Thoughts on all-LIS staff meetings

Submitted by Mike Roy

LIS Staff Meetings

As part of taking stock of how well LIS does with internal communications, and with staying connected with the overall mission of the College, we want to think about what role, if any, a regular all-LIS staff meeting might play in improving our internal communications. To that end, we’ve developed a simple questionaire that will help us in this process.  We would like to know:

1. What value do you see in having an all-LIS staff meeting?
2. Should we even hold all-LIS staff meetings? If so, how frequently? Monthly? Every other month? Quarterly?
3. What topics would you like to see covered? Who from outside of LIS would you like to hear from?
4. What ideas do you have for ways to keep the meetings useful and interesting?
5. What should we avoid doing?

You can answer these questions by submitting comments to this post.

We’ll be asking similar questions about some of our other communication practices on an on-going basis. As part of that process, Doreen is compiling an inventory of all of the various ways that we communicate with each other. That list can be found at if you wish to add something to the list, send your addition to Doreen ( or ask her to add you as an editor of the document.

10 thoughts on “Thoughts on all-LIS staff meetings

  1. Brenda

    Personally I think all LIS meetings can be useful, perhaps 1 x semester or semi-annually. LISt is nice, but you can’t ask questions. It would be nice to have a forum where the Dean and AD’s report (briefly) on ongoing projects and future plans, with the idea that people could ask questions or give suggestions. Also others in LIS could volunteer to give highlights from conference presentations they’ve done or good ideas they’ve heard about. In others words, make it more of a 2 way forum. Presentations by guests could be separate events for those interested in the topic. Avoid making people feel they have to attend a topic not of interest. People could suggest speakers they’ve heard at conferences who were especially good/relevant, and open up the presentation to the campus (if we have funding for outside speakers).

  2. kate schmitt

    1. value: bonding.always a good thing.
    2. yes.. freq: maybe quarterly as long as they are useful & fun. vary the scheduling. some of us don’t work in the a.m., or on mondays, ETC.
    3. topics – ranging from nuts&bolts library stuff, to anything at all. Have Bill McKibben come for discussion on Green Vt/ VT Secession. Invite Eric Davis to talk /discuss upcoming elections/ VT political issues. Someone to discuss the weather, and issues of health: water-borne diseases?
    4. Keep it short.
    5. Avoid soggy, sugary muffins, and crazy, goofball ideas.

  3. Barbara Merz

    I think some form of meeting is worth while, mainly because I don’t even know who everyone in LIS is, or what they do.

    LISt is good, but hearing, seeing and meeting in person can make more of a lasting impression.

    Possibly each time have one workgroup (or whatever group makes sense) do a short presentation about what they do.

    I do like sugary items – perhaps they shouldn’t be too soggy though.

  4. Jeff Rehbach

    All-staff meetings can be valuable in having us see one another – perhaps even more valuable as we find ways to interact and get to know one another (we are a large organization). Even simple Q&A can help us get a better sense of who we are, what our shared concerns are, and celebrating individual or collective accomplishments.

    To that end, I wonder if meeting 4 times a year would increase our sense of who we all are, what we’re doing, and what we value.

    Another model might be occasional smaller gatherings (say 15-20 people) drawn from across the “areas” so we get to know each other (and Mike R) more closely, and share more freely than in a 100-person meeting.

    It might be good to have Ron L, Tim S, Bob H, Gus J, Shirley (her successor), Mike S, Mike M, Nan Jenks-Jay or Jack Byrne, etc. meet with us occasionally – so we hear broader issues and context of College concerns/directions whether about student life, administration, alumni, communications, environmental affairs et al.

    For a different perspective, how about inviting SGA officers, Campus editors & news reporters, etc. to our meetings, to hear what’s of interest and on their minds?

    Inspiring outside speakers are always welcome, I’d imagine… perhaps some even on campus for another lecture or event may have something relevant to share related to information services, computing/information futures, etc.

    Attention spans are variable – perhaps aim for 45 minutes? If longer than an hour, build in a break.

    I’m thinking about avoiding goofball ideas – I initially thought our “Gaming Day” last year a bit off-beat, but I think it turned out to be a wonderful way to interact with one another, and get to see a whole realm of technology many of us rarely interact with :-)

  5. Carrie Macfarlane

    1. Value:
    -Helps us feel like we all are part of the same organization. Makes it more likely that we’ll think of one another when an opportunity to collaborate arises.
    -Reminds us that there’s always lots going on in the organization. Could inspire us all to keep moving forward, undertake new initiatives and complete existing initiatives.
    -Helps us represent LIS to people outside of LIS. The more we all know about what others in LIS are doing, the more cohesive, professional and reliable our organization will seem to others on campus.

