Formation Retreats

Based on the work of Dr. Parker J. Palmer, noted educational leader and author, Formation Retreats are unique professional development experiences that are available to both faculty and staff. Each year, two retreats are held — an introductory retreat for those who have never attended a formation retreat before, and a continuing retreat for those who have. Both retreats are open for registration now on the Center for Teaching Excellence registration page.  Please note that enrollment is limited in both retreats, so if you are interested, register early. Also note that costs associated with the retreat (food and lodging) are covered by GRCC.

All the major details for the 2016 retreats are outlined below.  


Formation is a three-day, two-night professional development opportunity for GRCC staff. It is in a retreat setting where participants reflect on what they believe about their work, reconnect to the passion that brought them to the work, and renew themselves as practitioners.


The Introductory Retreat begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, and ends with lunch on Friday, May 13.  The Continuing Retreat for participants who have already participated in an Introductory Retreat begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, and ends with lunch on Tuesday, May 10. 


The retreats are held at the Gilchrist Retreat Center near Three Rivers, Michigan. This is a lovely facility where you will be in private or two person hermitages (with private rooms) away from the common room.  During your three day stay, each day with a lovely walk through open fields or tufts of trees to a common house where you will meet with other GRCC employees.


The goal of Formation is to help those who work at GRCC sustain and renew their passion, enthusiasm and commitment to students, colleagues, the college itself, and the communities they serve.


In this retreat, skilled facilitators help create a quiet, focused, and disciplined space in which participants can pause and reflect on their own beliefs about working at the college. In large group, small group, and solitary settings, we will explore the intersection of our personal and professional lives, making use of stories from our own journeys, and insights from poets, storytellers and various wisdom traditions.


The Introductory Retreats are open to any GRCC employee, full-time, part-time, or adjunct.  The Continuing Retreats are open to any GRCC employee who has participated in an Introductory Retreat.

If you have questions, feel free to contact one of the co-facilitators, Frank Conner (, or 616-234-3612) or Judy Jankowski (, or 616-234-4409).