5f. Unit Facilitation of Professional Development
1. How is professional development related to needs identified in unit evaluations of faculty? How does this occur
In line with the conceptual framework, the Unit encourages the faculty to be life-long learners. Opportunities for support of professional development are available at the unit and university level. As evidenced via the growth plans required of all faculty members, ongoing professional development is critical and required. Faculty also report and reflect on professional development activities in annual self evaluations. Faculty, in consultation with the Chair, decide together what professional development activities should be planned for the upcoming calendar year. The faculty may examine course content and choose development activities that enhance their knowledge of specific new concepts and theories. The faculty may also choose to seek funding for a particular research project that will offer a research opportunity to a student.
2. What professional development activities are offered to faculty related to performance assessment, diversity, technology, emerging practices, and the unit’s conceptual framework
The university encourages professional development in a number of ways. Examples include a full-day faculty workshop in the fall, the Millikin Interdisciplinary Faculty Conference in February, and ongoing faculty development workshops coordinated by the Dean of Teaching and Learning that included such topics as teaching ethical reasoning, advising, teaching excellence, and Moodle in the 2008−2009 series. Additionally, new faculty members are supported by participating in new faculty orientation prior to the start of the school year. At the orientation, new faculty are introduced to a faculty mentor that is assigned by the Dean of Teaching and Learning. The mentors help new faculty adapt to academic life and engage in the Millikin community. Also, there are a series of new faculty networking events that include the opportunity to learn about student advising and annual self-evaluations.
3. How often does faculty participate in professional development activities both on and off campus? (Include adjunct/part-time, tenured, and non-tenured faculty, as well as graduate teaching assistants.)
Up until fall 2008 when budget constraints prevented it, each individual faculty member was provided with professional development funds from the office of the Vice President. However, in addition to the funds provided by the Office of the Vice President, School of Education unit members are fortunate to receive professional development funds from the James Millikin Estate ‘teaching and professional opportunities fund’ in order to travel to a national or regional conference or institute for the purpose of professional development.
The unit also attends two annual conferences together, the Associated Colleges of Illinois’ Fall Arts and Sciences Colloquium as well as the spring IACTE annual meeting. These events provide faculty members with an opportunity to learn about emerging practices as well as learn about other institution’s programs.
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