Meet the Team: The Faces Behind the Center for Lifelong Learning

Meet the Team: The Faces Behind the Center for Lifelong Learning

The Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) at Columbia Theological Seminary seeks to connect disciples as they learn in community.

CLL courses and programs give lifelong learners opportunities to engage in courses designed to assist with the daily challenges of ministry and in related professional settings.

During the unsettling changes our world is experiencing, the CLL continues to provide avenues of learning to assist with these challenges.

Continuously working to pivot courses and plan ahead as the situation permits, the CLL is run by a team of six: Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning, Sarah Erickson, Director, Lifelong Learning, Debra Weir, Associate Director, Spirituality, Linzmarie Bason (not pictured), Staff Associate, Chassidy Goggins, Media and Marketing Coordinator and Alison Riviere Certificate Programs Coordinator and Thriving in Ministry Grant Project Director Assistant.

Below you’ll learn more about their respective roles, how they’re adapting to work changes and their recommendations for filling in free-time while sheltering in place.

 

Israel Galindo

What is your role within the CLL?
I serve as Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning. Alongside an amazing team, I plan, direct, and oversee the many program offerings of the CLL.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
Other than switching from an on-campus office to and off-campus at-home office the work has pretty much stayed the same. It’s been a matter of being flexible, adapting, re-scheduling, and planning ahead. The full impact of this experience is yet to be seen, so we’ll continue to be as fleet and innovative as we can.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? 
I post a daily “caption contest” doodle on Facebook and I’m working ahead on blog posts for various blog sites.

 

Sarah Erickson
What is your role within the CLL?
The title on the business card is “Director of Lifelong Learning.” The role, while multi-faceted, primarily includes program planning, implementation and evaluation for about a third of the CLL’s courses and two certificate programs, administration, including course budget compilation and review, supervision, and coordination of some key aspects of our shared work.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
Adjustments include taking a lunch break at my kitchen table instead of eating “at my desk” and learning to use some of the tools we have available via Microsoft 365 and SharePoint more effectively. I am keeping my morning routine of exercise. I keep a running list of little house projects that I can tackle in 10-15 minute “breaks” so I get up and move around; finding ways to move around and not be sedentary are important. I do miss seeing my colleagues face to face and enjoy the chances for phone or video calls.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? 
I’d recommend virtual gatherings with friends and or family, spending time outdoors at the end of the day, appreciating the birds, blooming flowers (in spite of oak and other pollens!), listening to music and trying new recipes. Right now, the most important activity for me is reading (books with paper pages, not screens).

 

Debra Weir
What is your role within the CLL?
My role within the CLL is developing and managing the two certificate programs in Christian Spirituality: Spiritual Formation and Spiritual Direction. This includes working with program leaders to create courses and support them in their roles. I also serve as an adviser to participants in both programs.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
I enjoy working in my home study that has a great view of a forested area, and sometimes birds come to my window. Working in casual clothes is also a plus!  I have had to adjust to the work patterns of my husband who is also working from home. We have to make agreements about interruptions. Other distractions have to do with construction work at my home that sometimes can be noisy.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? 
A #stayhome activity I’d recommend is to pick up an old hobby or start a new one. This week I used my sewing machine for the first time in probably two years! OK, it was only to make face masks, but I did enjoy using fabric to make something to wear!  This may also be an opportunity to create a consistent rhythm of prayer and spiritual practice.

 

Linzmarie Bason
What is your role within the CLL?
Coordinator for non-certificate programs.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
My kid’s daycare is closed and trying to work full-time with two three-year-olds is very very trying because you feel like you’re letting down both.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? I walk around with the boys in the morning and play on the grass. I play the “Amelie” soundtrack from Spotify and then the boys and I come back home for “french time”.  They watch a french video and I check my email (calmest part of the day then it goes to pits).

 

Chassidy Goggins
What is your role within the CLL?
I’m the Media and Marketing Coordinator. I manage the CLL’s social media accounts, blog and assist with print ads and publications.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
Pretty well I’d say. I’m an introvert so I may be embracing the #stayhome ordinance a little better than others! I enjoy working home but admit that I miss the human interaction of the physical workplace.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? 
There are tons of things people can focus on right now. We all know the situation looming over our heads, but this is also a prime time for personal development, catching up with family and revisiting goals you abandoned some time ago. I’ve been reading more, writing, exercising and of course indulging in Netflix a few times a week.

 

Alison Riviere
What is your role within the CLL?
I am the Certificate Programs Coordinator, which means I aid the directors specifically in certificate-related classes such as Certificate in Spiritual Formation (CSF), Certificate in Spiritual Direction (CSD) and Older Adult Ministry (OAM). I also assist in the administrative management for the Pastoral Excellence programs, Leadership in Ministry and the Healthy Transitions Wellness Retreat.

 

How are you adapting to changes in workflow?
Not being able to just pop my head into the office next door has proven more challenging than I thought. Everything is done electronically and not only do I miss the face to face time with co-workers but a 2-minute conversation can turn into a two-hour-long back and forth between emails.

 

What’s one #stayhome or sheltering in place activity you’re currently doing or would recommend? 
I have a to-do list. It’s mostly a list of projects I’ve kept putting off. Cleaning the pantry, reorganizing art supplies, framing that photo that’s been on my desk for two months or finish an e-book from the library before it’s due. That way I have a running list of options. Plus there currently isn’t a looming deadline for when it or if it needs to be finished. I am also a huge supporter of board games.  My husband and I have adapted a few to be played with a webcam on the board so we can get others in on the game.

The Center for Lifelong Learning, connecting as disciples, learning through community. To learn more about the CLL’s courses and program offerings, click here.

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