Faculty, staff reconnect at informal club

Marissa Barnhart

E. Gay Lindsay, an emeritus professor of nursing, has attended 10 to 15 faculty club meetings during her time at Kent State.

Lindsay, now a senior specialist assistant in faculty affairs, said she looked forward to connecting with her past colleagues and sharing her passion for nursing with the university community. 

Last Thursday evening’s event was no exception, as faculty and staff gathered in the Student Center’s Schwebel Room for Faculty Club, an informal meeting for professors and administrators to relax and mingle with coworkers. A different college sponsors the club every month, and the College of Nursing sponsored Thursday’s club meeting.

“I think you’ll see a lot of hugs, a lot of ‘how are you?’s” said Angela Sass, director of advancement for the College of Nursing. “It’s just people enjoying people in an informal setting.”

Lisa Galanis, special events coordinator for academic events, said while the number of people in attendance changes every month, the university plans for approximately 75 people depending on which college is hosting. 

“It’s more of an open house, so they come and go as they please, enjoy some light hors d’oeuvres and some beverages and have that chance just to connect,” Galanis said.

Jim DeMarco, an emeritus professor of nursing, said he knew many of the attendees because he taught at Kent State in the College of Nursing for 23 years before retiring in 1993. 

“It’s good to see my old colleagues and old students,” DeMarco said. “A lot of these people are some of my students. Our new dean [Barbara Broome] is one of my previous students.”

Ryan Conlon, a term instructor for the College of Business and Administration, said Thursday’s meeting was the second he has attended. He said faculty club meetings are a good time to talk to other professors whose schedules otherwise conflict.

At this meeting, Conlon aimed to discuss his interest in health and analyzing data with other attendees.

“Depending on how interested they are, I wouldn’t mind working with them,” Conlon said.

Yvonne Smith, a lecturer in the College of Nursing, said although faculty club is an informal event, the time is also used to discuss partnerships in academics among faculty and staff. 

“It might be a time when we talk about opportunities to collaborate with faculty from other departments, or it might be a time to reconnect with someone that you served on a committee or worked on a project with, Smith said,”We tend to be somewhat isolated in our individual departments, so it’s nice to come out and see other people and reconnect.”

Aside from networking, Sass said the best thing about the faculty club is the people. She said that in her efforts to re-engage the faculty and staff, she has noticed that people want to reconnect.

“As people come in, there’s that warm welcome,” Sass said. “You’re coming home.”

Contact Marissa Barnhart at [email protected].