Individuals collaborate on project October 9

Collaboration: A Way to Promote Faculty Development and Reduce Burnout

By:

Faculty development and burnout pose challenges within departments and colleges of academic institutions. Constrained resources—asked to do more with less time, money, and personnel—contribute to faculty feeling overwhelmed (Gabriel, 2017) and can make faculty development difficult (Watts & Robertson, 2011).





Newton's Cradle with red ball April 19

Start Small, Finish Big

By:

You’ve just returned from a Teaching Professor Conference or read of an innovative teaching strategy in a book you devoured. You desperately want to incorporate the innovations you’ve learned into your own courses, but at that exact moment, you feel your energy drain when you imagine hearing unsupportive administrators utter their stern objections “to keep things the way they are.” You pause to look around, seeing older colleagues who have more teaching years behind than ahead of them—“I tried that once . . . “—knowing that they never received the administrative nod for their innovations.


Preparing your TA for the job February 25

Preparing Your TA for the Job

By:

The Teaching Assistant (TA) job is typically filled by an upper-level university student or graduate student. It’s a job that requires one to play several different roles. First and foremost, the TA is a student and must complete all responsibilities to maintain this status. Second, the TA has a responsibility to the hiring professor. To the professor, the TA is the assistant and must abide by the requirements set out by the professor. Third, the TA has a responsibility to the students in the class. The role here is that of teacher, tutor, and occasionally advisor.


new faculty orientation January 25

New Faculty Orientation Features Advice from Students

By:

As director of our faculty support center, one of my responsibilities is to coordinate an orientation program for new faculty. Years ago we decapitated the “talking head” format of traditional orientation sessions and now try to provide interactive sessions that introduce our new colleagues to both our campus policies and our campus culture. While the transition of most topics to the interactive format has been easy, the session on the course syllabus has remained relatively dry—until this year.


benefits of creating a strategy map January 23

Strategy Mapping: An Essential Tool for New Academic Faculty

By:

Finding your path to tenure as a novice educator can be daunting and anxiety provoking. It is reported that challenges for junior faculty are most often related to decoding expectations of the academic organization and creating relationships with colleagues (Kahanov et al, 2012).  Few tools exist to help new faculty navigate the complexity of the first years of academic life.

This article will introduce readers to a process called strategy mapping. The result of the process of strategy mapping is a tangible document called a strategy map.  Though strategy mapping is a process that originated within the business world, its applicability within academic settings holds much promise.  Within academic settings strategy maps can be used to prioritize teaching, research, and service expectations, particularly for novice educators who have little experience in the academic environment. This article will further demonstrate how the strategy mapping framework aligns with organizational expectations of academic life; how strategy maps can be used to optimize goal setting for new educators; and how strategy maps can be used as a tool to optimize structure and direction within formal mentorship relationships.


reflections on teaching November 8, 2018

Reflections on Teaching: From Surviving to Thriving

By:

Editor’s Note: In part one of this article, the author shared openly some of the mistakes he made early in his teaching career. In this entry, he outlines some of the changes he’s made to his teaching over the years and the principles he uses to guide his teaching.

I had known it all along at some level, but now it suddenly became glaringly obvious to me. Deep down, sometimes out of conscious reach, students want to be transformed and their lives made more useful, productive, and powerful. I added the following new goal to my personal mission statement:


teaching mistakes November 7, 2018

Reflections on Teaching: Mistakes I’ve Made

By:

I started teaching at American University at the age of 56 after a rewarding career as an environmental and wildlife film producer. That was almost ten years ago, and I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I had never taught before and I wasn’t even sure where to begin. I had no teaching philosophy beyond some vague, unarticulated feeling that I wanted my students to do well. And so, I started asking lots of questions.