Department Chairs Workshop, Portland, Oregon, USA

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) organized a workshop for department Chairs and Heads of Division of member colleges in Portland, Oregon, from 13-15 June 2016. The theme of the workshop was “The Joys and Challenges of Leading from the Middle.” The DoubleTree hotel by Hilton was the venue for the workshop. As Chair of Hope College’s English department, I participated in the almost week’s long intensive training.

I got to meet colleagues from all over the States, engaged in discussions relating to administration, and created networks for future collaboration and support. I got to lead sessions on the curriculum, budgeting, and faculty development.

Two of the most important sessions were institutional policies especially those relating to hiring and faculty evaluation, and having difficult conversations with colleagues. The workshop was very well organized, speakers were well prepared, and sessions were informative and instructive.

This was my first trip to the north west of the USA. Portland is green, luxuriant, and cool. With its rainy weather, hilly topography, and beautiful landscape it reminded me so much of my native Sierra Leone. The pace is slow, the people are friendly, the streets are clean, and (yes) the food is great. I spent time exploring the streets of Portland at the end of every working day, admiring the breathtaking landscape and searching for every oriental and caribbean/African restaurant I can find.

I was sad to say good bye to Portland at the end of the workshop. I know that it was not only a time well spent, but that part of me will always remain in Portland if only because of the memories of Sierra Leone it brought to me.

Here are a few pics from the workshop:IMG_3329 IMG_3330 IMG_3335 IMG_3338 IMG_3339

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