School of Dentistry community engages in teambuilding with picnic and retreat

Joy Wise Davis smiles and talks with others at her table
Two people pose for a caricature drawing

Members of the School of Dentistry gathered for exercises in connection and teambuilding this week. 

On Saturday, the school gathered at Minnehaha Regional Park for an All School Picnic, complete with lunch, airbrush tattoos and caricature art. Family, friends, children and pets enjoyed the beautiful weather and got to know one another. 

Dean Mays and Maureen Lovestrand pose with airbrushed tattoos

On Monday, the school hosted its annual Faculty and Staff Retreat. Held each year to bring members of the community together for important school updates and community building, the retreat encourages faculty and staff to connect and explore ways of making the school the best it can be. 

As attendees gathered and enjoyed lunch together, they explored a table fair where departments and offices shared resources and materials about their work. Representatives from faculty development, staff council, the Office of Research and Discovery, human resources and alumni and development managed tables and shared their expertise.

Members of the office of research and discovery present materials at the table fair

The formal program began with an update from Dean Keith Mays, DDS, MS, PhD, on the school’s strategic goals and accomplishments. He highlighted the school’s incoming classes, shared progress on the strategic plan and congratulated faculty and staff on their great work over the past year while also providing a vision for the future.

Dean Mays speaks at the retreat

After a brief presentation from CFO Joel Heuschele, attendees enjoyed an interactive session with members of Illusion Theater on belonging. Illusion Theater seeks to “create theater that illuminates the illusions, myths and realities of our times and to catalyze personal and social change.” 

Illusion Theater presents a skit on stage

Moderated by Joel Mixon, director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Kelly Collins, PhD, director of education for the Office of Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota, members of the theater presented skits exploring topics of racism, sexism, homophobia and other biases and explored our role as members of a community and as bystanders in creating a welcoming and equitable community.

Attendees had the opportunity to share their own experiences and role play with their table mates, exploring the best ways to act as allies in the workplace and clinic setting.

Retreat attendees talk and smile at their tables

Finally, Michelle Chen Libi, MA, LMFT, provided an introduction to mindfulness and meditation techniques, encouraging attendees to practice grounding and presence. 

Faculty and staff left the day rejuvenated and ready to return to their work advancing the oral health care of all Minnesotans.