May 20th, 2015
Yesterday, I participated in my university’s Best Practices Forum. My colleague and I presented at a session, I drank coffee and ate lunch with a mix of new and familiar faces, and folks far more powerful than us spoke to us about the importance of why we were there and what we might achieve. The tenor of the day was little different from that of many events at this time on the academic calendar. Folks come together over food and drink to celebrate past achievements and dream of future glory. In short, the Best Practices Forum felt quite a bit like a staff commencement ceremony. I even got a certificate and my photo with our provost at the end of the day.
One of our deans likes to say that community is something we “do.” I would argue that like playing the piano or learning a language, it takes practice. The season of awards, graduations, and retirement ceremonies always reminds me that such gatherings constitute a “best practice,” because we practice our best behavior when gathered for moments of mutual reflection and celebration.