SAIL Ambassadors: Introducing SAIL to My Learners

In the Summer of 2019, a group of faculty and staff at Northeastern convened for another series of SAIL Ambassador Working Groups. SAIL Ambassadors are educators from across all roles and contexts at the university who are invested in working together to advance SAIL and help the Northeastern community use SAIL to its greatest impact. Some ambassadors also choose to join a working group to collaboratively produce outcomes that support the Northeastern community’s integration of SAIL.

The “Introducing SAIL to My Learners” working group has a goal of learning how others are using SAIL with their learners to create a resource database of examples and tips for educators to get started. The group consists of Lindsay Petrarca, an Academic Advisor in the NU Global Office; Anna Wright, a Technical Specialist for the D’Amore-McKim School of Business; Megan Pirrello, the Learning and Development Consultant for Human Resources Management; and Sharon Persons, the Director of the Law Library.

How did you become interested in SAIL?
Megan Pirrello first became interested in SAIL when she joined Human Resources and her supervisor had just finished their working group. It was her supervisor that suggested Pirrello should join the next round of working groups. “It’s been a really great experience to get to know SAIL better and to help me incorporate it into the HR programs,” Pirrello said.

Lindsay Petrarca also learned about it through her supervisor being in a previous working group. “I work with graduate students and a lot of the concepts that SAIL talks about apply to everyone. I didn’t see it as much in the grad population so I was interested in bringing it to my students and spreading more awareness and usability of SAIL to the university,” Petrarca explained.

Anna Wright attended several of the SAIL workshops that Hilary [Schuldt, Director of Project and Team Strategy at CATLR] and Dave [Merry, Associate Director of Experiential Integration at SAIL] taught on integrating SAIL into courses. Wright has begun working with faculty in D’Amore-McKim to help them integrate it into their syllabus or map their courses in SAIL. “I wanted to learn more about SAIL and, being new to the university, I also wanted to meet faculty and staff from other departments and colleges,” Wright said.

Sharon Persons learned about SAIL from her manager Lydia Lafionatis, another SAIL Ambassador. “There’s a lot of synergies between SAIL and the Law library’s strategic plan like lifelong learning, information and digital literacy, work life balance” Persons said. “The staff and I have a working group where we analyze what we already do that relates to SAIL and translate that content into SAIL speak as well as use the portal.”

Introducing SAIL to My Learners
The goal for this working group is to collect examples of how SAIL is being used across the university. They are calling for the Northeastern community to give feedback on one’s own and potentially others’ experiences in SAIL. The group has created a short survey that anyone interested in providing feedback can use. People are encouraged to further reach out if they are open to a short interview on their experience.

“We’re really open to [people of all experience ranges from] using SAIL just for one reflection exercise or you fully integrate it into the course. One of the things we want to get out in our call for people to contact us, is that you really don’t have to have a creative amazing skyscraper, you can just have one story of a modest house,” Persons explained with a laugh.

The group plans to take the knowledge and resources gained from these interviews to create a metadata in the long term. Their first deliverable will be a summary memo and an addendum of the content they have collected. The team is addressing those who are unsure of how to get started with SAIL by providing accessible examples that make it easier for people to pick and choose what methods work best for them in terms of integration. Anna Wright said how seeing other colleagues’ work at a recent workshop by Hilary Schuldt was inspiring and showed others how they can get started, such as with a syllabus. 

Who should participate in the survey and or interview?
Anybody in the Northeastern community that is using SAIL in some way or is brainstorming ways to use it with learners, even students. Sharon Persons explained that this group wants to  inspire people to share their work and ideas. To say ‘Hey, I haven’t done it yet but here’s my syllabus and I’m thinking about it’ or ‘I’m a staff member and I’m trying to be a leader at work and here’s how it works for me,” that it would benefit the whole community. 

Interviews will be around 15 minutes to half an hour, and coffee will be provided. The group thanks anyone in advance who is willing to share, whether it’s through the survey or an interview. “If you interview with us, you will laugh,” Lindsay Petrarca explained with a smile.

To take part in the survey, click here.

If you have any further questions, please email Megan Pirrello at