University of Vermont

What to Expect for Facilitators

Next Step facilitators are the team, the glue, that holds the retreat together and makes it work. Led by two co-lead trainers, the Next Step retreat is a model based largely on small group work, each led by a pair of facilitators. As a facilitator, you will have the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of undergraduate and graduate students while supporting and challenging them in a SAFE environment.

Requirements and/or Strong Recommendations:

All members of the UVM community are invited to apply to facilitate at Next Step: undergraduate, graduate, staff (exempt only), administrators and faculty. However, there are some requirements based on skill and experience that are important to consider:

  • Next Step is a significant time commitment and we ask that you consider this as you apply. The Next Step Advisory Committee (made up of graduate students, staff and faculty from across campus) and the Next Step Leadership team are very confident that each facilitator leaves the Next Step experience with a whole range of new skills regarding training on social justice issues, managing student groups and conversations on a range of topics, and concrete training skills. With this in mind, we expect all facilitators to spend time before and after the retreat in training and assessment for the retreat.

  • It is also important to know that facilitating the Next Step retreat is NOT an entry-level opportunity. We intentionally need members of the UVM community to apply who have prior social justice experience. In the past, this has included folks who are: Next Step alumni, have attended or led diversity, multicultural, or social justice trainings, have experience facilitating groups on difficult topics, and/or significant study related to social justice issues.

  • Next Step is about representing, exploring, unpacking, noticing, and celebrating the diverse community that makes up UVM. We examine our diversity as a campus largely based on socially constructed identities: race, sexuality, gender, class, national origin, ability, age, and many more. We therefore highly encourage you to tell us about yourself. Tell us about your many identities, what they mean to you, and/or how you feel your identities will add to the Next Step retreat experience.

We are diligent in making sure facilitators already have a certain set of skills regarding facilitation, group management, and an understanding of social justice work. The rest of the criteria for facilitators varies each year, but we generally look for:

  • A range of facilitator identities including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, class, ability, class, age, and citizenship.

  • A balanced facilitation team: a mixture of breadth and depth of social justice experiences and knowledge

  • A mixture of leaders and adapters, challengers and supporters

  • Strong listening skills

  • Facilitation experience

  • Commitment to work on logistics tasks as well as facilitation

  • Allies to groups outside their own identity

  • People who are self-aware, can keep track of own behavior and hot buttons

  • Willingness to stay engaged during difficult conversations

  • Quality and effort put into the application

Please note that any student member of the UVM community can apply to participate for Next Step. While this is heavily an undergraduate student experience, we know that this experience can be critical for graduate students, staff and faculty as well. Therefore, we consider spots for graduate students when we lack enough undergraduate students to fill all spots on the retreat. The criteria for participants also varies each year, but we generally look for the following:

  • A range of student identities including race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, class, ability, class, age, and citizenship.

  • A range of students of various class-standing, academic colleges, on and off campus residency, and leadership experience.

  • A range of students with prior social justice training or practice experience.

Please note that Next Step is about YOU exploring your own identity and hearing the stories of others. If you have questions about the process, please email the logistics crew for Next Step at: nextstep[at]uvm.edu

If you feel you do not meet these requirements and strong suggestions, and you are an undergraduate or graduate student, please still consider being part of Next Step by applying to participate! Please note, Next Step participants are limited to undergraduate or graduate students only.

Important Dates:

The 2015 retreat will take place from Friday, January 23rd until Sunday, January 25th, 2015 in Fairlee, Vermont at the Hulbert Outdoor Center (about 90 minutes from campus). Please note that this is the first weekend back from winter break. Transportation, lodging, meals, and retreat materials will be provided.

In addition to the retreat itself, as a facilitator, you will be expected to attend an overnight “training for trainers” (TOT) training institute:

  • Saturday, November 15 (9AM) - Sunday, November 16th (4PM) at the Common Ground Center in Starksboro.

This training is critical to helping you understand and be ready for the Next Step retreat. We will go over each piece of the retreat curriculum, give you time to get to know your co-facilitator, and spend time building community with the rest of the Next Step facilitator team. You are also expected to attend pre and post retreat sessions:

  • All Next Step Pre-Retreat Session (all participants and facilitators): Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 (time and location TBD).

  • Final Facilitator Pre-Retreat meeting: Wednesday, January 14th.

  • Post-Retreat Facilitator De-Brief meeting: Mid to late February

Finally, you are strongly encouraged to participate in:

  • The Next Step participant selection committee. This includes reviewing applications and selecting the Next Step 2015 participants. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Nicole Potestivo.

  • The Next Step REUNION! Connected to a social justice event or speaker on campus later in the spring 2015 semester. This will include attending the event and an after event session with all Next Step 2015 alumni.

Are you ready?

Check out our Apply to Next Step page to learn how you can get involved.

Already applied? Download this info as a PDF!