The first staff forum of the spring semester took place on March 10. President Pelton started off by welcoming recent new hires to the community. Next, he talked about the ad hoc task force that convened last fall, whose charge was to analyze the financial costs, benefits, risks, and options for the College associated with the future of the Colonial Theatre and the need for dining hall facilities when the Little Building is offline during renovations beginning in spring 2017.
To provide transparency and engagement with Emerson and broader communities, the work of the task force was divided into three sub-groups:
- Programming partnerships, lease, and other arrangements related to reanimating the Theatre
- Repairs and renovations to the Colonial physical plant
- Options related to Emerson student dining, social space, and retail space along the Boylston Street corridor
As was announced on March 3, the Trustees approved a plan for the creation of a new dining facility at 122-124 Boylston Street and 19 Boylston Place. The task force will now focus on a number of proposals, both solicited and unsolicited, for the future use of the Colonial Theatre.
Pelton then turned it over to Art Mombourquette (Administration and Finance), who gave a presentation on the new dining facility. Using various architect renderings, Mombourquette showed the layout of the dining facility. Two levels of seating at 122-124 Boylston Street will seat 270 diners and one level of seating at 19 Boylston Place will seat 278 diners. The facility will feature flexible seating arrangements and an open kitchen.
The next portion of the forum consisted of a brainstorming session led by Sylvia Spears (Diversity and Inclusion). Spears noted that results of the Emerson360: Community Climate Survey indicated that current existing mechanisms for communication between and among staff and between senior administrators and staff could be enhanced. Attendees were asked to brainstorm with their tablemates on the topic of increasing the effectiveness of the staff forums. Questions to be answered included “What works well at the staff forums?” and “What would you like to see more/less of at the forums?”
After spending about 15 minutes in discussion, a number of staff shared their answers with the crowd. Spears had asked everyone to write down their responses so she could collect them at the end. She will be compiling the responses and will share staff recommendations with President Pelton and members of the President’s Council. It is anticipated that the staff forum will be shaped to best address the needs and interests of staff.
The forum ended with a brief open discussion during which staff asked for an update on the appreciation and recognition program (the appreciation and recognition committee is submitting an initial update to the vice president for diversity and inclusion at the end of March).
We hope you can join us at the final staff forum of the academic year on May 10, 2:00–4:00 pm, in the Bordy Theater.
Nancy Howell (Creative Services)