Reflections on the Spring 2011 Bay Area CoP


The Spring 2011 Bay Area Community of Practice (CoP) revolved around the theme of “renewal” to support the hard work that faculty and staff do throughout the year to help ACE students. Participants left the session equipped with new ideas and practices to re-fuel their energies on a regular basis. 

Reflecting on how to maintain this energy once they left these gatherings, one participant commented, “I’ve gotten the experience that renewal isn't something we have to wait for others to provide to us.  We can do it for ourselves. 

Peter Bartlett, ACE’s Community Engagement Manager said, “One big take-away from the session for me was seeing the wisdom, energy and experience of the community itself. The combination of folks gathered together created a fun and rewarding day with focused exercises, playful chaos, and serious business.  The experience was energy-producing.”  

A CoP attendee noted, “A key aspect of the day was how the same exercises that we use in the curriculum for our students were used during the CoP, such as the concentric circles exercise in which we delve deeply and safely into important topics in a very short period of time, and with little fanfare.  We can bring this same basic technique back to our colleges and engage with our colleagues in meaningful ways that can make a real difference.” 

Just as ACE students use art to connect to learning concepts, the Spring CoP also included a memorable experience with an art project.  Led by Jim Knickerbocker, the demonstration had a visual and tactile metaphor using rocks of all sizes loaded into a container of limited dimensions.  The exercise helped participants get in touch with the idea of making time for what is most important, making space for our “big rocks.”  Then, attendees set about with the creation of their own “big rock” to take home -- a personal tangible reminder about setting priorities to avoid burnout. 

Community of Practice attendees shared feedback about the day:

  • “I honestly feel renewed and more positive than I did this morning. Thank you!”
  • “Great way to spend a Saturday!”
  • “Love the "rock" (art exercise)
  • “Liked the morning exercises- getting to know my colleagues.”
  • “Appreciated the opportunity to network”