Thursday, January 8, 2015

Bridging the Divide Between Faculty and Administration

Inside Higher Ed
January 7th, 2015

 Last month, at the request of those on the campus that I oversee, we established a monthly evening social for the faculty and staff. The idea came up as an effort to better integrate adjunct faculty as part of the campus and help develop a sense of community among full-time, day and evening faculty, and staff. As a community college, the majority of our courses are taught by adjunct faculty who often travel among multiple colleges to teach or by professionals who hold a full-time day job, and teaching is their evening, weekend, or online part-time occupation. By hosting an evening social hour and alternating the days, we hope to provide an opportunity for those who can’t attend day-time town hall meetings and other events to get to know the rest of the campus and for us to get to know them.
This week, I held the second evening social. The first faculty and staff social attracted many people as the President was the official host. This week, without the President, it was more intimate gathering and felt less official. I got a chance to have more than just a passing conversation with folks about how things are going for them personally and professionally as the semester is gearing up to its end. This gave me a chance to really get to know my faculty and fellow administrative colleagues. Some of my colleagues, before the social, I would say I knew very well since I had worked closely with them on assessing student learning outcomes—work that creates professional disagreement and tensions that have to be resolved. Through our disagreements, we developed an appreciation for each other as professionals and our epistemological differences and approaches to assessment, empiricism, what qualifies as evidence, etc. I felt that I knew most of my colleagues and knew them well.

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