    2. Frequency:
    We all have lots of meetings to attend and many demands on our time. So, I think 2-3 all-LIS staff meetings per year would do the trick.

    3. Topics/speakers:
    -I like the idea of having workgroups present on what they’re currently doing. This would meet the ‘goals’ I listed above in my #1.
    -I also like the idea of inviting outside speakers. I’m thinking back to the presentation we had from Advancement on their fund-raising initiative. It was informative, and useful because it helped me feel like I could be a better representative of the college as a whole. What a great idea to get students involved; I wonder if we could get student organizations to give presentations from time to time? We’re here for the students, after all.
    ….So, maybe we could alternate internal and ‘speakers’ from one meeting to the next?

    4. Useful and interesting:
    -Make sure that they’re regularly scheduled and that an agenda/program is always provided in advance. We’ll know what to expect.
    -Limit to 45-60 minutes. Easier to schedule and easier to pay attention!

    5. Avoid:
    -Holding one meeting and then never scheduling another!
    -Creating a burdensome time commitment.

  6. Rob Pekor

    1. Value:
    Regular meetings are a very good tool in maintaining a “group”. Having worked with College Advancement for a couple of years now, I have been attending their regular meetings and their once/year retreat and it definitely brings the group together.
    2. Frequency:
    I think roughly once every 1-2 months scenario works well.
    3. Topics:
    Information exchange is always good. Maybe our HR generalist could have some input at each meeting.
    4. Ways to keep the meetings useful/interesting:
    The brief time before the meeting to mingle and meet is good. This is a big group and very hard to know/meet everyone. Light food and drink is always a good idea. A mix of ‘normal’ meeting food and some healthy food would be beneficial. The proposed agenda for Thursday meeting is good: Short, brief points.
    5. Avoid:
    Being too long. I like the 45 minute to 1 hour proposed.

  7. Arabella

    1. Values: it’s just nice to see everyone every once in a while, especially since we work in so many different buildings. Plus it’s an opportunity for us to hear from the Dean in a way that’s efficient for him and for us.

    2. Frequency: I think 3-4 times a year.

    3. Topics: I like the idea of having a session every year or two where we hear from and talk with a panel of ‘users’ (I think a mix of faculty and students would be good). I also like Barbara M’s idea of each time learning what one or maybe two selected ‘work group(s)’ is/are up to in general and at the time. (Seems like there would have to be more than one to hear from everyone more than once a decade.) As far as external/off-campus speakers – an occasional retreat (half-day) would be better for that than having it be part of the regular all-staff meetings, in my humble opinion.

    4. If the meeting is scheduled when some/most/all are hungry and food is provided, that makes it useful! :)

    5. Avoid holding agenda-free meetings just because it’s that time of year/month/whatever.

  8. Carrie Macfarlane

    Any chance we can get a summary of what’s discussed in this Thursday’s meeting in a future “LISt” posting? I have a schedule conflict, unfortunately, and I can tell from the agenda :) that I’ll need to know what I missed!

  9. Peggy Fischel

    An all staff meeting is useful because our size and multiple locations don’t otherwise allow regular interaction. Regarding frequency, I think 2-3 per year is manageable — late August/early September before orientation, January, and sometime in the spring. Perhaps schedule them way in advance so staff can plan to attend.

    Would prefer to hear from College guests outside of LIS to get a broader perspective rather than work group presentations. LISt blog takes care of this, but perhaps encourage others in the work group to write their own blurb once a year. Of course, if people are doing something extraordinary that lends itself to a presentation, I’m all for it.

  10. Elin Waagen

    1. What value do you see in having an all-LIS staff meeting?
    Ability to connect with others across LIS, help put faces to names, meet new staff, meet staff who work in other buildings and at different times of the day/week, face to face time between blog postings

    2. Should we even hold all-LIS staff meetings? If so, how frequently? Monthly? Every other month? Quarterly?
    Every Semester for all LIS staff – at least – maybe monthly if topics/agenda warrant a meeting
    Vary the times of the day/week to accomodate all working schedules (we are open a lot of hours at many different locations!)
    Every Semester for LIS student staff

    3. What topics would you like to see covered? Who from outside of LIS would you like to hear from?
    Reports from LIS Dean and LIS and College Admin – what’s happening in LIS, events/activity across campus that will impact LIS, LIS directions – a view of the broader picture/context in LIS, at Midd and at other colleges, gathering for a common purpose/mission, meaning, inspiration and excitement about our work

    4. What ideas do you have for ways to keep the meetings useful and interesting?
    Snacks are always welcome!
    Multi-media – maybe a relevant movie clip to inject a little humor and fun
    Time for Q and A
    Meeting notes posted on the LIS blog for those unable to attend

    5. What should we avoid doing?
    Avoid meeting if there is no topic or agenda


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