Getting away is a popular theme this time of year. School is out; summer is in, and spending time away from routine seems easier now, especially when you’re in an academic setting. For four years running, we have made it a point to get away from the office for a day and a half to get closer together as a team and to become more clear about the upcoming year.
Our most recent off-site was held at a state park a few miles outside of the city, nestled within the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. We’ve discovered over the years that having this type of backdrop as well as mostly unreliable cell service during our time together is highly conducive for strategic and creative diversion.
UCM Class of 2020
Last year the staff formed four groups–each corresponding to the four years within an academic career–to make up UCM’s Class of 2020. Each group is working on a specific project to address opportunities we identified in our SWOT analysis. At the off-site, each group presented their plans and progress, while others highlighted the items addressed in the SWOT. Many yellow, pink and purple highlights later, it is clear to see why one team member said, “We have started to make so much progress already in achieving successes and we have a solid plan for the next four years.”
UCM also published a culture book that includes everyone’s input. The project was designed to share some insights into each person and how it feels to be a part of this team. Another added benefit is that we can augment our work titles to include “author” if we choose! Some of the comments received and the expressions in our group photo reinforce what we already knew–getting away has its benefits!
Employees describe UCM’s culture as “positive, informal and fun; more like a family, fostering acceptance and encouragement; a place where everyone fits in.” UCM is also described as “a diverse, talented group of individuals; people who want to work together for the greater good.”
Staff comments on highlights from this year’s strategic planning offsite–