“Kairos Place” by Cyndi & Lily Gusler, Kairos Place 2010 participants, Oil & acrylic on canvas 36”x48”
A timely space for faculty, staff, and graduate students to work on their independent or group research, writing, and creative projects
May 19-23, 2014 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. in Sadie Hartzler Library
Kairos Place is sponsored by the Writing Program and the Provost’s office and endorsed by ACRS-Anabaptist Center and VACA.
During the third and fourth weeks in May, after our students have left campus, before your children are finished with the school year, and before you are off to bask in the summer breezes, we invite you to a week-long retreat to give you the time and space you long for to work on your research, writing, and creative projects. These may include, but are not limited to, a variety of creative pieces, articles, conference presentations, book chapters, dissertations, and book prospectuses.
The retreat will be facilitated by the Writing Program director along with ACRS members as resource persons.
We will reserve space in the library so that you may work in your private space, or so that you may work in collaboration with others, or so that you may have a large space to spread out your materials. Space will also be reserved for impromptu peer review workshops among faculty and resource persons.
Each day, our format will be simple: We will meet each morning at 9:00 a.m. and work until lunch. Coffee breaks will be available. You will receive a complimentary meal ticket to the caf, we’ll socialize at lunch, and then it’s back to working until 4:45 p.m. At this time, we will reflect on our work together, leaving at 5:00 p.m. This is the schedule we’ll follow except for the first day, Monday, when we’ll spend 15-20 min. together at the start of the day to hear about our work projects, and then on Friday, we’ll end an hour early so that we can celebrate together and describe our week’s work. This is not the time for structured programming or writing activities. This is your time for your self-directed projects and for you to declare your home a work-free zone.
A semester or two after this retreat, I may follow up with an email to survey the faculty who participated. What came of your work that you produced at the retreat? What have you accomplished since then? What has been the longest-lasting effect of this time on your work?
According to Ellen Schendel (2010) at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, a retreat such as this is highly successful because it offers “the experience of writing in the presence of others; easy availability of feedback; discussion; and other writing support as needed by individual writers and time for sustained, focused [work] free of the distractions that abound at home or in the office” (The Writing Lab Newsletter p. 2).
This idea stems from the desire to provide a way for faculty and staff to maintain their scholarly lives. The retreat not only provides the space to work on projects, but it provides resource persons, resource materials available in the ASC, and other colleagues with whom to discuss, read, critique one’s work . Our aim is to provide a supportive work environment for a community of faculty, coming together around our work.