Tag Archives: inquiry based management

Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW)

Professional development for the seasoned expert and beginner…

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) program is a comprehensive three-tiered teacher and trainer development program that serves as the foundation for several professional development activities  The ISW typically is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators [See Instructional Skills Workshop Facilitator Training].

The ISW is offered within a small group setting and is designed to enhance the classroom effectiveness of both new and experienced teachers or trainers. During the four-day workshop that is facilitated by two ISW Facilitators, approximately five teachers or trainers design and conduct three “mini-lessons” and receive oral, written and video feedback from the participants who have been learners in the mini-lessons. Using an intensive experiential learning approach, participants are provided with information on the theory and practice of teaching or training adult learners, the selection and writing of Intended Learning Outcomes with accompanying lesson plans, techniques for eliciting learner participation, and suggestions for evaluation of learning.

The ISW encourages reflection and examination of one’s teaching/training practices with feedback focused on the learning process rather than on the specific content of the lesson. Effective feedback skills, practiced in the workshop, are useful for classroom teachers or trainers and also as they fulfill their other organizational tasks.

The ISW engenders participatory learning and the building of community that can transfer back into the classroom and the school, college, university, or organizational setting. Participation in an ISW creates an opportunity for new teachers or trainers to learn about the unique culture and value system of the organization and can also be a renewing and revitalizing activity for more seasoned teachers or trainers. Added benefits are a sense of collegiality, team building, self discovery, and learning new approaches to working with others.

Do you have questions regarding our programs, trainings, consulting, or coaching? How may we help you?

Fill out the contact form below (please specify which workshop(s) you are inquiring about so as to provide you with relevant information and materials) and you will receive a response within two (2) business days. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Congratulations to Lane Glenn, the new president of Northern Essex Community College

This is one of those warm and fuzzy stories of success that we just love to share. For those of you in higher education and/or if you have participated in our Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training, you may know Lane Glenn. Lane has been an Expert of Call and AIFT Trainer/Facilitator for years. He is one of those people that truly stands out in a crowd. He is fun, energetic, optimistic and cares about people and helping them find the best in themselves. The kind of person you know will do terrific work in whatever he does and where ever he goes.

With pleasure, we send this public congratulations to Dr. Lane Glenn as the new president of Northern Essex Community College. Lane will be serving NECC after the long tenure of a fine college president David Hartleb, who will retire this coming June.

We welcome you to sign Lane’s virtual “Congratulations Card” via the discussion threads found on the Company of Experts’ Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Keeping your Pets Safe on Halloween

Hallie, Company of Experts' #1 fan, showing off her Halloween costume

Attention all pet owners! Halloween is just around the corner which means strange people wearing costumes, loud noises, lit candles, candy and candy wrappers, in addition to other temptations. While Halloween may be a fun time you and your loved ones, the change in routine, decorations, and smells can often stress out our little furry friends. As avid animal lovers, the Company of Experts’ staff would like to share some tips that can help avoid injury, reduce stress experienced by your pet, and ultimately keep your pets safe.

  1. Noises: Halloween is full of loud noises. Your doorbell is constantly ringing with trick-or-treaters, who are laughing and screaming with excitement, that can frighten your pet. It is suggested that all family pets are kept inside a quiet room within the house, during trick-or-treating hours, where they are insulated from the Halloween commotion. Equip this room with food, water, toys, and a litter box, if applicable. Check in on your pets throughout the night and let them know that everything is fine and reward them for their good behavior.
  2. Walk early: If you have a daily routine of walking your pet, make sure to walk your pet before it gets too dark, and before the trick-or-treaters are out in full force. Some kids may already by trick-or-treating, make sure to keep a firm grip on your pet’s leash as many dogs are frightened by people in costumes.
  3. Strange people in costumes: People of all ages have fun dressing up in costumes, however to your dog or cat, they may not look like people at all. Consequently, your dog or cat may react with fear or aggression if approached by a child or adult in a costume (one more reason to leave your pet home and indoors on Halloween night). Even the friendliest dog can snap at strangers if scared or provoked. Protect everybody’s safety by leaving pets at home. However, if you do decide to take your dog out on Halloween, keep your dog on a shorter-then-normal leash with a firm grip.
  4. Pet Costumes: If you do decide to dress up your pet, make sure its costume is not constricting, annoying, or unsafe. Your pet’s costume should not impede your pet’s ability to move, see, hear, breath, bark or meow. Examine your pet’s costume carefully to make sure it does not have small, dangling, or easily chewed off pieces that your pet can choke on. Have your pet try on their costume before the  big night. If your pet seems distressed, irritated or demonstrates allergic behavior, remove the costume immediately. Do not force your pet to wear a costume if it demonstrates discomfort. Undue stress and discomfort can cause aggression in even the nicest pet.
  5. Trick-NO-Treats: No matter how much your pet begs for a piece of candy, the bowl full of candy is only for trick-or-treaters. Explain to everyone in your home (including children) how dangerous candy, especially chocolate, are to pets. For younger children, take their Halloween candy supply put it somewhere out of reach of pets. According to the ASPCA:
    1. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rate—and even seizures.
    2. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.
  6. Pick up the evidence: After enjoying some Halloween candy, it is important that you dispose of candy wrappers before your pets get to them. Make sure your pet can’t get into the trash. Swallowing tin foil or cellophane candy wrappers can be as harmful as the candy – potentially causing your pet to choke or experience intestinal blockage.
  7. Pumpkins: It is fun to adorn the house and yard with festive decorations such as pumpkins and corn. These popular holiday plants are considered to be relatively nontoxic to your pets; however, caution should still be exerted. Pumpkins and corn can produce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage can also occur if large pieces/portions are swallowed.
  8. Candles: While a jack-o-lantern is festive, it is important that you exercise extreme caution when choosing to add a candle. Animals are curious by nature and often investigate items that intrigue them. Lit candles left burning in pumpkins or decorative holders can be easily knocked over; burning your pet’s paw, wing, or tail on the flame. Animals should be watched around candles during Halloween and anytime of the year.
  9. Mischief Brews: It is suggested that you do not leave pets outside on Halloween night. Many animal welfare groups warn that pranksters will tease or abduct pets, some may even try to hurt your animals. Animal abuse happens everyday but kids are out playing tricks in full force on Halloween night, so be aware. Again, it is suggested to keep all animals indoors on Halloween night, if possible, to eliminate any chance of this.
  10. Update ID Tags: It is better to be safe than sorry. Whether you are letting your pet go out on Halloween or not, make sure they are wearing an up-to-date I.D. tag. If for any reason your pet escapes or becomes lost, a collar, tag and/or a microchip can increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you.

