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Conferences and Workshops
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Strategies to Build Collaboration & Cultures of Inquiry: A Workshop for Deans & Department Chairs
Dr. Karen E. Watkins, University of Georgia

Friday, January 20, 2012
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Hotel Monaco
Chicago, IL

Not all deans and department chairs have had formal leadership training.  Research shows that successful school leaders identify, articulate, and inspire others with a vision of the future. They foster work toward common goals; convey high performance expectations; and set examples consistent with espoused values. Leaders challenge staff to re-examine and rethink their work. They assist in creating shared norms, values and beliefs that prioritize student needs and teacher respect. Effective leaders ask for input and practice collaborative decision-making. Deans and department chairs can use these leadership strategies to become effective leaders at any level.
Underlying many of these successful practices are skills in building collaborative learning environments and cultures of inquiry — within leadership teams and in support of teacher learning communities. 
This workshop will sharpen insights and skills — listening, reflecting, questioning, identifying assumptions, reframing — that leaders can use in their schools to foster collaborative learning environments and cultures of inquiry. Deans and Department Chairs will:
  • Identify models, examples, and key practices for collaborative learning environments and cultures of inquiry
  • Learn and practice tools to develop inquiry skills — e.g. listening, reflecting, questioning, identifying assumptions, reframing
  • Use a structured protocol, Action Learning Conversations, in peer learning groups to gain insight into an authentic leadership challenge while simultaneously building collaborative learning and inquiry skills 
  • Assess learning culture dynamics in one’s own school / department
  • Develop action plans for building collaborative learning environments and cultures of inquiry in one’s own school / department
 Take-aways from this workshop include:
  • Skills for building collaborative learning environments and cultures of inquiry
  • Tools and practices for listening, reflecting, questioning, identifying assumptions and reframing
  • Experience using a structured protocol to solve authentic leadership challenges
  • Guidelines for using Action Learning Conversations with leadership teams and teacher learning communities
  • Collaborative learning culture assessment tools
Dr. Karen E. Watkins is currently a Professor of Lifelong Education, Administration and Policy at The University of Georgia. Previous roles at UGA included serving as the Associate Dean for Research and External Affairs, the Director of the School for Leadership and Lifelong Learning, and founding Director of the Program in Human Resource & Organization Development. Previous experiences include teaching at the secondary level and work in faculty and organizational development at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development at The University of Texas at Austin where she was also an Associate Professor of Educational Administration. 

Dr. Watkins holds a Ph. D. from The University of Texas at Austin in Educational Administration and is the author or co-author of over 100 articles and chapters, and 6 books, 4 of which were written with Victoria Marsick of Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Her books include Facilitating Learning Organizations: Making Learning Count, In Action: Creating the Learning Organization, Sculpting the Learning Organization: Lessons in the Art and Science of Systemic Change, Informal and Incidental Learning in the Workplace, Facilitating Learning in the Workplace, and The Emerging Power of Action Inquiry Technologies. Watkins and Marsick developed and validated the organizational survey, Dimensions of the Learning Organization Questionnaire which has been used in over 70 published studies throughout the world, translated into more than 8 languages, and adapted for use in profit, non-profit, business, government, military, and educational settings. 
In 1999, Dr. Watkins was voted Scholar of the Year by the Academy of Human Resource Development and was named a distinguished graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Community College Leadership Program in 2001.  She is currently a partner in Partners for the Learning Organization,
The workshop will take place in Chicago at the Hotel Monaco, 225 North Wabash on the Third Floor. 
The Hotel Monaco, Chicago is a four star luxury hotel and part of the collection of Kimpton Hotels. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Hotel Monaco is in the Loop business district and just steps from North Michigan Avenue shopping and the popular Millennium Park. A former hat factory on the banks of the Chicago River, the transformed Hotel Monaco draws guests in and surrounds them with all manner of stimulations once inside. Complimentary highlights of the Hotel Monaco include: a 24-hour fitness center, pet friendly policies, and complimentary coffee and tea and evening wine reception in the living room. Guests must join the Kimpton InTouch program to receive wireless internet access in guest rooms and common areas.
For more details on the Hotel Monaco, visit
Click here for directions to the Hotel Monaco.
Hotel Reservations
ISACS has secured a special discounted room of $139/night plus tax single or double occupancy at the Hotel Monaco. To make a reservation, please call 1-800-KIMPTON and use Group Code: "ISACS Collaboration". To make a reservation on line, click here. Special discounted room rates have been extended and are available until Monday, January 9, 2012. 
Parking at the Hotel Monaco is $27 (valet) for 4 hours - midnight and $48 (valet) for overnight parking until 2pm the following day. There are several lots within a few blocks of the hotel that may offer less expensive daily parking.
Registration Fee
$190 Member Fee
$240 Non Member Fee
First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $28 discount
Workshop includes lunch 
Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 
Questions? Please call 312-255-1244.

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $240


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