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A Culture of Care

Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2021 semester.
Current Operating Mode: GREEN

For Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff gathered for a Wurtele Center workshop group portrait

While much of the Wurtele Center’s programming is geared toward students, we strive 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 for faculty and staff who are interested in exploring new ways of building collaborative leadership skills in their students.

The Art of Leading Teams Lunch Series

The Art of Leading Teams is a series of lunchtime sessions open to any faculty or staff member interested in cross-campus community building, discussion, and learning about methods for leading and working collaboratively in teams. While we normally gather in person and provide lunch, the series will be conducted virtually in the 2020–21 academic year. Watch eDigest for registration information, or reach out to us at to sign up to receive announcements about the series.

Art of Leading Teams Schedule

Spring Semester 2021


February 3, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m.

Working Through Team Tensions
While it can be uncomfortable, tension is a natural part of working in a team. Our friends at Leadership+Design will join us to help us learn how to surface and work through tensions in healthy ways, and to normalize and even value dissent within your team culture. 


March 17, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m.
Erin Cohn, Emily Norton

Collaborative Idea Generation and Improvement
Team work frequently requires us to develop new and creative ideas, yet traditional forms of brainstorming and idea generation can be frustrating and unproductive. In this session, we’ll explore how to work together (especially in a virtual environment) to generate more and better ideas by building on one another’s thinking.   

April 14, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m.
Erin Cohn, Dina Venezky

Giving and Receiving Feedback
Most people crave feedback, but few of us enjoy giving it. Learn from your fellow team leaders how feedback functions within their unit, and discuss how we might foster feedback-rich environments in our units by practicing “radical candor.”
May 12, 2021
12:15–1:30 p.m.
Tools for Collaborative Assessment and Reflection: Ecocycle Planning
The end of the academic year is a good time to step back and assess the overall work of your team, unit, or department and do some collaborative thinking about what comes next. We’ll model a strategy for doing that work that is based on the metaphor of an ecological cycle. Join us and begin to think about what in your work is germinating, what’s flowering, and what needs to go through “creative destruction” to make way for other things to grow.

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 are actively team- or groupwork-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.


In addition, in partnership with the Provost’s Office, the Wurtele Center supports faculty working to develop students’ capacity to cultivate a public voice as they learn to translate their scholarship for a public audience and speak out about issues that matter to them. The Amplify Program includes Curriculum Enhancement Grants offered to faculty, paired with co-curricular programming that builds on and enhances this work in the classroom.

For more information, please contact Wurtele Center Director Erin Cohn, and check out the Resources and Amplify pages 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!