Pilot: Monday, February 24
Attendance: 12 chairs/directors, Kate Willink


In the spirit of providing a confidential and collaborative way for department chairs and academic directors across all DU academic units to share and address common challenges the Chair Advisory Board, in coordination with Kate Willink, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, piloted the Peer to Peer Solution Seeking Clinic (P2PSSC) on February 24, 2020. Invites were sent to all chairs/directors. Those who RSVP’d were asked to complete a pre-clinic survey. In the pre-clinic survey chairs and directors were prompted to identify specific challenges they were grappling with. Challenges overwhelmingly centered on managing conflict and accountability issues with faculty. During the P2PSSC participants were divided into two groups. The groups collaboratively chose a challenge from the list of challenges presented in the pre-clinic survey and then together worked to present solutions to each other through a structured consultative process. Qualitative data were gathered at the end of the P2PSSC related to success of the format and feedback to steer the direction of future clinics. Additional quantitative and qualitative data were gathered through a post-clinic survey.


Prior to the clinic, as reported in the pre-clinic survey, 100% of participants had attempted to take action on their specific challenge, and about 50% of the participants indicated feeling stuck as to what additional solutions were available to them. Through responses in the follow-up survey, 88% of the participants felt the clinic validated the actions they had already taken to address the challenge, and 64% of the participants felt better prepared and more likely to take action on their challenge as a result of the clinic. When responding to the question prompting feedback on ways the peer discussion was helpful, overwhelmingly participants indicated that getting together as a community of chairs/directors to share and problem-solve was helpful and beneficial. As one participant stated, “I think we are too isolated. Building community is what is most valuable here.”

Next Steps:

A second P2PSSC is currently planned on April 28 from 4 – 6pm. It will be held via Zoom and will follow a somewhat similar format as the pilot but using breakout rooms for the groups to discuss challenges and then share out with others. We are considering whether to structure it around one common theme, e.g., how we are all adapting to expansive online learning, or to invite diverse challenges for consideration.

P2PSSC provides an opportunity for department chairs and directors to identify problems they are facing, and to collaborate with others in finding solutions. Using a consultatory model, small groups identify challenges for other groups to consider and provide suggestions for resolution. Participants may bring problems for discussion, but this is not required to participate. Given our current situation, many of us are dealing with challenges that are new or unexpected — our goal is to leverage the collective wisdom of current chairs and directors in finding solutions.

Zoom: https://udenver.zoom.us/j/575309869

Please RSVP no later than April 24th.