Skip to content

Retreat = Advance?

This year marks the 15th annual Teaching and Learning Retreat. Everett Community College has supported this amazing weekend at the beautiful Rosario Beach Marine Science Center at Deception Pass for faculty and staff to come together for a weekend of conversation and community. This structured time is an institutional priority, important to faculty and staff who are overwhelmed with information and by lack of time. The weekend gives us the chance to come together to reflect on the past, do some in the moment reflection, and look to the future.

1: an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable 
2: a place of privacy or safety

Our mission statement says that the annual retreat provides opportunities to share big ideas and best practices by creating meaningful interactions among the campus community. If we look at the first definition of the word retreat (from, it suggests that a retreat is a “withdrawal, especially from what is difficult…” Many of you will agree that the work we do, supporting students on their journey to a successful and meaningful life, is indeed difficult. So let’s look at the second definition of retreat: “a place of privacy or safety.” The Teaching and Learning Retreat is a time and place where ideas, both new and old, can be discussed without fear of push back, a time and place to explore new ways to support our students as well as ourselves, a time and place for powerful experiences, all in a safe environment. In The Slow Professor, the authors Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber write that “when we are rushed, we’re simply not the people we’re capable of being.” The retreat is a time and place for being our best selves. Maybe instead of retreat, we should call it an “advance.”

1. to move or bring forward
2. to bring into consideration or notice; suggest; propose
3. to improve; further

The retreat offers time and space to improve our relationships with our colleagues, to propose new ideas, and to move forward with ideas that we’ve been thinking about but have not had the time to discuss with anyone in a meaningful way. Want to know more about the retreat, and why these colleagues are smiling?