Division of Immunology retreat, 3.22.23

A component of team building is making sure everyone on the team has their voice heard. And when the subject on the table is the team’s identity, especially as it relates to shared values and goals, it is important to find consensus. Members of the Division of Immunology took an afternoon recently to step back from the daily short-term goals to do exactly that.

After a shared lunch on the top floor of Courtyard by Marriott, which affords views of nearby Kinnick Stadium and the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the afternoon’s efforts were kicked off by Interim Division Director Benjamin Davis, MD, PhD. Davis thanked everyone for making the effort to attend and outlined the purpose of the retreat. He then introduced the work’s facilitator, Heather Woody, MCC.

After she led group introductions, Woody directed the division members through a variety of activities, from drafting new vision and mission statements to a listing of values and goals. Attendees workshopped a variety of phrases and discussed the implications of them each as Woody tracked changes on a wall-mounted sheet of paper.

What emerged after a couple hours of work was more than a sentence or two rich with careful consideration that everyone had the chance to build. Members had a chance to understand new perspectives, sometimes from people they work alongside every day.

Asked afterward how he thought the afternoon’s session went, Davis said, “Given the feedback we have received, I think it is safe to say that our retreat day accomplished a few main things that we were hoping we would: strengthen group camaraderie, reinvigorate the group, and help us develop a shared path forward.”

Besides the wall hangings, Woody also documented the group’s consensus documents in an after-event report sent to Davis and Division Administrator Danielle Allen, MBA. They will use the summary and recommendations to build on the afternoon’s efforts. Davis said, “We also realize that to continue this momentum, we will have to actively and regularly cultivate the process and plans that we began to develop.”

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