Retreats and Conferences

View from above campus

Using a retreat format, we offer non-credit professional development courses to support emerging and experienced non-profit professionals.

Our distinguished faculty experts facilitate learning that will teach you how to make better decisions, create new partnerships, engage your audiences more effectively, and explore new ways to use multimedia in your work.

We offer a mix of intensive learning opportunities to choose from (see below). Courses are scheduled so that participants can choose one 3-day retreat or combine them to target specific areas of interest.

All of our courses are project-based, and participants are able to focus on work that is most relevant to their personal or professional needs. 

We combine our on-campus learning retreats with online learning both before and after the sessions so you can maximize your time on-campus and enrich your experience.

Each course is $549. Now accepting registrations for Summer 2018 (Register here) .

Contact us at graduateadmissions@mtholyoke.edu or 413-538-3478 with any questions.

Faculty Practitioners

Our professional development institute faculty, all experienced practitioners, bring cutting edge knowledge about the current opportunities, challenges, and practical considerations for implementing into their work in the classroom.

Read more about our Summer Institute Faculty here.


Coming to Campus

Mount Holyoke’s campus is recognized as one of the most beautiful in the nation by the Princeton Review. Between the beautiful historic buildings and great local amenities, the hallmarks of a Mount Holyoke experience are an immersion in learning and professional engagement.

Getting here by air, car, train, or bus is easy, and you’ll find a variety of lodging options—including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts—within a short distance from campus. The area’s many restaurants offer casual to elegant dining, and you’ll find an abundance of cultural and recreational opportunities on campus and around South Hadley and the region.


Session 2: July Retreat Topics

July 19 - 21, 2018

Our July retreat includes professional development opportunities that will help you develop your managerial skills to support decision making during challenging times, build the capacity of your staff to take on leadership roles, work with diverse staff and stakeholders more effectively, and more opportunities to add to the tools in your communications repertoire.

  Sesion A (pick one)
Thursday, July 19 – Saturday, July 21
Session B (pick one)
Sunday, July 22 – Tuesday, July 24
Area of Focus
  • Diversity and Intercultural Management
  • Creativity, Problem Solving and Decision Making
  • Persuasive Communications
  • Participatory Community Development

Diversity and Intercultural Management

Course Title: Diversity and Intercultural Management

Description: In today’s globally interconnected world, organizational success is often dependent on the performance of teams that interact across significant distances and multiple cultural perspectives, internally and with their constituents. This course is designed to increase cultural competency and the success of leaders by combining an exploration of academic research and case studies with opportunities for application. By the end of the course, participants will understanding the cultural dimension of managing diverse and dispersed team members, learn to foster positive interactions, facilitate communication, and be able to identify and manage conflict more effectively.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 9 from 7-8pm; Retreat Thursday July 19 - Saturday July 21 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 


July 22 - 24, 2018

Persuasive Communications

Course Title: Persuasive Communications

Description: The goal of persuasive communications is to influence people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. We are exposed to hundreds of messages meant to persuade us daily from organizations and on social media. So what works, and why does it work? In this course we will investigate research on persuasion, receptiveness, and ethical frameworks for this work. Participants will learn techniques for creating, analyzing and critiquing persuasive messages. The course culminates in a final project in which participants create a campaign to change a target audience’s attitudes or behaviors about a subject of the students’ choosing.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 10 from 7-8pm, Retreat Sunday July 22 - Tuesday July 24 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 

Creativity, Problem Solving and Decision Making

Course Title: Building Effective Organizations: Creativity, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Description: Being a good leader often requires creativity, problem solving and decision making in contexts where there often are limited resources, not enough information, and urgency. This is a cognitive psychology approach to understanding how mental processes, including attention, perception, creativity, and problem solving can be harnessed to improve decision making for individuals and organizations.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 10 from 7-8pm, Retreat Sunday July 22 - Tuesday July 24 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 

Participatory Community Development

Course Title: Participatory Community Development

Description: Participatory community development (PCD) is an approach to working with local communities, in partnership with government and non-government agencies. The goal of PCD is to empower local community members to be involved in the research, design, implementation, advocacy, monitoring, and evaluation of community projects, including those that generate sustainable sources of new income, food, and services. In this course, participants will explore different benefits and forms of PCD through case studies and methods of facilitating participatory project planning, and develop their ability to anticipate and evaluate the impacts/consequences of the projects.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 10 from 7-8 pm, Retreat Sunday July 22 - Tuesday July 24 from 8:30 am - 5:30 pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 


Session 3: January 2019 Retreat Topics

Our January retreat includes professional development opportunities that will help you build your leadership, management, public speaking and communications skills. Check back soon to learn more about the schedule for our January session.

