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Ideas for Staff Socials

I teach a large course with ~1,000 students and ~50 undergrad and grad student staff members. These staff members work hard to make the course great! To help create community I host a monthly social for the course staff. Here are a few of the ones I've done that I thought went really well. Leave a comment if you ended up trying one of these!


I created 20 Trivia questions split into two rounds of 10 questions. Each round people switched teams. I put extra thought into the trivia questions and tried to incorporate the following:

  1. Inside jokes. (ex. we recently had an icebreaker about ice cream so I made a whole category about ice cream)

  2. Questions that you can solve with logic and luck rather than memorization. (ex. how many people in the room think cereal is a soup?)

  3. Multiple avenues to figure out a question. (ex. asking about the latin saying on the Harry Potter Hogwarts crest. You can either know Latin or Harry Potter to get this question correct)

Here are the slides with the questions!

Potluck in the Park

I baked cookies (enough for all the staff) and invited staff to come and hang out on a grassy area outside of the Computer Science building. I told staff they could also bring snacks to share but it wasn't required.

Best Cookie Recipe

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cool, slightly softened butter (not melted)

  • 1 packed cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 cups Chocolate Chips


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  • Cream together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until creamy.

  • Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one.

  • Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix in with batter until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

  • Separate dough into large balls and place on cookie sheet. The dough makes 16 large cookies or 10 extra-large cookies.

  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on the top. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes to set.

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