It’s the end of an era! Six semesters later, and I am saying goodbye to Spark leadership officially. This program has evolved so much over my time at CMU, and I am excited to see what it will become in the future.
A main goal of mine this year was to focus on how we as co-coordinators train and utilize the facilitators. In the past, we had become very curriculum-focused, which in reflection, meant we spent less time getting to really know our staff and less time appreciating them for the work they do.
Going into the Fall, we made it an effort to ask ourselves the question: “what can we do for the facilitators,” more and more. We ended up redesigning the training sessions to better meet the facilitators where they’re at. Training sessions have evolved from instructional periods to more of a collaborative meeting time. In the past, we would walk our facilitators through each part of the curriculum, step by step. In order to advance our program as a whole, we reworked the training to revolve more around facilitator input.
We made room to spoil our facilitators a little more personally in the Fall, as well. Each of them was given a little surprise at each training session, including their favorite snacks and a clipboard with their favorite quote painted on the back.
Lastly, we refigured the facilitator role entirely. The co-coordinators agreed that Spark was transforming into more of a conference type of program. Facilitators at a conference made little sense to us in the traditional Spark sense, so we reinvented the role to be more autonomous and fluid. The biggest change is that they no longer would receive designated groups. Instead, the curriculum was changed a bit in order to allow facilitators to work with varying groups that form throughout the program.
I believe by doing these things, we not only met our goal of focusing on the facilitators but in turn, evolved the program as a whole into something even better than before.