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Support of New Faculty Members:
Recommendations of the CAT Faculty Advisory Group and Other Invited Faculty

In November 2004, the Center staff met with members of the its Faculty Advisory Group and 1st- and 2nd-year faculty members to discuss ways in which the Center could better support and serve new faculty members in their first few years at Xavier. The responses from these discussions are organized below into one or both of the following categories:

  1. Events: In most cases, the Center could implement the suggestion by simply hosting a new workshop, brown-bag discussion, or symposium, or by organizing a venue in which the appropriate persons may meet to discuss whatever may be the topic at hand. In some cases, the Center may need to add something extra to an event it already hosts.
  2. Service or Support: In order for the Center to respond to this suggestion, it would need to develop the capacity to provide the appropriate support or service. In most instances, the service or support needed isn't currently provided in any (substantive) way by the Center.

It is important to note that not every suggestion necessarily relates to the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, whose goal is to advance and make public the art and science of teaching and learning. Some suggestions may be more appropriately handled by, for example, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Counseling Center, or Center for Undergraduate Research.

We'd also like to note that these are the opinions of faculty members that were shared at the brainstorming sessions. The opinions expressed are neither necessarily consensus opinions nor the opinions of CAT staff.

The recommendations:

Events

  • New faculty could benefit from having specific training on advising students
  • Instead of requiring first-year faculty who receive release time to participate in CPWG, have a handful of informal meetings for them throughout the year
  • Other important issues for new faculty include time management and advising
  • Develop a luncheon series for new faculty members
  • Xavier's mentoring program is a "waste of time." — The mentor-mentee relationship doesn't exist for most people; instead of the mentoring program, have a series of meetings once or twice a month with new faculty and veteran faculty members
  • New faculty need support over the first 3 years, then lessening to tenure
  • Ask new faculty often, "How is your class going? What could we do to make your work better or help you stay fresher?"
  • Provide release time for all first-year teachers at Xavier; require them to participate in seminars or meetings; after 3rd-year review, provide for a semester of 50% reduction for research
  • Introduce new faculty members to the student evaluation; promote use of mid-semester evaluations
  • Continue to encourage new faculty members to participate in CPWG; have events outside of CPWG for new faculty members, but without any "assignments;" it's nice to have a group to share experiences (e.g., How do we adapt to culture of Xavier?)
  • Host a Q&A session with experienced faculty in spring: How to balance teaching/research/service?
  • Have breakfast get-togethers with CAT and veteran faculty; have informal meetings to discuss the structure of the University; be sure to have a "theme"
  • Introduce alternatives and adjuncts to lectures and collaborative learning at New Faculty Orientation
  • Help faculty understand committees and committee service at XU

Classroom management; focus on the student

  • Consider offering Joe Byrd's workshop on "Classroom Management" and the student handbook; what is the University policy on, for example, the unruly student?
  • Do more to help faculty understand our students — their behavior, perspectives, etcetera; videotape students and analyze students
  • Provide workshops or brown-bag discussion on classroom management issues (e.g., dealing with troublesome students, managing/planning class time)
  • Develop a searchable database of, for example, FAQs (What should I do about cell phones in my class? What are students' rights and privileges? What if a parent contacts me?); plan to hold Joe Byrd's session again
  • In the 1st year, focus on classroom issues (e.g., grading, library resources, grade distribution)

Research

  • Provide 1st-year faculty with a forum to present their research; such a forum may serve to keep veteran faculty "fresher" and more in touch with research
  • Create time for faculty and students; promote faculty conversations with students in the dorms; bring faculty and students together; students have extraordinary focus and purposefulness; they also respect those who teach them

General advice

  • Shift the workshop times around in the day
  • Pick a time slot — T 12:15 PM
  • Weekend retreat, with follow-up meeting(s); provide time to connect with colleagues across disciplines; discuss student learning and classroom management; possibly coordinate with Faith and Learning retreats?
  • Provide a set of experiences (e.g., brown-bag discussions) for 2nd-year faculty
  • Help make people feel a part of XU; work to bring Deans and faculty together (Drs. Francis & Labat, Joe Byrd); aim for a culture shift [diminish importance of titles (Dr. this/Dr. that)]
  • Invite Sponsored Programs to do sessions; have grant-writing workshop (research) in the spring to help prepare for first summer; have discussions on all forms of scholarship
  • Help faculty understand their role as a confidant or counselor to students
  • Provide faculty opportunities to learn about or investigate theories of teaching and learning and assessment

Service or Support

Peer Review of Teaching

  • CAT could help develop a more formal peer review of teaching for summative purposes; tenure faculty need more info about colleagues for whom they're writing letters of recommendation; work with faculty on how to do peer review of their colleagues' teaching; develop a standardized form for peer review purposes
  • Create a list of faculty who will do peer review of teaching for formative purposes; develop a process that new faculty could tap into; work with faculty on how to do peer review of their colleagues' teaching; someone might use the peer review of teaching process in a scholarship of teaching and learning project
  • Create a list of faculty who are open to having other faculty observe their classes; include in such a database information about the class, teaching style, etc.
  • Provide a list of faculty who will allow visitors to see them teach; if someone's doing something particularly interesting, list this information

