Promoting Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service
Susan McMillen, associate professor of mathematics, was recently named director of faculty development, a newly created half-time position. McMillen will help to promote a campus culture and programming in support of excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service with the creation of a Faculty Development Center.
These efforts reflect the college’s strategic plan. “I’ll explore ways that faculty members on our campus can effectively work together,” McMillen said. “First and foremost, my vision is to provide opportunities for faculty members to reflect on their own practice.”
McMillen sees the need for mentoring opportunities, speakers, workshops, sample syllabi, and other resources to aid full-time as well as part-time and adjunct faculty. She’s already talked with new faculty and will help to promote long-standing resources, such as CASTL, to the campus.
For example, new faculty members have expressed an interest in starting writing groups, where they can share their research and writing, and obtain feedback from colleagues. Acting as a clearinghouse, McMillen will help set up the groups, and then “each group will set its own norms and schedules,” she said.
“The college values excellence in teaching,” McMillen said. “Sometimes, it’s as simple as discovering how to use new software. Or it may involve more philosophical conversations about how we teach.”
A “kickoff” event—the Faculty Development Forum—will assess the needs of professional development for new and seasoned faculty members at all levels. Both tenured and nontenured faculty members are invited to share their ideas on Friday, October 24, from 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. in E. H. Butler Library 210. Those who are interested in attending are encouraged to e-mail McMillen. Faculty members who are unable to attend the forum are invited to submit their ideas via e-mail as well.
“Our faculty members have lots of responsibilities and limited time,” McMillen said. “We want to let faculty members know that we value their participation in development activities, that we are willing to risk change.”
McMillen will prepare a campus faculty development plan based on feedback results of the forum. The plan should be available in late October.