The successful facilitation team conducts renewal and wholeness experiences for their college community. The experiences vary depending upon the interests, resources, needs, and culture of the college, as well as upon the skills and qualities of the facilitation team.
Preparation of a team of facilitators to do the work of professional development in renewal and wholeness is an extended, interactive procedure. It is designed to ensure that both the prepared facilitators and their mentors in the Center for Renewal and Wholeness in Higher Education (CRWHE) are confident that the events offered in their college communities are consistent with the vision, mission, and values of CRWHE and the gifts of the facilitation team. To reach that level of confidence, CRWHE asks participating institutions to expect the process to take a minimum of two years of active work with new team members.
The facilitation team works closely and effectively with one another—and with their CRWHE mentor—in designing, conducting, and evaluating the college's plan. All facilitation team members need to be thoroughly grounded in the principles and practices of this work to be able to meet the varied responsibilities of the team. Each member of the team will:
In addition, facilitation team members carry out the responsibilities of the particular role that each one fulfills for the team. Our experience suggests that the following are essential:
Facilitators are "circle conveners" who design and lead retreats and other experiences. The facilitator typically carries out these responsibilities:
The designer provides support for a successful program. The logistics designer typically carries out these responsibilities:
The champion serves as an advocate for renewal and wholeness with the administrative, budgetary, and strategic planning processes in the organization. The champion typically carries out these responsibilities:
Roles evolve to meet needs on the campus. Often "sages" emerge: people of wisdom who, though prepared as facilitators, do not choose to lead circles themselves but are invaluable as sounding boards and idea generators both for the institutional plan and for retreat planners. Another role that develops with time is "council member," advocates and those with experience in retreats who constitute a diverse and representative group that can guide the team in developing, achieving, and refining the institutional plan as well as in interpreting the work to their colleagues. "Ambience coordinators" may actually be essential in making cost-effective but bleak retreat facilities hospitable.
Developing and sustaining a successful program requires commitment on the part of those involved—commitment of spirit as well as of time and energy. Those who are considering becoming involved in the work will want to be clear about their ability to dedicate themselves to it. It may be that a restructuring of job responsibilities and work assignments is required.
The following qualities are essential in facilitation team members.
Some colleges build their facilitation team over time, supporting the application of one or two people initially and then adding more team members in subsequent years.
Those considering starting a college team are encouraged to consult with CRWHE about this process.
Teams are urged to consider thoughtfully the skills and qualities needed for successful facilitation before extending institutional support to new members. Not everyone who wants to join the team would make a useful contribution. Sometimes it seems expedient to use co-facilitators who have not been admitted formally to CRWHE’s preparation process. Informally adding a new team member without benefit of formal preparation complicates the work of the mentor—and existing team members—considerably.
Please discuss the addition of any team members with your mentor before adding new people to your team.
Individuals within colleges, but without current institutional support, and those not currently affiliated with a college may want to become facilitators or facilitation team members. CRWHE staff invites individuals to discuss their interest and plans with a staff member to determine the resources available to them and the appropriateness of their application for preparation.
"Preparation" is a term we choose for the process of becoming ready to assume one or more of the roles of team members. We avoid the mechanical-sounding term "training," because preparation is a subtle process requiring ongoing discernment about role, readiness, and effectiveness. CRWHE uses a multiphase approach to preparation.
The next Facilitator Preparation Retreat is scheduled for 5:00pm June 2, 2019 through noon, June, 7, 2019 at the Haven River Inn in Comfort, TX. Cost is $1750, 5-nights, single occupancy lodging, all meals, materials, and facilitation included.