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.


2024 Staff Retreat Schedule

May 30, 2024

9–10:25 a.m. Morning Development Sessions

Presenters: Chris Eggett
Location: Gore 227

Do you have a meeting in a classroom or a meeting room? Let us show you how to use the AV equipment.

Presenters: Laura Iverson-Bastiani
Location: HWAC Studio

Sound bath! Take 30 minutes out of your day to take care of YOURSELF. Participants will lay comfortably on the floor while sound bowls are played "bathing" participants in sound waves.

Presenters: Dr. Chris LeCluyse and Yvonne Francis
Location: Gore 133

In the past few years tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons have expanded from a niche hobby to a mainstream pastime. This session will cover the basics of how to play an RPG and include a short session of Lasers and Feelings, a micro-RPG that may or may not totally resemble Star Trek.

Presenter: Bri Buckley
Location: Gore 228

When was the last time you were aware of the emergency resources around you? When you walk around campus, do you notice fire extinguishers, exit signs, evacuation maps, or AEDs? Are you confident you know how to use these things in an emergency? Thinking through what you can do with available resources is a key part of being prepared to act in an emergency situation. Join this session to learn something new or as a refresher about emergency resources on campus and elsewhere.

Presenter: Audrey Clare and Dr. Christie Fox
Location: Gore 227

Have you ever pondered “Is there a more effective approach to bolstering our support for first-generation, low-income students?” Do you enjoy learning about the latest research and best practices to support students? Are you practical and want to attend a session that will help you better serve students? Then join us as we explore the Ecological Validation Model of Student Success. During this interactive session, you will:

  • Learn about the Ecological Validation Model of Student Success
  • Explore how it has been successfully utilized on other campuses
  • Practice how to apply this model to your interactions with students

Presenters: Shae Barber
Location: Gore 133

Come join me for an egg-citing session on your new favorite bird: the chicken! Backyard chickens have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason: fresh eggs every day, amazing benefits for your garden and yard, environmental sustainability... oh, and they're just plain FUN. We'll walk through the what, why, and how of backyard chickens for beginners.

Presenters: Karla Motta
Location: Gore 228

“You don’t have to like each other, but you will respect each other,” is a motto that McNair scholars often hear in our programming. McNair utilizes the concept of “Respect,” to create a sense of belonging and set program expectations from participants. Creating a culture where students feel like they can lean-in takes intentionality. Drawing from Terrel Strayhorn’s theory on Sense of Belonging,” and Benito Juarez’ manifest of 1867 on Respect and Peace, McNair utilizes a lens of teaching students to lean-in to each other regardless of differences. Come and learn about McNair’s journey over the course of the year and how we practice respect to support one another outside the classroom to encourage college retention and completion.

10:30–11:30 a.m. Keynote Address: Heidi's LemonAid Stand

Presenter: Heidi Alldredge
Location: Vieve Gore Concert Hall

Heidi is a former radio talk show host for "The LemonAid Stand" where she interviewed people who have taken life's lemons and made lemonade. Highlighting personal stories of triumph over tragedy, how they made the world better, and what they want to change in their family, home, or community, because of what they went through! Now those radio shows have been digitally downloaded and edited into a podcast. Heidi is also a TEDx speaker, focusing on how to stop our negative thoughts. Join us in the concert hall for the inspiring keynote speech.

 Heidi Alldredge headshot

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Lunch

Location: Richer Commons

Hear remarks from President Dobkin before enjoying a catered lunch buffet with colleagues.

12:30–1:20 p.m. Campus Heritage Tour

Location: Ferry Plaza, east side of Converse Hall

Join the fun as we take a stroll around campus with members of the Institutional Advancement team to hear the stories of some of the people whose names appear on our buildings and along our walkways and learn about their impact on Westminster. Meet at Ferry Plaza on the east side of Converse Hall.

1:30–2:55 p.m. Afternoon Development Sessions

Presenter: Keaton Schrank
Location: Gore Basement Atrium

Get your hands a little bit dirty and create an herb terrarium for your home or office! All materials will be provided, and no planting experience is required.

Presenter: Dr. Tam Stevenson
Location: Gore 227

Physical and psychological safety are cornerstones of work productivity and well-being. Cultural safety is a multifaceted challenge, especially in higher education, with the growing emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The intertwining lived experiences of students, staff, and faculty often blur the lines of belonging, making it crucial to untangle these complexities to facilitate clarity of personal and professional roles and goals of each stakeholder group per their respective relationship to the institution. This session aims to clarify the appropriate realities of safety and belonging to cultivate harmonious working and learning environments within our campus community.

Presenter: Mountain America Credit Union
Gore 228

Targeted toward audiences who understand basics such as budgeting and credit. This series helps learners focus on their future goals such as buying a home, being debt free, and planning for retirement.

  • Learn the most effective ways to break free from debt, including the snowball, avalanche and other tried-and-true methods.
  • Discuss basic investment principles you can apply to jump-start your financial goals.
  • Find out where to begin when buying your first home, including the cost of purchasing a home, the loan process, different loan programs, and what lenders look for in a homebuyer.

Presenter: Jeff Driggs
Location: Gore 133

"Once upon a time there was a blind Scottish wood-turner..." Thus begins the story of a family whose business successes spanned the continent and whose name today is synonymous with philanthropy. Westminster’s director of foundation relations, Jeff Driggs, will share the remarkable tale of these “giants in our city” whose unrivaled impact on education, the arts, medicine, social services, and the environment is felt in every corner of Utah.

Presenters: Drs. Kim Zarkin and Tam Stevenson
Location: Gore 227

This session, co-led by Kim Zarkin and Tamara Stevenson, will unpack why words like "bitch" and "bossy" are so intriguing yet problematic. Are they a badge or a burden? We will hold a lively learning space to explore what the media teaches us about women, gender, leadership, aggression, and behavior and how it affects how we understand our world and relate to one another personally and professionally.

Presenter: Mountain America Credit Union
Location: Gore 228

Created for more financially experienced audiences who aim to both chase their financial aspirations and enhance the growth and security of their existing assets.

  • Learn the most effective ways to break free from debt, including the snowball, avalanche, and other tried-and-true methods.
  • Learn about how your Social Security benefits are impacted by work, taxes, and marital status. The Medicare portion covers the impact of receiving health benefits through work.

Presenters: Virginia Oelkers
Location: Gore 133

An intro to best practices for saving and sharing files. Learn where to save, when to share, and how to manage your files.

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 staff emeriti, and welcoming incoming Staff Council members.

4–5:00 p.m. Reception

Location: Tanner Atrium

Commemorate a day of learning, growth, and community by gathering for drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Dessert is generously provided by The Dodo restaurant.


Mountain America Credit Union Logo

The 2024 Staff Retreat is sponsored by Mountain America Credit Union.


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