Resources

  • Create a library of faculty teaching resources; the library could be used by other faculty who wish to see other teaching methods and styles
  • Develop a library of faculty first-hand accounts of their experience at XU
  • Develop a list of software that is available for faculty use
  • Develop a searchable database of, for example, FAQs (What should I do about cell phones in my class? What are students' rights and privileges? What if a parent contacts me?); plan to hold Joe Byrd's session again
  • Consider videotaping workshops for people who can't attend; videos could be edited when issues of confidentiality arise
  • Develop a "hotline" of sorts for faculty who need help with a particular problem or issue
  • Publish an e-newsletter either biweekly or monthly with information about events, a faculty features, and an interesting article
  • Phonebooks would be helpful
  • Possibly a phone bank/address bank for new faculty; new faculty with pictures on our Web page
  • A directory of faculty with picture; the picture should go on the hotline list
  • Faculty may not know about our technical abilities/help (e.g. color printer); do a better job of advertising what we have
  • Provide teaching tip books to new faculty
  • Provide a list of faculty who will allow visitors to see them teach; if someone's doing something particularly interesting, list this information
  • Mentoring opportunities: Where faculty can seek a mentor or mentors

Research

  • During the 1st 2 years, new faculty need some kind of substantial support mechanism to establish a research program; help develop a support group for faculty members' scholarly efforts
  • Faculty need help integrating students into their research; there can be a downside to working with students, since it takes time to mentor students (and ultimately it may be more efficient to do the work yourself)
  • Regarding research, help faculty understand what's valued and what kind of documentation is needed; provide a sample R&T portfolio/dossier

Teaching award

  • Reinstate the teaching award
  • Reinstate the teaching award, but not a "best" teacher, but an annual award for outstanding teaching; the faculty association used to give the Asa Sims award; take nominations; ask permission for a committee to review a file; provide course relief as a reward.

General advice

  • Develop programs so that faculty have a relationship with CAT
  • Keep in mind that CAT is under the protection, not direction, of the administration (This is not the way it was in the beginning.)
  • Consider how we establish the campus for students and faculty as a focal point for academic life
  • Keep in mind that there are classroom issues such as the lack of e-rooms on campus
  • Continue to support the course portfolio project
  • If the Center has staff expertise needs, do not hire a professional faculty developer; instead, consider bringing experts in for longer periods of time to work with more people or work with them longer
  • Provide support for Blackboard early on
  • Provide release time
  • Provide assistance to ABDs to (a) make time for working on their dissertations, and (b) to help make the intellectual work of the dissertation in the forefront of their minds; the need to maintain a research effort and to stay close to research persists after year one; in general, balancing research and teaching is very difficult given our teaching load
  • Do something to help faculty prepare for 3rd-year review and possibly tenure review as well
  • Provide faculty opportunities to learn about or investigate theories of teaching and learning and assessment
  • Help find ways to have more facilities or opportunities for faculty to do some physical exercises toward minimizing work-related pressure/stress (small things like a place to play table tennis or even informal get-togethers for a walk or two per week on a regular basis)
  • Survey new faculty at end of year: (1) Biggest challenge? (2) What would they like to see added to CAT's support for new faculty?

Participants in the Support of New Faculty discussions, November 2004

  • Biology
    • Charles Bell
    • Trey Brown
    • Kevin Delaney
    • Harish Ratnayaka
  • Business
    • Anil Kukreja
    • Jean Meyer
  • Center for the Advancement of Teaching
    • Bart Everson
    • Janice Florent
    • Todd Stanislav
    • Gayna Stevens-Credle
  • Chemistry
    • Michael Adams
    • Kathleen Morgan
  • College of Pharmacy
    • Lanny Foss
    • Tyrone McBayne
    • Janel Bailey Wheeler
    • Tom Wiese
  • Communications
    • Dominique Gendrin
    • Ross Louis
  • Computer Sciences & Computer Engineering
    • Shanmugalingam Easwaran
    • Andrea Edwards
    • Marguerite Giguette
  • English
    • Nicole Greene
    • David Lanoue
    • Bonnie Noonan
    • Biljana Obradovic
  • History
    • Wendy Gaudin
    • Betsy Hemenway
    • Steve Salm
  • Languages
    • Bernardo Roman-Beato
  • Library
    • Ed McDonald
  • Mathematics
    • Paul McCreary
  • Philosophy
    • Thora Bayer
    • Paul Schafer
  • Psychology
    • Charles Gramlich
    • Lisa Schulte
  • Theology
    • Sr. Mary Ann Stachow

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