Dean’s Retreat

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The first College of Commissioner Science Dean’s Retreat was held August 28–30. The facilitators were Peter Matrow, Terry Chapman, Dave Fornadel, and Tim Acree. The retreat was held at the Scouting University Westlake Campus, which is the facility where professional Scouters attend their training classes and are commissioned. A total of 38 commissioners were in attendance.

Friday afternoon started with a tour of the National Scouting Museum and the national office.

After the tours, the group went to Hard Eight for Texas barbecue and then to a Texas Rangers baseball game, providing opportunities to get acquainted and for networking.

Saturday morning kicked off with Gary Butler discussing the importance of continuous training and how commissioners and the professional staff can work together. The focus of this retreat was group interaction and no PowerPoint presentations were used by the facilitators. We discussed the latest course updates featuring Commissioner Tools as well as the new roundtable courses. And there was an overview of the support information contained in the “General” folder on the College of Commissioner Science page. We also had a lively discussion about the differences between commissioner colleges and universities of Scouting.

Lunch concluded with an open conversation with Tico Perez, the national commissioner. We then continued our group discussion with an emphasis on tracking course and degree qualifications, doctoral thesis/project, the doctoral review committee, and the difference between the doctorate degree and doctoral knot. We wrapped up with additional discussion on marketing and promoting the college, our relationship with Scouting U, requirements and reciprocity, and using training codes.

Debra Kendrew provided an overview of Commissioner Tools just before dinner, which was catered at the facility.

Sunday morning Dr. Diane Thornton, chief learning officer for Scouting U, addressed the group and discussed how Scouting U is blending training with the professional staff and volunteers. Then Steve Yackel, team leader of instructional design, gave an excellent overview of the new learning management system.

The support from the staff at the Westlake campus was first-rate. The reviews for the weekend were outstanding, with almost everyone requesting a longer session. This was an experienced group of Scouters with more than 1,260 years of collective experience and an average of 34 years of service!

More photos and information are available at

The general consensus was that the retreat should be offered on a yearly basis. Next year’s Dean’s Retreat will be promoted more aggressively. Dates will be published in the next newsletter.