By Wendy Sarubbi | January 13, 2014 12:48 pm

Burnett  2The faculty of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences begin 2014 refreshed and focused, thanks to a day-long retreat in December that focused on problem solving and team building.

The retreat, the school’s first in three years, was led by the College of Medicine’s Faculty Development office and split faculty into targeted groups based on their primary roles as educators, researchers or a mix of both. The goal was to help each group address common challenges and work together to find solutions. “We’re really striving to push issues to the appropriate people, so that changes can be made.” said Faculty Development Director Andrea Berry, who co-led the event.

Burnett 3Each group identified two issues or needs within the school and then developed “action plans” to meet those needs. Key issues included improving collaboration across campuses, sustaining research support during funding gaps and developing faculty mentoring.

Another major goal of the retreat was to outline desired characteristics for the incoming director of the Burnett school. A search is underway for candidates to fill the position, which is being held in the interim by Dr. Richard Peppler, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at the College of Medicine.  “You don’t want to make too many changes at this time, because someone is coming in to be the leader for this group,” he said. “But we won’t sit back and wait 3 to 6 months; we need to keep moving forward.”

Burnett 1Throughout the day, retreat planners emphasized the importance of teamwork and collaboration.  That vision was personified from the moment faculty members walked into the retreat and received two jigsaw puzzle pieces. As a group, everyone held a vital piece of the puzzle, and was charged with bringing those pieces together into one, cohesive unit by the end of the day. “It was a symbol for the fact that we all have something important to contribute, but we need each other,” said Assistant Faculty Development Director Denise Kay.

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