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Essential Partners Listening Sessions

Phase two: March 2022 update

After our on-campus visit in December, Essential Partners, with the help of the Forward Together Task Force, assembled a planning team that consists of the following members:

  • Chuck Dunn 
  • Denise Farag '88 
  • Chaylene Grover ’22
  • Debbie Harmon Ferry '90 
  • Garry Killgore
  • Erika Marksbury
  • Patrice O’Donovan
  • Bahram Refaei '84 
  • Mindy Zeitzer

Over the last two months, the planning team has met with the Essential Partners team (Meg Griffiths, Raye Rawl, and Cara Cargill) three times to co-design a process for the listening sessions. As a reminder, the purpose of the listening sessions are to:

  • Continue to build trust in the process, the leadership, and the EP team
  • Better understand the current context and barriers to moving forward, in order to identify shifts and processes that will support healing, understanding, and positive change
  • Determine next-step interventions that reflect the hopes and concerns of the community

In our contract, Essential Partners and Linfield University agreed to the following scope:

We will offer 35 stakeholders the opportunity for a 1-1 conversation (45-minutes) with one of the EP consultants and offer up to 100 stakeholders the chance to join a small facilitated listening session (75-90 mins), facilitated by EP consultants. We will also offer a survey or other asynchronous and/or anonymous opportunities for feedback.

Guided by the recommendations of the planning team, we have arrived at the following process and timeline for the mapping and listening process.

Three ways to participate:

Anonymous survey

All members of the Linfield community are invited to submit your comments via an online survey, which will go out on Friday, March 4 and be open until the end of March. These questions will be very similar to the questions we will be asking in the one-on-one and small group listening sessions. You can respond to the survey anonymously, or if you'd prefer, you can submit your name.

One-on-one interviews 

A little over half of the 35 spots will be made available for members of the community to sign up on a first come, first serve basis. The link to request a spot will go out twice, at 7:45 a.m. PST and 12:15 p.m. PST on Friday, March 4. If you would like to request a meeting with the EP consultants, please look for those emails and complete the form.

The remaining spots (no more than 17) will be invitation-only and people will be contacted shortly after the open call sign-ups. The list of invitees was developed by the planning team, in consultation with EP, and represents a mix of roles and experiences within the University. These invitations will go out after the open-call sign ups, to ensure that there is a balance of students, staff, administrators, and faculty from across campuses represented.

Small group listening sessions 

Most of the small group listening sessions will be organized by stakeholder groups, with the following breakdown:

  • Two groups for students
  • Two groups for faculty
  • Three groups for staff
    • One of these groups will be reserved for staff who do not have easy access to a computer during the workday. Sign-ups will be handled offline by a planning team member.
  • Two to three mixed groups

Sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can join one of the small groups by signing up here. The sign-up process will be transparent, meaning that everyone can see who has signed up for each group. This allows people to make an educated decision about their comfort level in joining a particular group.

Access and privacy 

All listening sessions will be held virtually, either via Zoom or phone. These listening sessions are considered important work for the university and can be done on work time. Hourly employees wishing to participate should work with their supervisors to find a time that does not disrupt work, but the employees do not need to take PTO in order to participate. If you need support in finding a quiet or private space to join a session, please reach out to Debbie Harmon Ferry to assist you in reserving space on campus. If you need support accessing a computer or using technology, please reach out to Bahram Refaei.

April 2022 update

Essential Partners facilitated a university-wide listening process between March 4 and April 7. We provided several ways for Linfield community members to participate, including an anonymous survey, one-on-one interviews and small group listening sessions in mixed and constituent groups.

We received a total of 73 responses to the anonymous survey, interviewed 38 people in one-on-one conversations and facilitated small group discussions with nine people. In the one-on-one or group listening sessions, we spoke with 22 administrators and staff members (including executive-level administrators, mid-level managers, employees, facilities staff, etc.), 22 faculty members (a large majority from CAS), two students and one trustee.

Overall, we heard from a range of people representing a wide variety of roles, perspectives and experiences within the institution. The diversity of viewpoints expressed was helpful in gaining a more complex picture of Linfield than is commonly spoken about or portrayed, either internally or externally.

We want to thank everyone who chose to participate in this process. We are deeply grateful for the time and honesty offered, which has helped shape our understanding of the hopes and challenges of Linfield.

Our team is now making meaning of what we heard and what we have read via documents from the Forward Together Task Force and others. We are drafting our report, which will be shared with the entire Linfield community in the coming weeks.

May 2022 update

Essential Partners has completed their university-wide listening process and their final report is now accessible. The purpose of this document is to clearly articulate the strengths, concerns, hopes of the community and to offer a range of recommendations for moving forward.

The Essential Partners team will be available for brief remarks and questions at the Staff Assembly meeting on May 6 and the Faculty Collegium on May 9.