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Graduate Students Learn Facilitation

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1. Course Information

College of Education and Human Development

Course description: Professionals in business, social services, education and human development fields are frequently called upon to serve as facilitators. Effective leaders working in community settings must work productively, sustainably and with finesse. Leaders are expected to know ‘how to run groups’. This highly experiential class, based in adult education theory, provides essential knowledge and skills to learn how to work most efficiently with committees and groups. Facilitation theory and skills, learned and practiced in an experiential setting, enhances the catalytic leadership needed to address community or organizational issues and aspirations. Class work centers on six foundational facilitator competencies developed by the International Association of Facilitators. Key concepts covered include: basics of core values, working agreements, contracting and learning styles; group development; achieving desired outcomes; interventions; and decision making. Advanced concepts center on student projects: modeling distinctions between facilitation, leadership and collaboration; meeting climate; and behavior.

Credit hours: 3

Prerequisites: (previous courses, knowledge, and skills): none

2. Faculty Information

Name: Jane Haskell, Extension Professor


Phone: 207.581.3167 leave voicemail message

Office hours: I am happy to meet you before or after class, with prior notice.

3. Instructional Materials and Methods

  1. The framework for this class is built on participation. From the moment you step into the room and all time between classes, all time you have spent or will spend in meetings are ingredients for successful navigation into the world of understanding how you and others behave in meetings – as a group member, facilitator, leader, trainer or some combination of these roles.
  2. After day one, all group members (students) will be responsible for presenting some course content or introducing various facilitation tools, techniques or methods. Materials to aid you will be provided. All will be actively involved in providing focused feedback for each piece of content taught by peers.
  3. We will observe adult learning principles throughout the course; as such, we will be peer learners and will reflect on the content taught.
  4. BlackBoard will not be used in this class. Written assignments need to be in a Word compatible format, such as doc. or PDF (not .Pages).
  5. Each item of Assigned Work (i.e., Assignments) will generally be used in the following class. If it is not ‘done,’ then we will experience what it is like to be in a meeting or group where work is not completed. What part of group process hinges on these expectations?
  6. Required Reading. Out of Class Projects (Part 1) describes varied blogs and books from which you select readings and subsequent reflections.
  7. Resource Notebook: The materials that are covered in this class are combined from Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills, Levels 1 and 2 curricula. They are in a resource notebook that will be provided on Day One. The cost of the notebook and associated class supplies is $45.00. The registration fees are paid to a UMaine account that Jane Haskell uses for program materials, professional development, or other professional use. Please make checks payable (on Day One) to UMaine Cooperative Extension.
  8. Glossary: A glossary of terms is included in this course outline. All words included in the glossary are noted with a ‘G’ superscript (e.g., feedbackG).

4. Student Learning Outcomes

by successfully completing this course, each student will be able to:

  • Learn to more effectively and efficiently lead groups;
  • Understand and learn core competencies related to facilitation;
  • Observe facilitation challenges, such as constant change, competing priorities, changing team members, limited time and carefully guarded resources; and
  • Practice skills in an experiential setting and receive feedback in a safe environment.

Objectives for each day’s work are listed as Topics in the schedule.

5. Assessment and Evaluation

With intentional engagement and participation, grading, or acquiring an ‘A equivalent’ need not be an issue; however, you will be the determinant in setting and meeting the standard for engagement and participation. Grading will be a standard A through F.

Assignments: All written assignments shall be professionally presented according to instructions below. All assignments are due at the beginning of class.

A   = 94-100 B- = 80-83 D+ = 67-69
A-  = 90-93 C+ = 77-79 D    = 64-66
B+ = 87-89 C  =   74-76 D-   = 60-63
B   = 84-86 C- = 70-73 F     =<60

Grade Breakdown
% – Participation
20% – Intentional Facilitator PracticesG/Focused FeedbackG
14% – Completing Assigned Work
39% – Short papers/observations/projects (aka’out of class projects’)

6. Course Organization and Policies

Classroom sessions will include some traditional mini-lectures interspersed with group discussions that will include content and context from readings and classroom projects. Brainstorming, demonstration, reflective writing, presentations and other interactive methods will be used to demonstrate and exchange ideas and information. This interactive style of learning makes it imperative that students attend all classes. Attendance is also a requirement because much of the work and most of your knowledge (and your grade) will derive directly from classroom encounters.

Class Etiquette. This is a graduate class, and by tradition as well as definition, students are expected to take the initiative for learning.