 

Other Courses We Offer in this Format

Data Visualization: Present & Understand Data

Course Title: Data Visualization: Presenting Data to Build Understanding and Insights

Description: While many organizations have data, it is not always easy to translate that into a format that is easy for non-data people to quickly understand and interpret. In this course, participants will learn about different kinds of data and data structures, explore the theory and principles behind good design, and be able to articulate why certain visual designs are appropriate or inappropriate based on the data type. The final project in this class is to build data visualizations and a dashboard based either on data provided or data that is chosen by the participant. While this class is focused on technical skills, no prior experience with data, coding or computer science is necessary.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro Tuesday May 29 from 7-8pm; Retreat Thursday June 7 - Saturday June 9 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting May 29 and going through July 6. 

Audio Production

Course Title: Media Production Topics: Audio Production

Description: In this course, participants will explore both the artistic and technical issues relevant to preparing music and sound for podcasts, video, and the web. Topics will include: acoustic theory, audio animation and sound effects, sound design, multichannel sound, mixing audio and audio processing techniques. No prior experience is necessary to take this course. This course will prepare participants to work with music and sound for both artistic and professional purposes.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 9 from 7-8pm; Retreat Thursday July 19 - Saturday July 21 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 

Facilitating Courageous Conversations

Course Title: Building Bridges: Facilitating Courageous Conversations

Description: Building the capacity of groups to dialogue, create, and collaborate is an essential skill in professional settings across our region, nationally, and globally. This course offers a critical introduction to the principles and the role of intergroup dialogue and facilitation in creating transformative spaces for groups to explore differences and commonalities, increase awareness as individuals and as members of various social groups, build authentic relationships and identify actions that foster perspective taking and empathy. Through intergroup dialogue, role-play exercises, and assigned readings, participants will actively learn to engage in courageous conversations and facilitate groups across social divides to work together more effectively, collaboratively and compassionately.

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Citizen Journalism

Course Title: Citizen Journalism

Description: Citizen journalists can drive media coverage on social, environmental, health, and community issues. Not only does this inform people, it can spark citizen engagement and give them a voice in decisions about public policies and priorities. Whether focused domestically or abroad, increasingly citizen journalists not only must master the art of writing, but also storytelling, multimedia skills, and how to do well-founded research. This course is an introduction to the field and covers the stages of news production (from collecting, verifying and analyzing data to packaging, distribution and audience development) and how technology is being used to improve both reporting and storytelling. 

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Inclusion and Cultural Competency

Course Title: Building Effective Organizations: Inclusion and Cultural Competency

Description: Research indicates that organizations with greater diversity and inclusion outperform their peer organizations in terms of financial performance, innovation, and the ability to develop talent. In order to build an inclusive organization, it is critical that leaders are able to understand how to effectively engage and support culture and diversity in their organizations. In this course students will learn to define, assess and enhance cultural competence in their own work, their organizations and in community efforts. Student will examine case studies, learn to conduct a strategic audit, and build a cultural competency toolkit that will focus on relevant foundational and strategic issues.

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Mentorship Models to Grow Leadership

Course Title: Building Effective Organizations: Mentorship Models to Grow Leadership

Description: Mentorship is a powerful tool for personal and professional growth; it provides support, insights, feedback, and helps people develop their knowledge, networks and capacities. People taking on new challenges can benefit from both formal and informal mentorship. In this social psychology approach to leadership, participants will explore the theories and research on mentorship, investigate different models and strategies for mentorship, and design a mentorship program for a particular organization or context (including businesses, non-profits, volunteer organizations, and community projects).

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro July 9 from 7-8pm; Retreat Thursday July 19 - Saturday July 21 from 8:30am - 5:30pm.

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting July 9 and going through August 10. 

New Media & Activism

Course Title: New Media & Activism

Description: New media technologies such as video-sharing websites, podcasts, and social media have altered how we interact and consume news and information. While activists use these tools to raise awareness, educate citizens and mobilize support, these efforts can be overshadowed by corporations or political action groups with their own agendas and well-funded media campaigns.In this course participants explore how to use new media strategically to address social, economic and environmental issues, how to analyze media representations of these issues, and how to design media campaigns that build communities, organize efforts, and influence policy.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro Tuesday May 29 from 7-8pm; Retreat Thursday June 7 - Saturday June 9 from 8:30am - 5:30pm. 

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting May 29 and going through July 6.  

Policy Advocacy for Small Organizations

Course Title: Policy Advocacy for Small Organizations 

Description: For many small organizations, getting involved in policy advocacy can be a challenge because of limited budgets and modest staff sizes. Without attention though, critical issues and the interests of small organizations and their constituencies can be overlooked when policy analysis and issue development are done without their voices. In this course, participants will learn how to get involved and exert influence in how legislative and regulatory policies are developed and implemented. Participants will learn about the principles and frameworks of advocacy, community education, constituency organizing, legal class actions, and how to put together an advocacy campaign.   

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Project Management for Nonprofits

Course Title:  Project Management for Nonprofits and Social Entrepreneurs

Description: There is one clear skill that all exceptional project managers (PMs) possess, "the ability to formulate alternatives." Those PMs with either the innate or developed ability to provide multiple solutions to problems and further create contingency plans if their solutions are not successful, find themselves working on projects that are delivered on-time, at or under-budget, and within the functional and/or technical satisfaction of their customer. Your goal is to identify and begin to develop this ability during this course. More importantly, it will provide you a platform to continue to grow, refine and implement this skill all under the umbrella of good project management approaches and practices. You will be able to identify, plan, schedule, cost estimate, implement and manage projects of virtually any size.

