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For Faculty & Staff

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. Most sessions are held in-person with a virtual attendance option; lunch is provided for in-person attendees who RSVP.

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 19

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

A Warm Welcome: How to Bring in New Members to Your Team or Department

It’s not always easy to adjust when you start a new role, and much depends on the steps your team or department takes to welcome you in. Join the Wurtele Center for Leadership for a lunchtime session on how to welcome new colleagues and gain tips and tools to quickly foster a sense of belonging.


Tuesday, October 24

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

“I’m Not Creative” (And Other Lies You Tell Your Team)

It’s easy to deny our own creativity, and yet each of us needs to develop new ideas and find inspiration for innovative ways of doing things, no matter what our work entails. Join the Wurtele Center and guest co-facilitator Andrea St. Louis, the new Director of the Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, for a lunch session on creating the space and inspiring the confidence within yourself and your team to get CREATIVE. 


Tuesday, November 28

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

Destructive Conflict vs. Healthy Dissent

Disagreement is a natural element of group life, yet we often either avoid it or engage in it in ways that can corrode rather than strengthen our teams or departments. For unit cultures that overemphasize consensus, how can we harness the power of healthy dissent? For those that fall into destructive conflict, how can we set ground rules around how we will disagree productively? This session is co-hosted by the Wurtele Center and OEI as part of OEI’s new lunch series, Everyday Tools for Equity and Inclusion.


Tuesday, January 23

12:15–1:15 p.m., Virtual Meeting

Using Assessment for Improving Your Team’s Work

When we think of assessment, we often think in terms of numbers - how many students we’ve served, how many programs we’ve offered. But these metrics don’t give us a complete picture of how or whether we’re achieving our goals. Join the Wurtele Center and guest co-facilitator, Associate Director for Assessment Minh Ly, to explore assessment strategies that can help your team measure success, tell a compelling story about your work, and identify areas for growth or change.


Tuesday, February 13

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

Making Thinking Visible: How to Capture Collaborative Work

When we work or think together, it often takes the form of a verbal conversation that either is never recorded at all, or is documented in the form of written notes or minutes that are rarely consulted after the fact. Yet co-creating a visual record (in the form of diagrams, maps, charts, etc) can transform collaborative work to make it more inclusive and better captured. Join the Wurtele Center for a lunchtime session exploring techniques for extending the collaborative work of your unit or classroom by making thinking visible.


Tuesday, March 26

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

Navigating Diverse Communication Styles in Your Team or Department

Each member of a group brings with them a different communication style, which is rooted in our personalities, cultural backgrounds, and diverse experiences. These differences can bring great diversity to a team or department, but also provide fertile ground for misunderstanding and miscommunication. Join the Wurtele Center to explore how to navigate these differences and practice active listening to aid in better communication.


Tuesday, April 16

12:15–1:15 p.m., Neilson Browsing Room (lunch available at noon)

Getting Serious About Play: How to Incorporate Playfulness in Your Team Culture

Even though we know that teams that trust each other are more productive, the idea of incorporating play into our work culture can induce a range of emotions: some people love it, some are skeptical, and others downright dread it. What might it look like to thoughtfully consider play and all it entails - the connection, exploration, negotiation, and disagreement - as a way to hone your skills for collaboration and weave it into the way you approach your work as a team?

“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 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
  • Tools for Facilitating Discussions, Navigating Classroom Dynamics, and Intentional Design of Learning Experiences
  • The Science of How People Learn
  • Reflections on the Pedagogical Partner Experience
“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.”
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!