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A Culture of Care >> Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.

For Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff gathered for a Wurtele Center workshop group portrait

While much of the Wurtele Center for Leadership’s programming is geared toward students, we nevertheless strive to live into our mission to equip all members of the Smith community with the creativity, courage and collaborative capacity to lead positive change. We believe strongly that in order to build these skills in our students, we need to engage as learners ourselves as we seek to model collaborative leadership. We also hope to serve as a resource to faculty and staff members who are interested in exploring new ways of building collaborative leadership skills in their students. Below are some ways our center engages with faculty and staff.

The Art of Leading Teams Lunch Series

Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership for this facilitated monthly series of conversations about what it means to work collaboratively in a team at Smith College. Open to all faculty and staff, regardless of title or position. Early fall sessions will be held virtually, with a hope to facilitate some in-person sessions later in the year.

See a pdf of the schedule, or click on the tabs below. Sign up for email related to the Art of Leading Teams on this Google form.


Tuesday, September 14

12:15–1:30 p.m.

The New “Normal”
We are finally back on campus, bringing a range of joys and challenges as each of us attempts to adjust to the new “normal.” How can we seize this moment to reflect upon and apply what we’ve learned from the pandemic as we restart our work in person?


Tuesday, October 19

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Fostering a Learning Culture in Your Department or Team
How can we cultivate a “learning culture” within our units and departments that allows for experimentation, inquiry and mutual support, rather than a “performance culture” that prizes individual outcomes and expertise above all else?


Tuesday, November 16

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Collaborative Skills: Facilitation, Process Literacy & Project Design
Teams and departments often find themselves faced with complex projects and challenging tasks, and yet few of us have been directly trained in the art of facilitation or project design. Come discuss and learn these skills.


Tuesday, January 11

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Working Through Team Power Dynamics
No team is entirely devoid of power dynamics, regardless of any efforts we might make to flatten hierarchies and be inclusive. Join us to discuss how power dynamics surface within our teams, both subtly and not so subtly.


Tuesday, February 15

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Breaking Silos #1: Examples of Successful Cross-Sector Collaborations at Smith
We often talk about wanting to break down silos, but what does that look like in practice? Hear about successful silo-busting collaborative efforts between students & staff, faculty & staff, and students & faculty.


Friday, March 25

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Breaking Silos #2: Helping Students Learn toCollaborate Across the Curricular and Co-Curricular
What can faculty and staff learn from one another, and what can we all learn from the learning sciences, to help us support students’ growth as collaborators across their curricular and co-curricular experiences?

Combined Teaching Arts Lunch and Art of Leading Teams Session, co-sponsored by the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning


Tuesday, April 12

12:15–1:30 p.m.

Empowering Students to Co-Design Programs & Initiatives
Students are the main “users” of every program, course and initiative we create, but more often than not, students are not directly involved in their creation. What does it look like when students are invited in as co-creators and empowered as design partners?

“Thank you all so much for facilitating this amazing series! I often was on the fence about joining because I was ‘so busy with everything else,’ but every session I was able to join gave me new tools and connections across campus, and I left so glad I carved out this time for professional and personal development.” —Art of Leading Teams 2020–21 Participant

Student Pedagogical Partners

The Wurtele Center designs and facilitates a series of workshops for students participating in the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning’s Student Pedagogical Partner program. The workshops provide students with a space in which to reflect as a cohort on their experience as a pedagogical partner and to explore what leadership looks like in this specific context. Past workshop topics include:

  • Owning your Role and Challenging Imposter Phenomenon
  • Identity, Power, and Classroom Dynamics
  • Learning Design: What do we know about how people learn?

“Thank you so much for your support and guidance during this past semester with the Pedagogical Partnership. Our monthly sessions were such a joy to attend, and I always felt inspired talking to you and the group. The time was perfectly divided between reflecting, writing, sharing, and discussing. Additionally, all of the tools you used in the meetings (as simple as the great icebreakers) were very engaging and useful.”—2020-21 Student Pedagogical Partner

Ways to Partner with the Wurtele Center

The Wurtele Center for Leadership is available for consultation, collaboration, and support for any faculty members whose courses (or other modes of students engagement) are actively team- or group-oriented, and who are interested in exploring how they might work more intentionally with students to develop their collaborative skills in order to lead projects and initiatives forward. Our curricular engagement with faculty has ranged from individual consultation and curricular co-design to guest teaching arrangements to resource sharing.

For more information, please contact the Wurtele Center Assistant Director, Megan Lyster, and/or check out the Resources page of our website.

The Wurtele Center for Leadership also collaborates widely with a range of campus partners to support the collaborative leadership development of students and staff through co-curricular or work experiences. This includes:

  • Ongoing training and development partnerships with student leaders in Residential Life, House Leadership and Student Affairs
  • Support of student club and organization leaders
  • Collaboration with other centers on campus to develop programs, talks and workshops
  • A monthly student intern leadership enrichment series open to student interns and work-study students across campus
  • Assistance with meeting design, retreat design and facilitation of team engagement for other units on campus

If you are interested in collaborating with the Wurtele Center in these or other ways, please reach out!