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Facilitator Considerations

Many years ago I worked with some of the most talented and aspiring educators and researchers formerly of an R&D and services organization. One of the many things I learned is the importance of a highly effective facilitator.

Given that educators (and other professionals as well) use committees as a vehicle to accomplish organizational goals, it’s important that there be a facilitator to help ensure that these committee meetings are highly productive.

When choosing a facilitator, consider an individual who:
- Is willing to serve and to devote the time and energy necessary for the committee to meet its goals and objectives.
- Is respected by committee members as a passionate educator with a student-centered approach (or a very promising educator in the case of newer faculty or staff members).
- Is considered capable of representing the committee at other organization meetings by accurately articulating the committee’s status, goals, objectives, and focus.
- Has the skill to conduct the meetings in a timely manner, stick to the written agenda, facilitate “buy-in/ownership” from other committee members, and reach consensus when there are differences of opinion.
- Understands (or is willing to learn about) new strategies for improving organizational and/or student outcomes and can explain it to the committee and guide it through an inquiry process.
- Has a positive attitude in general and does not dwell on the negative.
- Has the skill to keep committee meetings from drifting off focus to “gripe” sessions.
(Source: Modified Getting Results handout)

Feel free to incorporate the above as a checklist when considering a facilitator and modify the list for your context. Also, consider my other tips for conducting highly productive meetings.

Lastly, when you think about it, the facilitator “check list” is a tool educational leaders in general could consider using to ask themselves, “Do I effectively implement these suggestions?”

(A. Solano)

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