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Leading Deeper Change in Higher Education Workshop 2019
August 8, 2019 @ 1:00 pm - August 9, 2019 @ 4:30 pm EDT
While there’s lots of progress to report, the reality is that many organizations, academic and otherwise, aren’t advancing fast enough to meet their sustainability goals. Functioning more sustainably may be considered a priority, but isn’t generally perceived to be essential to an organization’s success. It’s no wonder sustainability programs are typically given a mandate that isn’t intended to deeply affect how the organization functions. Instead, such mandates tend to focus mainly on implementing projects that generate incremental improvements across the triple-bottom-line. Leading a sustainability program with limited power or influence can feel like a slog but it doesn’t have to be. Sustainability leaders can accelerate progress by focusing their efforts on generating greater cross-organizational value, building influence and establishing the political will needed to expand the mandate of and investment in their sustainability program.
During this 1.5 day workshop, participants will be introduced to REFOCUS: a leadership development program designed to enable practitioners to generate deep organizational change and establish sustainability as a strategic priority. The workshop is designed to highlight and make sense of the very broad set of topics and disciplines that are relevant for leading a transformational sustainability program. Specifically, this workshop experience will:
- Familiarize you with the anatomy of a transformational sustainability program.
- Allow you to assess how well each aspect of how your sustainability program has been developed and is performing.
- Help you understand how to balance building new capabilities and generating systemic change, while consistently making the measurable improvements that are expected.
- Provide you with access to the REFOCUS online platform featuring a comprehensive guidebook and e-library with hundreds of resources that support deeper learning and application.
- Make you eligible to participate in an elongated and guided peer learning program designed to help you apply REFOCUS within your organization; participants who successfully fulfill all program participation expectations will earn a REFOCUS Applied Professional Certificate of Completion.
Attend a webinar on May 29 to learn more about the program and hear from several attendees of last year’s event who participated in a 5-month long, guided program focused on applying the method.
Dates: August 8 (afternoon only) & August 9, 2019. The program starts at 1 p.m. on the 8th and will end at 4:30 p.m. on the 9h. All participants are asked to be present for the duration of the event.
Location: University of Illinois at Chicago
Registration Fee: $450 (AASHE members), $550 (AASHE non-members) – Includes programming and meals (breakfast and lunch on August 9th with light snacks on both dates)
- To ensure a good fit between the workshop and attendees, a short on-line application is required.
- Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Review of applications will begin on June 17, 2019, and continue until space is filled; early application is recommended.
- Workshops are limited to approximately 30 participants.
- Accepted participants will need to register to confirm their participation.
Who Should Participate
Whether an institution’s sustainability journey is just getting started, has made limited progress, is in full swing or leading the way, the workshop experience and REFOCUS method has proven to deliver a powerful point of reflection and approach to taking efforts to the next level. The workshop is ideally suited to individuals leading a sustainability program on behalf of their institution. Others with an interest in the overall management and development of the sustainability program are also encouraged to participate. Because the workshop addresses sustainability from an organizational and leadership perspective, it is even more powerful when coworkers who have a relationship to the sustainability program accompany their sustainability program lead.
At the conclusion of the workshop, participants should be able to:
- Identify why conventional sustainability approaches and methods generate incremental results.
- Distinguish the value executive leadership actually expects the sustainability program to generate in contrast to what the program’s mission/mandate officially states.
- Contextualize their organization as a complex system and its role within a larger and more complex system.
- Understand what is involved in engaging, empowering and collaboratively leading others to unleash collective potential.
- Recognize the key management levers that accelerate progress towards greater sustainability outcomes.
What others have said
A professor can be an expert in their discipline, but if they can’t teach, their class will struggle. The same is true of a sustainability professional who does not know how to lead a successful program. REFOCUS provided me the support I was looking for as a professional to think strategically and honestly about my program and ways to improve our success. With their framework and guidance, I left with a long-term perspective and an agenda of next-day tasks that guaranteed I would take the first steps. The peer institution engagement within the program added a sounding board that is hard to find in our often single-FTE profession. I would recommend this program to any AASHE member who feels project-fatigue and wants to see their actions leading to systemic change at their university.
Calandra Waters-Lake – Director of Sustainability, William & Mary University
REFOCUS aims to elevate sustainability within an organization by showing its inherent value to achieving the organizational mission. The framework helps leaders to smartly balance adopting typical sustainability projects with projects that build new capabilities and can increase the importance the organization places on sustainability over time. The experience gives you the opportunity to look at leading a sustainability program from another perspective as part of optimizing and better communicating the value you bring to the organization. It helps set priorities and how to gain support from supervisors and campus leadership. It provides new insight and tools for reporting progress that are complementary to STARS and help make it more palatable.