  • Attendance and participation is critical and a basic requirement of meaningful learning or work, just as participation in any group or team is critical. Reasons for non-attendance occur; we will treat all absence as a tool for group process discovery, by those absent and those present.
    • Notify me of any absence. Complete all parts of the Absence Reflection: What happens to the group’s process when a key member is not present?”
    • An unexcused/non-notification of absence will deduct 25% from the participation component of the grade.
  • Participation in class exercises and discussions is required. Therefore you need to come to class prepared. Completion of pre-work and concurrent work is expected.
  • I am available to go over lectures, readings, or to help out on projects, with prior notice.
  • Reading, and re-reading, is critical to your success in this course.
  • Observe Best Facilitator Practices (first handout, Tab One, Resource Notebook)
  • Observe Working Agreements (created by the entire group, Day One).
  • Support others in class.
  • Respect to your classmates (not reading materials from other courses, chatting, texting, sending emails; silence cell phones, tablets and laptops).

Assignments. All work is expected to be professionally presented. Prepare according to the following guidelines:

  • Approach writing and completing assignments with intent. Every moment both within and outside the class is preparation for the ‘experience’ of a meeting and group/personal dynamics.
  • Type all papers, following the content and length requirements for that assignment.
    • Single space all papers unless the assignment instructions specifically state otherwise.  Double space between paragraphs. Left justify each paragraph.
    • Use one-inch margins.
    • Use 12-point font.
  • Include your name, the date, name of the assignment, and the course on the first page. Successive pages should be numbered (i.e., page 2 of 3). Spell-check and proofread your papers except as noted in Free Writing. Spelling and grammar, as well as content, will be considered in assigning grades. Any paper containing a spelling error that would be caught by the spell-check function of MS Word will be noted by instructor.
  • Multiple page assignments must be stapled (one staple, upper left preferable).
  • Include in-text citations and literature cited.

Honesty & trust. Academic honesty is a given expectation. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism and all forms of misrepresentation in academic work, and is unacceptable at the University of Maine. As stated in the University of Maine’s online “Student Handbook,” plagiarism (the submission of another’s work without appropriate attribution) and cheating are violations of the University of Maine Student Conduct Code. If I have documentable probable cause or reason to believe a student has cheated, I will respectfully act upon such evidence with your full knowledge, and will report the case to the supervising faculty member or the Department Chair for appropriate action.

Reality. The class is a living representation of what can happen in meetings and groups. Therefore, we will be experiencing civility, the unknown, disagreement, respect and discovery. Together. We will engage to optimize a group’s process and structure. Use of profanity or sexist language is highly discouraged. UMaine’s non-sexist language policy clearly states the commitment to fair treatment all individuals.

Students with disabilities. If you have a disability for which you may be requesting an accommodation, please contact Student Accessibility Services, 121 East Annex, 581.2319, as early as possible in the term. Students who have already been approved for accommodations by SAS and have a current accommodation letter should meet with Jane Haskell privately as soon as possible.

Disrupted class schedule. In the event of an extended disruption of normal classroom activities, the format for this course may be modified to enable its completion within its programmed time frame. In that event, you will be provided an addendum to the syllabus that will supersede this version.

College of Education and Human Development policy on incomplete grades in graduate classes:
A grade of I (Incomplete) is assigned if a student has been doing work of acceptable quality but, for reasons satisfactory to the instructor, has not completed all of the work required to earn credit by the end of the semester or session. The work must be completed and submitted to the instructor by the date agreed to with the instructor, but not later than one year (i.e., 12 months) from the end of the semester or session in which the incomplete was granted. An I remains on the transcript permanently if not resolved or if a written request for an extension is not approved within the time period for removing the incomplete. A request for an exception to regulation to extend an incomplete beyond one year must be approved by the instructor, the student’s advisor (for degree students), Graduate Program Coordinator, and Dean. The request should note the circumstances necessitating the extension, the work that remains unfinished, and a specific deadline for completion. An extension will be granted only under unusual circumstances. For grades of I, it is the student’s responsibility to reach and maintain an understanding with the instructor concerning the timely completion of the work.

7. Sexual Discrimination Reporting

The University of Maine is committed to making campus a safe place for students. Because of this commitment, if you tell a teacher or teaching assistant about an experience of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, relationship abuse (dating violence and domestic violence), sexual misconduct or any form of gender discrimination involving members of the campus, your teacher or teaching assistant is required to report this information to the campus Office of Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention of the Office of Equal Opportunity.

If you want to talk in confidence to someone about an experience of sexual discrimination, please contact these resources:

  • For confidential resources on campus:
    • Counseling Center: 207.581.1392 or
    • Cutler Health Center: 207.581.4000
  • For confidential resources off campus:

    • Rape Response Services: 800.310.0000 or
    • Spruce Run: 800.863.9909.