The Penn State University Sheild
open the search bar
Open the menu

College of Arts and Architecture Retreats in Style

Printer-friendly version Share
staff retreat photo

On Thursday, May 14, the staff of the College of Arts and Architecture celebrated their annual retreat. Staff members gathered for breakfast at the Palmer Museum of Art to kick off a day of festivities dedicated to what makes the college so unique – the artistic talents and interests of its faculty and staff. The retreat planning committee organized a day of fun, arts-related activities for the approximately sixty participants, including tap dancing, Japanese water painting, an acting course, art history lectures, and ceramics making.

Dean Barbara Korner welcomed everyone in attendance, thanking them for their hard work this academic year and calling attention to several staff members who had recently received excellence awards for their service. She also recognized the faculty members who stayed on campus an extra week to facilitate and lead the retreat activities in their areas of study. 

“It's a team effort,” said Cori Donaghy, chair of the retreat council. “Our faculty and graduate student colleagues volunteered to facilitate the activities for the day. This format doesn't work with out their participation.”

There were also staff members, outside of the council, who worked to help plan and enhance the day. Rich Hall, the Palmer Museum of Art's senior preparatory, taught a course on matting and framing; Zane Sensenig, Multimedia Specialist, oversaw the registration web site, where participants could choose their activities; Mike Palmer, Media Specialist, helped create the graphic for the site; and Stephanie Swindle, Public Relations Specialist, provided live music during the luncheon at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Staff members carried around their creations from session to session, one with tap shoes hanging around her neck and another carrying a white pine sapling – a free party favor from the luncheon.

“This is a great event!” said a staff member. “It’s nothing like any other retreat I’ve ever been to. At my old job, we had a picnic – that was it! Here, we get to learn about what people do and make things!” 

“People can make of the day what they want, and I think that ability to personalize it in a way sets this apart from other things that are typically done,” added Donaghy, who spent the day taking photographs of the events. “As I was going from activity to activity, I saw evidence of people really enjoying themselves. In general all of the staff members were fully participating in the activities – truly paying attention to the lessons, concentrating on their artwork, and following along with instructions – and smiling, laughing, and joking with each other along the way. It was great! That, to me, is the true indication of success.”

Signs posted in the windows of department offices reminded visitors that the offices were closed so that staff could participate in the retreat. While the retreat staff council did not formally ask departments to do this, it was something that they did on their own. 

“It was so nice to see that there was such support for the day's activities from department heads and supervisors,” noted Donaghy.

To view a photo gallery of the College of Arts and Architecture staff retreat, visit: