From the Director - April 2019

April 17, 2019 / By: Dr. Kris Wammer (Director, Center for Faculty Development / Associate Professor of Chemistry)

Kris WammerThis is our last installment of Synergia for the current academic year, and this will be my final “From the Director” column as I transition to a new role in the College of Arts and Sciences in the coming weeks. During the past two years as Director of Faculty Development I have gained a deep appreciation for the many people at St. Thomas who choose to use their time and talents to support their faculty colleagues through faculty development programming. This of course includes the tremendous Center staff: Roxanne Kendle, Mary Reichardt, and Elizabeth Smith. But it also includes faculty colleagues way too numerous to list here. To the faculty development committee members who carefully read and discuss countless grant applications, to the faculty who run major programs such as classroom consulting and mentorship, and to the dozens of faculty members who lead workshops and other forms of programming throughout the year: I am profoundly grateful for all you do. I will miss working with all of you in my capacity as director, and I am excited to see what you continue to accomplish in the coming years.

I will leave you with just one piece of found wisdom gained due to my time in this role. Before I joined the Center, I participated in faculty development programming when I could, but I didn’t often prioritize it. We as faculty members are so very busy, getting pulled in many directions at once, and it can be hard to decide that investing in ourselves as teachers and scholars is important enough to be worth the time. After all, that stack of exams won’t grade itself if I choose to spend a couple of hours instead learning a new strategy or discussing tricky classroom dynamics. Having been in this role has, therefore, been a gift to myself that I didn’t anticipate when stepping into it. I’ve had the privilege of learning from so many people with whom I likely never would have crossed paths previously, both inside and outside of St. Thomas, and my thinking about how I approach my faculty roles has expanded in unexpected ways. I am certain that no matter what happens in the future, I am now a faculty development junkie for life. I know that if an opportunity is offered and seems like something I wish I had time to participate in, I should do what I can to make it happen. My parting wish for you is that you can do the same. I’ll see you there.