Guide Star Atelier

During our first year, in addition to getting to know our new colleagues and endeavoring to create a new college culture, our focus was on creating a structure for the college. We worked to develop proposals for degree programs and principles that will govern the development of institutes and centers. We’ve begun to focus on performance indicators that will help us monitor progress toward our goals, and we’ve started to identify partners and supporters in our community who will help us achieve those goals. We made tremendous progress on all of these efforts. We anticipate receiving approval to build upon them in the coming year.

What we have not yet done is to create an identity for our college. Who are we? What kind of impact do we want to have on our collective fields of study and practice? How do we go about the process of change to enact a new identity? How do we reflect this identity in our partnerships, hiring, and daily actions with our students and the community?

To help us answer these questions, we will engage in a semester-long atelier designed to address our primary responsibility associated with last year’s merger: “What should a college of education and human development look like as part of a research-intensive, comprehensive university?” Our Fall All-College Retreat on August 29, 2019 will be the launch of the atelier as we are joined by two prominent higher education leaders to talk about establishing a “guide star” for our work.

We will watch these presentations at our retreat, but you may want to preview them as well. They can be found here. Following the video presentations, we will have time to discuss and generate questions for our speakers who will join us to respond and elaborate later in the day via Zoom. Our job is to listen, learn, question, and begin to think about how their experiences can inform ours.

Across the semester we will be joined by a number of national leaders in our respective fields for similar conversations all focused on the same set of questions. In fact, our effort to reach out to these leaders was met with enthusiasm as most of our invitations were met with a hearty “Yes, how can I help!” Leaders from higher education, preK-12 education, and professional associations as well as social innovators, researchers, research funders, foundation and corporate heads, and national and local nonprofit leaders will join us to help us shape the identity and future of BU Wheelock. Our goal for this semester is to develop language that describes our “guidestar” and communicates who we are, what we stand for, and what we do.

Building the identity of a new college is rare and we are excited that the resources associated with the merger (e.g., faculty positions, funding, and partnership opportunities) make this possible. Obviously, not everyone will be available for every discussion. However, we encourage you to avail yourself for as many of these events as possible so that your voice will be heard.