynote speaker.

The goal of this CoLAB session was to help conference attendees quickly connect with each other by learning about the assets they each possessed. It was facilitated after the keynote during the first day of the session and ran for a couple of hours.

The result was a conference unlike any other. The energy was high throughout and attendees enjoyed the "open-access" environment that permitted very open discussions without the usual inhibitions of conferences where it's a lot of work to connect with those you don't know. The CoLAB session somehow gave folks "permission" to connect and reduced the distance between "strangers."