WorkLife Conference 2019

8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
MSU Union (2nd Floor) Ballroom

Strengthening Community Together

The WorkLife Office hosts a regular conference to pull together speakers, resources and discussions to educate and empower faculty and staff across campus. This year's theme will be Strengthening Community Together with keynote Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt, faculty member at the University of Maryland, College Park. This conference is open to the MSU community and the goal is to learn how we can use our strengths to make MSU a stronger community.


Scholarships are available for this conference, please contact Jaimie Hutchison at to request a fee waiver for this conference.


Freedom as a Foundation for Collective Wellbeing
Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt

Concurrent Breakout Sessions:


Dr. Sharon Fries-Britt

This session will continue to explore the importance of freedom as a path to wellbeing. The stresses and challenges of an increasingly intense work environment as well as escalating societal tensions create traumas that confine our energy and ability to produce our best work. Unless we are intentional in our personal practice to thrive and soar, we will fall short individually and collectively in strengthening our community together. At every level, our freedoms must be restored for wellbeing to be fully realized. We must be free to act, think and speak-up.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To examine and identify key elements of a recovery framework to strengthen and guide community healing
  2. To discuss and explore personal strategies of well being that reinforce and lead to strengthening community


Jaimie Hutchison
This session offers practical tools to create a positive workplace environment in your professional life through active participation in the larger MSU and surrounding areas.  Presenters will describe ways to improve your work climate by becoming involved in the larger community.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of how work and life fit together.  (Click here for slides; requires MSU NetID)

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize how community care fits into the broader pursuit of building a positive work environment​
  2. Receive practical tools to improve your work climate through community involvement


Dr. Nancy A. Colflesh

Designed as a highly interactive learning experience, this session is created to expand participants’ views of leadership and offer strategies for providing ongoing encouragement and support for each other in the university setting. Well-known author and consultant Sally Helgesen’s model of “The Web of Inclusion” is used as a basis for learning and conversation.

  1. Present options for ongoing encouragement and support such as creative options for advising, forming professional reading groups, developing writing groups, etc.
  2. Generate, with the group, other creative ways to provide encouragement and ongoing support in the university setting.

Conference Schedule

  • Registration: 8:00 am – 8:30 am
  • Welcome: 8:30 am - 8:40 am
  • Keynote: 8:40 am - 9:30 am
  • Break: 9:30 am – 9:45 am
  • Break Out Sessions: 9:45 am – 11:00 am
  • Break and grab lunch: 11:00 am – 11:15 am
  • Lunch and wrap up summaries, goal setting: 11:15 am – 1:00 pm


Sharon Fries-Britt is a Professor of Higher Education at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education (CHSE).  Her research examines the experiences of high achieving Blacks in higher education and underrepresented minorities (URMs) in STEM fields. Dr. Fries-Britt has published widely within peer-reviewed journals and she has served on the editorial boards of The Journal of College Student DevelopmentThe Journal of Diversity in Higher Education and the College Student Affairs Journal. Recent work examines within group experiences of native and non-native Blacks in higher education as well as issues of campus racial climate. Dr. Fries-Britt is one of the faculty co-leads and authors of the recently published ACE report Speaking Truth and Acting With Integrity Confronting Challenges of Campus Racial Climate based on a case study of the University of Missouri and campus racial climate. She is also a co-PI on an NSF grant to examine to explore the academic trajectories of black transfer engineering students from community colleges. Her research has been funded and supported by the Lumina Foundation, National Society of Black Physicists and the National Science Foundation. Dr. Fries-Britt is a member of the American Institutes of Physics (AIP) National Task Force to Elevate African American Representation (TEAM-UP). With over 38 years of professional experience in the field of higher education she brings a wealth of knowledge, insight and experience to both research and practice.