aerial shot of Converse Hall

Staff Retreat

Staff Retreat is a time for Westminster staff members to learn from one another and enjoy our community. Staff are encouraged to attend all or part of the day’s events, which include professional and personal development sessions, lunch, outdoor group activities, an awards ceremony, and a reception.

Save the date
May 30, 2024


staff retreat lunch on richer commons

staff smiling with each other during retreat lunch on richer commons

Professional and Personal Development Sessions

Staff Retreat provides an opportunity for staff to lead and learn in both professional and personal development sessions. Share your expertise or excitement about a skill, hobby, or work or life hack with your colleagues.

  • Professional development sessions should offer staff members an opportunity to learn or develop job-related skills.
  • Personal development sessions might include wellness activities, learning new hobbies or skills, or any other activity or practice focused on individual wellness and development.

If you have any questions about leading a session, reach out to the chair of the Professional Development Committee.

The proposal submission form will be open April 3–29, 2024.

Staff Council Member Nominations

Staff Council members serve for 2 years with an optional third year. All staff eligible for membership may be part of the election process. You can nominate yourself or a colleague.

You are eligible to run for election if you:

  • Are a part-time or full-time staff member of Westminster University
  • Do not hold full-time faculty status
  • Are not a member of the President's Leadership Council or Cabinet
  • Are in good standing with the university

An election will be held if there are more nominations than open seats on the council.

Submit a Staff Council Nomination

 staff socializing in richer commons during retreat

Staff Community Awards

To recognize the work of staff over the past year, Staff Council is asking for nominations for the Staff Community Awards. Staff will be recognized in 5 categories, with 1 winner for each. Nominations are judged based on how well the staff member meets the category's criteria.

learn more about staff community awards

2023 Staff Retreat Schedule

May 16, 2023

9–10:30 a.m. Development Sessions

Presenters: Michael Santarosa and Shari Duckworth
Location: Gore 133

Shari and Michael will explain the evolution of our current tuition insurance program, how it works, and it's impact on student retention and persistence.

Presenters: James Patten and Bree Anderson
Location: Gore 134

Understand the processes of both the athletics department and registrar's office have to ensure our student athletes remain eligible to compete.

Presenters: Erica Johnson, Karen Henriquez, Q Otuafi, Valentina Rojas, Mario Reeve, Julie Hildebrand, and Braden Thompson
Location: Gore 228

Join us for an exploration of how the Enrollment Management team emerged from a group impacted by frequent transition and uncertainty to a more effective and cohesive team. This session will cover the strategies and tactics we used to foster community, promote professional growth, and commit to a culture of service. Our conversation will include how we approach hiring, onboarding, staff development, communication, celebrations, and feedback.

Presenters: Lindsie Smith and Christy Seifert
Location: Gore 227

Join Lindsie Smith and Christy Seifert, PhD, to explore how you can grow as an adaptive and inclusive leader. Adaptive and inclusive leaders support their teams to face difficult challenges and situations, and provide them with the opportunity to grow, while ensuring that everyone feels valued and is able to fully utilize their perspectives and talents. This session will includes hands-on activities, group discussion, and reflection.

Presenters: Michael Santarosa, Sarah Lof, and Melissa Nisonger
Location: Gore 133

Registrar's Office staff will explain their main office functions, recent changes, and how to access important information online.

Presenter: Conor Bentley
Location: Gore 134

Creating a podcast- how to go about the very introductory steps of making a podcast, from coming up with an idea, to getting equipment and setting up a hosting site, etc.

Presenter: Virginia Oelkers
Location: Gore 228

IS gives a brief presentation with quick tips and solutions to our most commonly submitted issues and questions.

Presenters: Yvonne Francis and José Hernández Zamudio
Location: Gore 133

Honors College staff will speak about the campus/community partners we have and the populations we serve.

Presenter: Virginia Oelkers
Location: Gore 228

In this session, IS will be covering Time Entry, Time Approval, Leave Requests, and Leave Approval. Learn about the best practices and the most common errors we see and how to avoid them.

10:30–11:30 a.m. Keynote Speech: Generations in the Workplace

Presenters: Joe Tate, GBS Benefits, and Mina Milicevic, Human Resources
Location: Vieve Gore Concert Hall

In this fun and interactive session, we will discuss the generations in the workplace and common myths about generations, and explore differences and similarities in generations. We will also discuss how generations differ in learning, technology use, communication, and pivotal moments.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch

Location: Richer Commons

Gather with colleagues for a catered lunch from Sodexo.

12:30–1:30 p.m. Outdoor Fun

Location: Richer Commons

Come together for a selection of fun outdoor events. There will be both individual and group activities available. Take time to enjoy the sunshine and warmth after the long, cold winter.

1:30–3:00 p.m. Development Sessions

Presenter: AJ Verkouw
Location: Gore 133

What is conflict vs disagreement? How do we engage with difficult conversations, set boundaries, and give feedback in a way that sets all parties up for a chance at success? We'll explore some strategies and ideas that help with this and practice them through scenarios.

Presenter: Bri Buckley
Location: Gore 134

Earthquake and general emergency preparedness - learn how to develop an individual or household emergency plan, things to consider when putting together an emergency kit, and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Presenter: Laura Iverson-Bastiani
Location: HWAC Studio

Guided meditation and sound bath experience: Take time today to take care of yourself! You will be guided through a simple meditation followed by a relaxing sound bath experience with sound bowls.

Presenter: Yvonne Francis
Location: Gore 133

Intro to the basics of cross-stitching and/or black work embroidery as the individual participant prefers. New or experiences stitchers welcome. Don't cross stitch? Bring your current fiber arts project and come work with us as a community of crafters!

Presenters: Daniel Lewis and Institutional Advancement Staff
Location: Gore 134

Institutional Advancement introduces the work of our alumni relations and development arms, answers staff members' questions, and shows staff how they can be partners with us in advancing the mission of Westminster University. We'll answer questions like, "How do I get donors to help fund my program?" "I met someone who wants to help Westminster--what do I do?" "How can I get a list of alumni to mail to?" and "How come you guys get paid to go to parties?"

Presenters: Audrey Clare and Lisa Heiskell
Location: Gore 227

Join us for inspirational book talk! We'll start by sharing some of our favorite books that inform and inspire our work with students. After several interactive activities, you'll have a chance to share your favorite reads with the group. Only read for fun? Great! Bring your recommendations. Fun can be inspiring too!

3–4:00 p.m. Awards and Recognition Ceremony

Location: Vieve Gore Concert Hall

Join the campus community in recognizing the annual Staff Community Award winners and nominees, celebrating staff graduates, and welcoming incoming Staff Council members.

4–5:00 p.m. Reception

Location: Tanner Atrium

Commemorate a day of learning and growth by gathering for drinks and dessert. Dessert was generously provided by the Dodo.