Cynthia Klein-Banai – Associate Chancellor for Sustainability, University of Illinois at Chicago
The REFOCUS workshop balances practical prioritization and strategy skills with a vision that pushes sustainability beyond the status quo. The opportunity to learn in a small-group environment with a community of peers allows for thoughtful and informative discussion.
Amy Spark – Sustainability Coordinator, Bow Valley College
REFOCUS is a non-profit co-operative that partners with NGOs and educational institutions to deliver an innovative methodology and intensive programming to sustainability leaders. Founded on the principle that sustainability offers a more complete management lens with the potential to significantly advance how well organizations perform, REFOCUS uniquely delivers a complete roadmap for overcoming organizational barriers and operationalizing a transformational sustainability program. Rather than simply depicting an ideal end state, REFOCUS provides a flexible, iterative and self-reflective process for advancing a sustainability program over years, regardless of an organization’s core focus or current sustainability.
About the Facilitators
Randy Sa’d is the Founder and Executive Director of REFOCUS, a not-for-profit co-operative with a proprietary methodology and educational program that enables leaders to develop transformational sustainability programs. As a career management consultant, Randy has worked with large multi-national and boutique firms. For more than ten years, he has led a sustainability-focused, independent management consulting practice, advising a range of private, institutional and not-for-profit clients. Randy’s unique perspective on organizational sustainability has made him a sought-after facilitator and lecturer, having engaged with dozens of professional and academic audiences across North America and Europe. Randy graduated from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree, where he later served for nearly a decade as Chair of the School’s Alumni Association.
As an academic Antony Upward is an adjunct Professor, Faculty of Design, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada, and an Adjunct Professor in the Business Model Innovation group in the Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning, Halmstad University, Sweden. He is the co-founder of the Strongly Sustainable Business Model Group – a global community of practice that is evolving to becoming the planetary-wide Flourishing Enterprise Institute. As a practitioner Antony is a certified management consultant and Flourishing Enterprise Designer.
Through his research and practice Antony originated the a fit-for-the-21st Century business modelling tool, the Flourishing Business Canvas. This is now being used by over 180 organizations around the world, including two startups he co-founded Lean for Flourishing Startups and Better My Business, both of which are Certified Benefit Corporations®.
Antony holds a Masters of Environmental Studies in Business Model Design and Sustainability and a Graduate Diploma in Business and the Environment. He also has a number of increasingly well cited papers about his research and practice.
How will I get there?
Located in the heart of one of the world’s great cities, the University of Illinois at Chicago is a vital part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of the region. As Chicago’s only public research university with 30,000 students, 15 colleges, a hospital and a health sciences system, UIC provides access to excellence and opportunity. View directions to the campus.
Where do I stay?
UIC is located just southwest of the Loop (downtown). We have a block of hotels reserved at the Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown for $149/night for August 8-10 (call 1-312-957-9100 and ask for REFOCUS Workshop rate). This block will be available to reserve May 29-July 12. The Chicago Marriott at Medical District/UIC is also offering rooms at the discounted rate ofv$239/night. Alternatively, you may book your stay independently. Neighborhoods nearby include Pilsen, Little Italy, and Greektown.
Do I need to rent a car?
No. A variety of options are available to get you to UIC. If you are flying into O’Hare Airport you may take the CTA Blue Line (train) from the airport to the UIC/Halsted Exit (or downtown to your hotel). If you are flying into Midway Airport, you make take the CTA Orange Line (train) to downtown to your hotel. You may also utilize car share or taxis, but note that train travel is often preferable during rush hours (which can be most of the day). There is regular bus service between the hotels and the campus along Harrison Street (buses 7 and 60) or they are a 15-20 minute walk.
Getting to know the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
UIC is recognized as a leader in sustainability in the greater Chicago area. UIC is an AASHE STARS Silver campus. In 2018, we were proud to receive the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School Post Secondary Award and the 2019 Illinois Green Alliance Emerald Award for Intent to Matter Organizational Leadership. UIC’s Office of Sustainability was founded in 2008 and has successfully led sustainability initiatives on campus. UIC has four Climate Commitments and a Climate Action Implementation Plan to achieve them.
To showcase our campus sustainability features, we will be offering a tour of the UIC campus to all conference participants that will focus on sustainability.
Any questions about the workshop?
Please contact Daita Serghi.