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Seed Funding & Alternative Funding Models

Course Title: Seed Funding & Alternative Funding Models 

Description: Beyond traditional models of raising money and fundraising for organizations with social missions, there are new and evolving models including crowd funding (both consumer and investor crowdfunding), revenue-based financing, earned income strategies for nonprofits, program-related investments by foundations, accelerator and incubator programs, angle investors, micro-venture capital firms, and impact seed funds. In this survey course, participants will explore opportunities and challenges in using alternative funding models to support early-stage initiatives. The final project in this course is to develop a fundraising strategy using one or more of the financing models.  

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Speaking with Confidence: Leadership for Women

Course Title:  Speaking with Confidence: Leadership for Women

Description: This course helps women professionals develop effective oral communication skills necessary for delivering keynote speeches, panel presentations, conference talks and other public speaking situations. Drawing on a variety of theatre techniques used by experienced actors to relax, focus their message, and connect with an audience, this course will coach students in the art of confident and powerful communication. Students will be guided to uncover their unique strengths, develop an authentic and personalized speaking style, and overcome obstacles to delivering their message. Working closely together in a safe and supportive environment, students will complete the course with the presentation of an inspiring speech.

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Storytelling: Crafting Effective Narratives

Course Title: Storytelling: Crafting Effective Narratives Across Media

Description: While storytelling comes in many forms, one of its notable characteristics in any form is the power it has to help ground and orient us. Narrative frames are used not only in entertainment and media, but also in disciplines as wide ranging as psychology, medicine, social change and business. In this course participants will learn how stories are constructed and created, how to assess a story’s strengths, and how to apply the elements of narrative across different media (writing, audio, images and video) to enhance the story you want to tell. This course will prepare participants to work with narrative and storytelling for personal projects, to promote change, and in professional settings.

Retreat Meeting Times: Videoconference Intro Wednesday May 30 from 7-8pm; Retreat Sunday June 10 - Tuesday June 12 from 8:30am - 5:30pm. 

Want to deepen your experience? Participate in the online sessions complementing this course starting May 29 and going through July 6.  

Public-Private Partnerships

Course Title: Creating and Sustaining Public-Private Partnerships

Description: This course is for people working in both the private and public sector who want to learn how to build and sustain partnerships. Participants learn to: recognize the role and value public-private partnerships can play for both parties, identify the steps for assessing community needs and resources, develop shared goals, establish a strategic framework for action, manage communications and resource sharing, evaluate the initiatives for success, and sustain public-private partnerships over the long term.

Retreat Meeting Times:  (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Fair Trade & Sustainable Tourism

Course Title: Fair Trade & Sustainable Tourism

Description: Partnerships to support fair trade and sustainable tourism often operate in a complex context of a) individual as well as institutional stakeholders with different amounts of power and b) economic, social and environmental goals that may not be shared. In this course, participants explore dimensions of these types of partnerships, the role of ethics, how to create shared goals and strategies, establishing structures to support and sustain high quality relationships, and how to assess partnerships for success. The culminating project in this course is to develop a partnership plan that could be used to create a new relationship between at least two key stakeholder groups or organizations.

Retreat Meeting Times:  (Exact dates to be announced soon)

User-Centered Design

Course Title:  User-Centered Design

Description: User-centered design is a framework used by organizations that create digital and physical goods and services, and focuses on how to create solutions that are well designed for an intended audience. This course will introduce students to key considerations, including how your product is organized (the architecture), how people will interact with it (the interface), and how easy-to-use and useful it is (the usability). In this course, participants will learn about the principles of user-centered design, what it means to frame both problems and solutions in a user-centered design perspective, and how to implement it into your practice. 

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Video Production

Course Title:  Media Production Topics: Video Production

Description: This is a hands-on foundational class exploring every step of video production for educators, artists and other professionals in the community who want to create engaging, eye-catching videos. We will cover all of the components of production, including aesthetics and mechanics, narrative development, the role of audio, and the conceptual and technical aspects of editing. You are invited to come with a story to tell or a product, service or brand to promote. Plan to dedicate a significant amount of time outside of class sessions to readings, viewings, and practical assignments to expand your perspective of the power of communication through video. Students will complete a series of in-class exercise pieces, and each will make a short video as a final project.

Retreat Meeting Times: January 2019 (Exact dates to be announced soon)

Web Design

Course Title: Media Production Topics: Web Design

Description: This project-based course on web design emphasizes standards-based, accessible design. Participants will learn how to create and design webpages, manage web files, use CSS, work with different kinds of media, select a web hosting service, publish web pages, and evaluate website quality. Content will be provided, but participants with a project in mind are encouraged to bring content (text, images, media files) to use in the course. This course is designed for people interested in web design for either personal or professional settings.

Retreat Meeting Times:  (Exact dates to be announced soon)