At COBEC’s twenty-fourth bi-annual meeting held on February 8-9, 2002 at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, the membership began to hear the rumblings of a CAFÉ (College Administration/Faculty Experience)sub-committee. Valdosta State University, Georgia College & State University, and ATLIB shared that they were organizing a faculty development workshop for faculty from the various Belizean partner institutions. This workshop would focus on teaching improvement and was slated to be held in May 2002 at Muffles Junior College. During this meeting, Adrian Leiva submitted a small grant proposal to offer this workshop which would be entitled Strategies on College Teaching. The membership subsequently approved the request of $1,125.00 US. Through additional funding from the participating institutions, this workshop was realized, and it became the first CAFÉ activity. At the next COBEC meeting held in July 2002 at Murray State University, the CAFÉ sub-committee was formally established as a general framework for Belizean and US institutions to work together for the purpose of faculty development and instructional improvement. CAFÉ stands for College Administrator/Faculty Experience. CAFÉ workshops would connect with the ATLIB list of priorities. At the very least, these workshops would address ongoing short term professional needs of ATLIB institutions. CAFÉ would also be a conduit for faculty-to-faculty links requested over time. The membership is encouraged to put out a list of requests for professional collaboration on the web on an ongoing basis. So far, the manner of joining a CAFÉ activity is informally through the discussions arising at the COBEC conferences.
CAFÉ training activities have taken three formats: as part of the COBEC conference, as a collaborative effort with ATLIB conferences, and as individual institutions conducting workshops for their own faculty members. The workshops have four established goals:
CAFÉ Workshops held in the past as part of the COBEC Conference are:
Areas of interest recently expressed are library training, student services, marine biology, linguistics, tourism and hospitality, and an administration exchange program.
Funding so far has been met in large part by the participating institutions with some assistance from the COBEC small grants program which has been established as a budget line item. Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize (ATLIB) has also co-funded a number of projects.
The COBEC Study Abroad Committee supports member institutions developing and offering study abroad programs related to Belize and Belize members working with study abroad programs through information-sharing, outlining of best practices, and opportunities to liaise with each other.