KCTCS : Inquiry-based Management

center-for-aiCreating Our Future Together with Inquiry Based Management



The role of the System Office is to provide leadership, support and service to the KCTCS network of colleges in order that those colleges create a positive and significant impact across the state-economically, socially, and environmentally. The coming years will be filled with challenges and opportunities and the success of KCTCS will depend upon its capacity for learning, adapting and innovating. Management will play a key role in this endeavor.

This six-month management course is designed to support you. It is not to replace your current skills and strengths, but rather to build upon those and expand your opportunities to be both influential in the future of KCTCS as well as successful in your position. The first step in this process is to take stock of where you are now and where you want to be six-months from now.

The following survey includes a number of questions that require you to reflect as you begin the upcoming management course.  This may take you up to an hour to complete. Please take the time to consider the questions before writing your answers.


Your answers will be held confidential and seen only by the instructor, Cheri Torres (unless you yourself decide to share your responses with others).


Please complete the survey no later than Thursday, January 28 at noon. This will give the instructor time to take your responses and goals into consideration before the on-site program the following week.


If you have questions about the course or the survey, contact Cheri directly:

Email:  cheri.torres@gmail.com

Phone:  865-567-7649

Overall Culture Survey

Please read the following statements and then check the word(s) that indicate how closely you agree with the statement.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey.

Creating our Future Together Through Inquiry Based Management

Course DescriptionThis course is designed to increase your capacity to have a positive managerial impact within KCTCS and increase your sphere of influence. It is not a course to teach you about Appreciative Inquiry, collaboration and management; it is more like a practicum to build your understanding and expertise in the management practices that generate full engagement, collaboration, and accountability. In keeping with this, instead of an 18-hour management course condensed into three days, it is an 18-hour management course spread over six months.

The course format supports the implementation of new knowledge and new skills through daily practice, inviting you to accomplish your work in different ways. You should find these practices save you time and effort while they build strong relationships among your team. This mixed media learning course includes on-site training, bi-monthly 30-minute webinars, discussion, teamwork, reading, and practice.  All sessions will be highly experiential and engage you in provocative discussions and practical applications of new ideas. You will be challenged to see from different perspectives, increase your curiosity, and to implement new procedures that increase efficiency, effectiveness, and collaboration.

Required Reading

Following my commitment to honor your busy work schedule, there is limited required reading for the course.  A short reading assignment may be emailed to you the week before each webinar.  Any reading will also be posted in the Library on our Web-Ex classroom LINK.  Additional articles, recommended books, links to videos and relevant websites are listed at the end of this syllabus as well as in our Web-Ex Library LINK.

Required Materials and Equipment


On-Site Sessions: Please wear comfortable clothing and rubber-soled, closed toed shoes (like tennis shoes). Bring paper and pen and an Attitude of Inquiry! This part of the course is essential and it will be fun and provocative. Expect to be challenged, surprised, puzzled, and inspired.

Webinars: You will need access to the Internet and …   Kathy, I need you guys to specify exactly what’s needed here.


Recommended Reading

Additional articles, recommended books, videos and website forums are listed at the end of this syllabus as well as on the Web-Ex Library LINK.

Course Objectives and Content


This course will increase your capacity to influence staff engagement, accountability, and creativity as your team collaborates to achieve your department or division’s strategic outcomes and support the overall mission of KCTCS.


