News from the Director

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Ann Johnson, Director
Center for Faculty Development

One thing I like about academic life is the mix of constancy and change each new year brings us. The academic calendar provides a repeated, familiar framework for organizing our courses and committee meetings, but each semester delivers a set of fresh faces in our classrooms, new goals, new challenges to meet. In the Faculty Development Center we faced quite a bit of change over the summer: A new director and new associate director (Elizabeth Smith came on board in October). We are beginning to get our bearings, and thankfully, Pat Alexander is still here to keep us sane, organized, and informed. While we’re working on some new initiatives to address faculty needs, I want to be sure to communicate that we are continuing our commitment to programs that have proven to be valuable for faculty: Writing Across the Curriculum and Faculty Writers groups, Stephen Brookfield workshops, our classroom consultation services, Fabulous Fridays, summer seminars, support for new faculty, and workshops supporting IDEA implementation and innovative classroom technologies. Our support for these proven programs remains constant, as does our commitment to supporting your teaching and scholarship through a variety of grant opportunities.

What’s new? We’ve started a discussion series focused on issues relevant for women faculty (cosponsored with the Women’s Center) and are planning a reading group on issues facing faculty of color. Watch for workshops (in collaboration with the Faculty Grants Office) to jump-start your external grant writing. We’re looking at ways to provide support for blended course design to specific units and groups around campus. We’re exploring methods for providing teaching tips and training online through webinars and video. Our classroom consulting group is offering a new “Teaching Tune-Up” service – a way for you to get valuable feedback and fine-tune some teaching strategies. In the Spring we’ll offer a series of workshops on critical thinking. Finally, I’d like to start a Faculty Conversations series – an opportunity for faculty to come together and discuss topics or readings that engage us. So – we’re holding on to what works and moving in a few new directions at the same time.

Another constant: our interest in reaching you and providing programming that faculty members want and need. Toward that end we will soon send out a survey to gather your thoughts and preferences. I hope you’ll take 5-10 minutes to fill it out. It will help us serve you more effectively. Or feel free to contact me directly with your ideas. We are here to help you grow professionally – and that includes managing the changes and new challenges that each academic year brings.

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