Global Health Nexus, Summer 2003

Administrators and Staff Retreats: A New Tradition Takes Root

Wouldn’t it be nice if NYU Dentistry patients were always welcomed with a smile whenever they visited our clinics? This was one of the suggestions made at NYU Dentistry’s first annual Staff Retreat, which drew 71 people to Hilton Woodcliff Lake in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, on March 11. Two days later, 43 administrators gathered for their second annual retreat at the Harrison Conference Center in Glen Cove, Long Island. At both sites a professional facilitator encouraged participants to imagine creative ways to defuse tense situations, such as an encounter with an argumentative patient.

“We had fun letting our imaginations run wild,” said Alecia Lewis Dore, a participating staff member.

Networking and problem-solving issues topped the agenda at the Administrators Retreat, where the focus was on new ways to foster a sense of community among the College’s 146 administrators. One idea was to create a listserve, or e-mail network, on which administrators could pose questions and get advice on issues of concern from a broad cross-section of their peers.

“We wanted both staff and administrators to have their own getaway to allow them to build team spirit and brainstorm solutions to problems,” said Tracy E. Kamens, Director of the Faculty & Staff Development Center, who organized both events. “Because taking people out of their everyday environment gives them a fresh perspective,” Ms. Kamens said, “I expect the staff and administrator retreats to deliver many more good ideas in the years to come.”