  1. Increase your capacity as an Inquiry-based leader
    • Develop your capacity for inquiry as a means to surface relevant knowledge, assumptions, limiting beliefs and differing perspectives.  This results in increased core interpersonal skills and strong team relationships.
    • Understand the power of emotions and the implications for managing by Inquiry and Appreciation
    • Understand the power of story and the power of frames: embracing diversity of values and perception
    • Align your team’s work and strengths with strategic outcomes and KCTCS mission
  2. Manage Change and Innovation:
    • Understand AI: how to practice it and how to use the model for planning
    • Practice inquiry and reflection to facilitate action learning and collaborative learning
  3. Have an organizational impact by
    • Implementing workplace practices that enhance engagement, collaboration, and accountability
    • Using conflict to generate innovation and new knowledge
  4. Managing performance using outcomes-based planning and coaching based upon employee strengths

Course Requirements:

The lessons in this course build upon one another; therefore, it is important to attend sessions in the order listed on the syllabus and to practice each week’s lessons and engage in the required discussions sequentially.

On-site Class:  Two half-day morning sessions will provide the essential foundation upon which all other lessons are grounded. These two sessions are mandatory.

Bi-monthly Webinars: 30-minute live webinars are offered twice each month. Managers may participate in the webinars at their desk, laptop while traveling, or with their cohort- any place with access to the Internet. Each webinar will consist of:

  • 10 minute lesson
  • 5 minute experiential activity
  • 10 minute discussion
  • 5 minute practice assignments and Q&A

It is HIGHLY recommended that you attend all of these webinars as live sessions since discussion and Q&A are part of the 30-minute session.  It is understandable that there may be an occasional unavoidable conflict with a session. When this occurs, you can view the missed webinar in the Recorded Section of our webinar classroom. Questions can be emailed to me or you can call me.  Attendance at a minimum of 75% of the live webinars is required for certification.  Recorded webinars must be viewed within a couple of days of the live session so that you have time to practice that week’s lesson before the next webinar.

Practice: In between each webinar, you will have the opportunity to practice new ways of working based upon the lesson. After each session there will be specific opportunities/ assignments for the next two weeks. These might be challenging but not difficult. You should find them highly rewarding!


You will have the opportunity to learn from, support, coach, and inspire one another through one of two cohort practices-meetings or discussion board.  Taking just a few minutes at least every other day to reflect and share how these new practices are impacting you and your team is an essential part of expanding your capacity and that of your colleagues. Feel free to participate in both if you want!

(a)    Cohort Meetings:  For those of you who enjoy getting together with others to talk about your experiences or ask questions, make a plan to meet for coffee or lunch 2-3 times a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, Friday).  These don’t have to be long meetings, but they should be genuine reflections. A minimum of two meetings per week is required for certification.

(b)   Discussion Board: For the more introverted managers there is discussion board! Your posts should reflect genuine practice and commitment to one another.  A minimum of 3 posts per week is required for certification.

Staff Feedback and Exceptional Modeling: The fastest way to grow and build relationships is to ask for feedback.  Appreciative Inquiry is a delightful way to request feedback.  Once each month you’ll have the opportunity to solicit feedback from your staff (and other colleagues, if you choose).  The questions you will ask will speak specifically to your personal goals for this course.  You’ll be asking staff for high points, times in the last month when you were succeeding at your goal(s) and how that success impacted their work and engagement with the overall department/division. You’ll also be asking them for specific ideas about what they valued about the way you were managing.  Finally, you’ll ask them for suggestions for what else you might do to further your success in meeting your goal(s).

Final Report

Your final assignment will be to reflect on your 6-month journey.  You’ll have the opportunity to do your own personal reflection and to review feedback from your staff and colleagues.  You will compile a list of changes you’ve made, results of these changes, and a personal statement about your sense of competence as a manager.


At the beginning of the course, you will establish your personal goals for your own management practice along with your commitment to your self and your colleagues in achieving your goals. At the end of the course, you and your colleagues will reflect on your efforts and progress towards your goals.  Certification requires full participation in the course, feedback from your colleagues, and your own reflection in achieving your goals:

  • Attendance at both on-site sessions
  • Completion of all 12 webinars, 75% live attendance
  • Daily practice of lessons
  • Participation in Discussion Board, minimum of 3 genuine postings per week
  • Feedback from staff
  • Final Report


General Guidelines

  • Show Up:  Be fully present-body, mind, and spirit. This also means being and doing your best-make your time well spent and have fun doing it! The time together is short and will fly by.
  • Pay Attention: Especially pay attention to what has heart and meaning for you in the lessons. If you are pre-occupied, you’ll miss out! If you don’t take advantage of the practices, you’ll miss an opportunity.
  • Stay Open: Come with an open mind, open heart and open will; this will allow you to stay open to the outcome.
  • Be Honest: Tell your own truth, share without blame or judgment.
  • Have Fun!