Summaries of Meetings

The Listen & Learn Steering Committee was formed to give oversight and design leadership to the “Listen & Learn” process and to serve as a depository for collecting and interpreting responses on behalf of the Board of Directors.

Listen & Learn Steering Committee meetings:

Summary of October 27, 2010 meeting

The first meeting of the Listen and Learn Steering Committee took place on October 27, 2010. Jim Brenneman, Goshen College President, welcomed the group and explained the group’s mandate from the Goshen Board of Directors – to listen to various perspectives on the anthem issue and to report back to the Board. Larissa Fast, the group’s facilitator, led the group in a process of introductions and expectations for the group. Seven of the SC members were present, while five were not able to attend. The main items for discussion were to talk about the tasks of the working group and the draft set of questions for the comprehensive alumni survey, which includes questions directly related to the decision to play the anthem. The five primary tasks of the SC include: (1) E-survey review prior to dissemination; (2) Assess e-survey results; (3) Review and respond to the reports from the regional alumni gatherings; (4) Provide direction for the on-campus spring opportunities for dialogue about the anthem; and (5) Summarize/synthesize feedback in a report to the GC Board in advance of June 2011. The group provided feedback and changes to the survey questions, to be incorporated into the survey. In addition, Larissa Fast solicited feedback from the missing SC members about the survey questions individually. The group agreed to meet next on December 7.

Summary of December 7, 2010 meeting

The second meeting of the Listen and Learn Steering Committee was held on December 7, 2010. Eleven members were present and one was unable to attend. Larissa Fast led the discussion. The group spent some time reviewing the e-survey data response reports, prepared by Scott Barge. Scott joined the group by phone to clarify and answer questions related to his preliminary reports. The group agreed to do the following as next steps: 1) Prepare an executive summary of the quantitative data from the survey; 2) Evaluate the themes found in the qualitative data; and 3) Engage current Goshen College students in the process by giving them the opportunity to respond to the “Listen and Learn” component of the e-survey.

The second half of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of the overall process. Larissa presented some concerns she had heard from some faculty, staff and students about the Listen and Learn process. These concerns were discussed and a plan of action was agreed upon. As part of the plan the Steering Committee will announce its membership and ensure that the campus receives updates on the work of the Steering Committee, via the anthem website and other on-campus communication mechanisms. The committee brainstormed some options to create further conversation on campus regarding the anthem decision and will continue the conversation at its next meeting. Bill Born gave us an update on the regional gatherings that are scheduled as part of the Listen and Learn process.

The next meeting will be Monday, January 24, from 1-4 pm.

Summary of January 24, 2011 meeting

The third meeting of the Listen and Learn Steering Committee was held on January 24, 2011. Eleven members were present. Larissa Fast led the discussion.

Krysten and Kathy presented the group with a written report, as well as a verbal summary of their observations from the qualitative data. Robert, Joe and David presented written and verbal summaries of their findings from the quantitative data. The group spent time discussing both sets of information and identifying details that need further clarification. There was also discussion regarding the presentation to the Board of Directors at the February meeting. It was agreed that Kathy, Joe and Robert will represent the Steering Committee at the meeting. Scott Barge will also be present.

Bill presented an update on the format of the Alumni gatherings and the group provided feedback. Some time was also spent discussing opportunities for further on-campus dialogue about the national anthem and ways to include students, faculty and staff in these. Bernie Mayer joined the group by phone for part of this conversation.

Summary of Meeting, February 4, 2011

The Listen and Learn Steering Committee met on February 4th, 2011 for three hours. The group received an update on the Listen and Learn web link on the college’s National Anthem webpage, which, when finished, will be one mechanism to keep the Goshen College community updated on the Listen and Learn process. The committee discussed upcoming opportunities for on-campus dialogue regarding the anthem decision and began making plans for five separate events that will provide an opportunity for the committee to listen to the campus community’s perspectives about the anthem decision while encouraging and guiding discussion amongst students, faculty, and staff. The committee then worked at finalizing the preliminary report on findings from the alumni, faculty/staff, and student surveys for the February 11th, 2011 meeting of the Board of Directors. The committee deliberated the presentation format of the reports on the qualitative and quantitative data, as well as the wording of an introductory summary.

The Listen and Learn Steering Committee will meet again on February 23rd, 2011.

Summary of Feb. 23, 2011 meeting

The Steering Committee met for three hours, with ten members attending. Much of the discussion at this meeting revolved around the data from the survey and ways to communicate the data. The Committee agreed that some information from the overall process, such as the general results from the survey, should be shared before the Board decision in June, but the decision about and timing of the release of information is up to the Board. There was discussion about when and how to communicate the information.

Plans for the March 2 and March 9 campus conversations with students and administrative faculty and staff were discussed and a plan of action agreed upon. The group shared and discussed observations and themes from the Feb. 17 event with the teaching faculty.

The big issue: How to present the wealth and breadth of Listen and Learn information gathered in a format usable for future use by the college, in areas such as its vision and core values development.

Summary of March 9, 2011 meeting

Nine members of the Steering Committee met for three hours on the afternoon of March 9. The committee discussed and identified next steps for both the campus and the board. The committee reviewed already scheduled dates and discussed their feasibility. Due to the significant participation from the student body at the March 9 convocation, the group decided to cancel the March 22 student dining room discussion. The committee will be holding an open (mixed group – open to all faculty, staff, students) conversation on March 30 at 10 a.m. to provide an update on what we have heard. This date is subject to change, depending on other events on the campus calendar. Our committee has been asked to begin work on a preliminary report for a Board of Directors meeting in early May. Our report should provide summary information from: the survey, alumni gatherings, and on campus listen and learn events. Sub-committees were formed to begin report presentation to be reviewed at their next meeting. The Steering Committee is charged with sharing what we have heard but will not make any recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the March 30 open event will instead occur on April 13.

Summary of March 30, 2011 meeting

The Listen and Learn committee met on March 30 for three hours. All members were present.

The group discussed the preliminary report for the board. As part of that discussion, each sub-committee reported on the area it had worked on since the last meeting. There were graphs available depicting aggregate data from the survey. A general format for the report was agreed upon.

The group spent some time planning the next on-campus gathering scheduled for April 13. At that meeting, topics of tension/agreement regarding the national anthem will be presented. That will be followed by table discussions centered on specific questions regarding these. The topics identified for discussion were: hospitality, core values, and institutional identity.

Our next meeting will take place on May 6 from 2-5 p.m. The report to the Board will be finalized at that time.

Summary of May 6, 2011 meeting

The steering committee reviewed the report to be submitted to the Goshen College Board of Directors. The report includes the data from the electronic survey, all of the alumni gatherings and the campus gatherings. Committee members brought edits to the group after a careful reading. We noted areas that are outside the purview of this committee but that the committee deems important in the life of the institution. The committee also noted the important role of the decisions about how to “move forward,” particularly for those on campus, after a decision is made. The Board will decide at the May 10 meeting if they need more information or analysis of the data from the Steering Committee.