A Note from the New Chair of the Education Committee

After serving eight years on the Education Committee, four of which were at the helm as Committee Chair, Roberta Zeug Shell has passed the baton. This month, the Education Committee welcomes Heather MacKenzie as its new chair. Heather is a WGM faculty member and has been a member of the Education Committee for the past year. Heather is also a member of the Finance Committee, previously serving as WGM Treasurer (2017-19). She is deeply invested in advancing the Guild’s DEI initiatives and supporting the Guild’s digital programming work in the coming year.

Hello WGM Members!

I first became involved in WGM because of my interest in education. I’m excited to bring my dual passions for education and weaving to my new role as Chair of the Education Committee.

The Guild is unique as educational models go. In non-pandemic times, when our classrooms are open and bustling with activity, instructors and students have access to beautiful facilities and equipment. Instructors also have substantial freedom to tailor courses to their particular interests (my own mind-bending theoretical offerings have included “Expanding the Pliable Plane” and “Drafting Off the Deep End”). Students often inspire class offerings through direct input and evaluations.

The Education Committee is a working committee. Supporting Betsy, our Education Manager, we help to design, implement, and evaluate a robust learning program; recruit and train faculty; maintain classrooms and equipment; and establish policies and procedures for our education program activities – among many other things. In recent meetings, we have grounded our discussions in diversity, equity, and inclusion, work that we see as imperative if we want to truly represent all Minnesotans.

While coronavirus remains a very real threat, we are erring on the side of caution. We really miss seeing all of you in person so much, but the health of our staff, members, students, and instructors is too important to us to risk. Out of an abundance of caution, our classes will be digital-only through at least the end of the year.

Much hard work has gone into adapting and developing our digital platform. There has been A LOT of heavy lifting! Betsy, Ever Woodward, and members of the Education Committee are working one-on-one to train and support individual instructors. As instructors and classes are ready, we are sharing them with you!

Being nimble and responsive has meant, for the time being, sacrificing our seasonal class catalog. We understand that we have scheduled some events without very much notice, and we are doing our best to mitigate this and keep you informed!

In my role as Treasurer and Finance Committee chair (2017-2019), I really wanted to be accessible to members and to work as transparently as I was able. I bring the same ambitions in my role as Chair of the Education Committee. I welcome your direct comments, concerns, and suggestions. We all contribute to WGM’s resilience!

Again, I welcome your feedback: please get in touch! Happy weaving, spinning, and dyeing!

Heather MacKenzie
Chair, WGM Education Committee