Andrew Mills, CTL Faculty Associate, New Faculty Programming
Department Chair, Religion and Philosophy 2012 New Faculty PLC and Mentoring Program
As the CTL's Faculty Associate for the 2012-13 year, I have been focusing on new faculty programming and orientation. There is a fantastic group of twelve new faculty at Otterbein this year, and it has been a pleasure to spend the Fall semester working with them. They bring a wide range of experience and disciplinary expertise to campus, and they are all dedicated teachers who are highly committed to seeing that their students succeed both in and outside of their classrooms.
We spent two days prior to the beginning of the semester in New Faculty Orientation; it was a whirlwind two days--an avalanche of information and introductions and university acronyms came hurtling at them--but I'm hoping now, after 9 or so weeks of teaching, that they are well settled in to life at Otterbein.
Beyond the orientation, there are two programs that the CTL is leading to help new faculty: the New Faculty Professional Learning Community (PLC) and the New Faculty Mentoring Program. Many of the new folks are participating in both programs.
The New Faculty PLC, which is being co-facilitated by me and the amazing Shelley Payne (HSS), has met roughly every other week since the beginning of the semester. We have discussed student motivation, the student-centered learning paradigm, and classroom assessment techniques, among a host of other issues. These meetings--as those of you who have participated in PLCs yourselves well know--have been, in addition, an opportunity to decompress after a long and hard week and to find support and advice from a community of talented and compassionate colleagues. Many of us in the PLC will be heading to the International Lilly Conference on Teaching and Learning at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio the weekend before Thanksgiving. Lilly Conferences are a wonderful opportunity to hear about the latest advances in pedagogy and most people return from these conferences eager to try out in their classrooms new techniques that they have learned from the many fascinating conference sessions.
The New Faculty Mentoring Program works to pair up the new faculty with mentors from the, well, "not new" faculty at Otterbein. We host a series of panel discussions on teaching, scholarship, service and (the elusive) work-life balance. The sessions on teaching and scholarship happen this semester, and the other two sessions will take place in the Spring. We are grateful for the participation of the many experienced Otterbein faculty who have stepped forward as mentors to our new colleagues.
This is truly an amazing group of new colleagues, and if you haven't had a chance to speak with them, please do make an opportunity to do so. They bring talents as scholars and teachers to Otterbein, and I know that our community is better because of their presence on campus.