Faculty and Staff Development
The College offers a one-day New Faculty Retreat during New Student Orientation week. The director of the TLC and one of the academic deans attend this retreat. The retreat includes some social activities and an introduction to teaching on the block plan and support for faculty scholarship at the college. The TLC holds a session for new faculty each block to further introduce them to the various aspects of the College.
The Chair is the point of ongoing contact for new faculty members in a department. In addition, the Chair may wish to assign a departmental mentor to a new faculty member. Some Chairs host receptions for new department faculty early in the fall semester. Information for new faculty is available here but this cannot substitute for the chair's introduction to the department and college.
Some discussion of teaching on the block plan, of departmental policies and expectations, of College resources for research and development (development blocks, divisional R&D funds, the Benezet and Mrachek summer grants, Student-Faculty Collaborative grants, etc.), and of course evaluations will be useful to new members of the department. Chairs should also discuss basic grade policies and procedures, such as the use of the ‘incomplete’ grade, the submission of grade sheets by their due dates to the Registrar’s Office, the function of the class waitlist, and the drop/add slip by which students change courses after preregistration, as well as required course evaluations and classroom observations. It should not be assumed that a new faculty member will discover this information on his or her own. The new faculty member should be introduced to the TLC and encouraged to attend TLC seminars. The Chair should discuss the criteria for tenure with new tenure-track faculty each year, taking as a starting point the information in the Faculty Handbook, Part Two, VII.
Chairs should discuss academic advising with second-year tenure-track faculty, who will be assigned student advisees for the first time. Chairs should review with their second-year tenure-track faculty the all-college requirements, the degree-progress report forms and transcripts available from the Registrar’s Office, and departmental major requirements and expectations regarding majors advising.
In addition to department efforts toward integrating new faculty into the life of the College, the Dean’s Office assigns a faculty mentor from a cognate discipline to each new tenure-track faculty. The mentor-mentee program is voluntary, and may or may not be used extensively by the new faculty member. Since the mentor is not a member of the new faculty’s department, Chairs should not assume that the new faculty member will learn about department matters through this mentoring program.
During the summer, mentors may contact the new faculty (and vice versa). The mentors provide a perspective on teaching, scholarship, and service at the college from outside the department. They provide a safe person with whom you may discuss problems you are having, especially in class, since they will not be allowed to write for your reviews, unless you specifically request this. You will receive details about this program separately (attached).
The Mentor's responsibilities include:
- Conversations about College policies and procedures
- Conversations about teaching, service and research at the College
- Conversations about the construction of block-plan syllabi, course assignments and examinations, and course evaluations
- Classroom visits- on mutual agreement
- Conversations about on-going assessment of students' work in courses, the 'pacing' of the block, student comprehension of course material, and other course-related issues
- Support and advice regarding all additional academic aspects of their first year at the College
The Dean’s Office and the Crown Faculty Center sponsor a luncheon with all the new faculty and faculty mentors usually in the third week of block 1. This ensures that people have met and provides an opportunity to pass out copies of the Faculty Handbook and usually other information about teaching.
The Dean’s Office has a three-year grant from the Mellon Foundation (first year was 2010-11) to add three major initiatives to the first orientation meeting. Your attendance at these events is required, and we do offer a small stipend for the two events that fall outside normal faculty working periods.
- First, is a two-day Liberal Arts Seminar during half-block. The primary purpose is to guide new faculty, many of whom have never experienced a liberal arts education in a small residential college, to an understanding of what the college is about and how they might best succeed here. This has included modest readings about the origin, nature, and current issues in the liberal arts, and also six classroom presentations by experienced faculty representing six fields (usually different from the participants’ fields) and six styles (e.g. a natural feature, a text, an image, a formula, an historical moment, a sociological group). The group reflects on the teaching pedagogies employed and in the wrap-up session, we ask people to ponder the nature of successful teaching in a setting like CC.
- Second, is a Scholarship Workshop, in early fall of the second year. We ask participants to develop a research plan that addresses where the scholar would like to be in two years, before tenure and in a decade. These are read by a couple of senior faculty (not from departments of those participating) and ideally by a Dean from a peer institution all of whom comment on and offer suggestions to the faculty. Sessions during the workshop include readings and discussions of the role of scholarship in teaching at a small liberal arts college (what are hindrances and supports, for instance), and again bring experienced faculty to discuss how they have balanced these activities and succeeded at the college.
- Third is a two-part opportunity during the second year.
- New faculty will be supported either to return to their previous institution to consult and work with people there (e.g. doctoral advisor) or to bring such a person to campus for several days for consultation and public lectures.
- The second aspect of this feature is a meeting at CC with new faculty from other institutions (e.g. ACM, peers) in similar fields to our new faculty for a period of reflection on issues and expectations at these schools. Topics may include constructing a career over time (the unexpected changes, etc.), faculty governance and the role of service, comments from senior faculty on preparing a file, and comments from faculty who have gone through reviews recently on how to handle and respond to criticisms.
The Dean’s Office urges Chairs to support as far as possible specific faculty member’s interests in teaching, scholarship, and service, even when such interests take the faculty member outside the department. For example, the College encourages team-teaching and interdisciplinary teaching, participation at professional conferences and workshops (including the Midwest Faculty Seminars), and service on college committees. The Dean’s Office supports the work of the TLC in promoting conversations about the central activities of Colorado College. Chairs should remind departmental colleagues about divisional research and development funds and other funds supporting scholarship and pedagogical innovation.
Conferences, institutes, or workshops (including ACM conferences and workshops) on such topics as technology in the disciplines may be appropriate for various department staff. In addition, the Dean’s Office strongly urges Chairs to support a staff assistant’s attendance at Colorado College Human Resources workshops and seminars.