Deciding what session to go to was quite difficult. This one caught my interest because unhappiness is all over Twitter and on several campuses. It is also something I don’t usually see discussed at conferences that we need to learn how to deal with. We have retreats on campus and I sometimes get to suggest professional development ideas so I thought maybe I could apply the lessons from this session in my context.


I love the students … but [insert politics] is a common experience of educators. Every institution has politics. The facilitators discussed how their stories of feeling unhappy because of these politics is reflected in the literature.


Reflection is too often a luxury because of how busy academe is. Reflection is an important part of building on what we have learned. Time for reflection needs to be built into what we do.


Participants shared how much of the professional development available is not targeted to mid-career professionals. I can identify with that. Often workshops on campus are targeted towards people who are just getting started with something.

Why a Retreat?

Learning about what to do to stay engaged and connecting with people from outside of their departments was a motivator for many to attend the retreat. Building relationships with people outside my department is one of the best benefits of engaging in professional development on campus.


The retreat had a mixture of professional development opportunities and fun. Their retreat looks like a lot of fun because people played games, had Yoga, nature walks, family activities, as well as opportunities to relax and social time. Building in social time was a key part of the planning phase for the retreat. It looks a lot like a conference.

All costs, including meals were covered. It takes a lot of work to put an event like this together. Sleep, food and beverages are essential for success.

Find out more at:

Challenges in The Audience

Challenges in the Literature

Workload and satisfaction are major challenges across the literature. These findings are transferable to College contexts as well according to my observations.

Being expected to do more with less.

Strategies to Deal With Challenges

Audience Strategies

  • Email moratorium – Not allowing emails to be sent after 5 pm. This is a hard one because it is hard to actualize in real life.
  • Setting limits and being okay with saying no according to boundaries – Setting days aside and saying no to meetings that are happening on days that are dedicated to a specific task
  • Firm boundaries may be problematic for those that do not feel they have the power to set the same boundaries.
  • Delayed email sending functions would be helpful when managers are emailing faculty outside of work hours. Faculty may feel compelled to respond.
  • How do you decide when to say no is something we may need training on.
  • Learning how to have important conversations about workload with teams is important to improve communication and work relationships.
  • Identify people who are struggling and help them out.
Categories: STLHE2019


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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