December 2013 Faculty Commons Updates
- It’s been a busy Fall semester
- Reflections on Two Events: Trans Inclusive and Trans Literate Faculty Conversation and World Philosophy Day
- What’s on tap for December?
November 2013 Faculty Commons Updates
October 2013 Faculty Commons Updates
- The Faculty Commons Space on the 3rd Floor of Glickman Library
- Fall Programming
- Call for Participation
- Collaboration at USM
- Hat's Off
Summer 2013 Faculy Commons Updates:
Over 20 events have been sponsored, co-sponsored and/or promoted since September and many of these were recorded and are available for viewing on the Faculty Commons website.
Recently, when I was in our Faculty Commons Space on the third floor of Glickman, I was very pleased to hear Mark, the Facilities staff member in the library, offer his congratulations. He said, “I realized that you aren’t here every day so you wouldn’t know how much the space is being used. Every day I see more people using the space.” We have many more miles to go in developing our faculty commons but we are making progress thanks to the engagement of so many people.
Trans Inclusive and Trans Literate Faculty Conversation and World Philosophy Day were events held the week before Thanksgiving. It was particularly fitting that these two events occurred last week: The 2013 theme of UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day was Inclusive Societies, Sustainable Planets.
On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, the international Transgender of Remembrance, USM’s Women and Gender Studies Department sponsored Trans Inclusive and Trans Literate: A Faculty Conversation. I was able to get to part of this event and appreciated the thoughtful conversation about how we, as faculty, can become more inclusive and literate about individuals who identify themselves as transgender. Specific suggestions were offered regarding ways to be inclusive in the context of the classroom from framing introductions at the start of a course, inviting individuals to indicate the pronouns with which they identify. The conversation raised awareness of the ways in which personal and cultural assumptions about gender and identity can diminish or render invisible those whose gender identities do not fit into narrow categories of male and female. Thanks to the panelists, Wendy Chapkis (Faculty, USM), Lisa Walker (Faculty, USM), Lisa Bunker (WMPG) and Erica Rand (Faculty, Bates College).
If you want to learn more, I encourage you to visit the Maine Transgender Network Website. Among the several useful links,Gender 101, aligns with some of the information shared on Wednesday. You can also view Lisa Bunker’s winning Moth Story Slam online.
The remarks of the panelists for USM’s World Philosophy Day were aimed at reflecting on “Why in the world is philosophy needed?” The audience included students, faculty, and community members. I was privileged to moderate the panel; members included Julien Murphy and Jeremiah Conway, faculty in USM’s Philosophy Department, Susan Stark (Faculty, Bates College) and USM undergraduate students Jamie Barilone (philosophy) and Adam Hansen (STEM and also leader of the USM Philosophy Symposium.
Professor Murphy offered an impassioned introduction to the range of issues over the last decade or so which would or will benefit from more or closer attention from philosophers, including cybersecurity, ethics, and environmental concerns. Adam Hansen, a computer science student and President of the USM Philosophy Symposium, offered compelling arguments for the importance of philosophy and reflection, regardless of discipline. Professor Conway, reflecting Arendt’s analysis of Eichmann in Jerusalem—said, philosophy enables us “to protect our humanity” and build resistance to thoughtlessness; “the effort to be thoughtful is an action [that] pulls us to consciousness.” Professor Stark observed that “whether the world has a future depends on philosophy.” Philosophy student, Jamie Barilone, noted that philosophy is never static nor easy to define, characteristics she regards as strengths. This is just a sampling of the discussion; you can learn more when the recording is posted on the philosophy department’s website.
Professor Carol Nemeroff, PhD, will offer us new ways of thinking about contagion in her talk on Conceptualizing Cooties: Exploring expert and intuitive models of contagion in daily life. I am looking forward to learning more about “magical contagion!” Learn more about this presentation and RSVP today.
Also, a lot of buzz has been going on among faculty wanting more information about electronic advising notes. Come hear Beth Higgins and Libby Bishoff on December 12th guide us through the processing of using electronic e-tools to “make our lives easier.” If you are coming (or are considering coming), I encourage you to look at the event page. Libby and Beth have already made available some slides and information so that you can come with your questions. A light lunch will be served so please RSVP. Also, if you respond yes but find later that you cannot make it, please e-mail Amertah Perman.
Learn more about December Events.
Faculty Commons has done a lot of partnering to plan and deliver several events this term—the Teaching Naked Workshop held on October 16, 2013 reflected the hope, energy and excitement that can be mustered when we make investments in faculty development.
The conversations that began there will continue. Faculty member Luci Benedict has offered to coordinate an informal faculty discussion and reflection on this event and the ideas and challenges José Bowen described. Learn more about this event.
Luci Benedict, Chemistry, and James Suleiman, Business, were faculty who worked with me to plan the event. Thanks to them and Susan McWiliams—Davis Foundation funding supported the TN event.
The planning for the TN event began in April after the webinar with José. We had about 20 people at that session and, I have to say, it did not prepare me for the dynamic presentation we heard last week. A friend of mine in technology says that is not surprising—for many webinars there is no audience. So even though we had few opportunities to ask José questions, having a live audience made for a different experience. For those who weren’t able to attend the October 16th event, you can view a full recording of the event and download topic resources on the event page. Learn More
The evaluations are in and they are uniformly positive and provided good feedback.
Some folks might wonder why there was a separate lunch for administrators/department heads so additional information might be helpful—it was deliberate. The lunch with leaders was a different keynote address than the morning keynote and workshop: how to support faculty who undertake the risks of innovating. Both the planners and José felt it was important to help leaders understand how to support faculty who undertake the kinds of innovations he talked about in the morning session. We wanted faculty who attended the morning to have the chance to discuss with each other about what they heard in the three hour workshop. Of the 12 people who were at the administrative keynote, at least five (dean, department chairs, TN planners) had been at the morning workshop—something that we also planned deliberately. We would like to have had José here for the day but he was on a tight schedule.
Finally, I want to say something about the synergy between the TN workshop and the recent announcement of the Title III grant, called FIRST Steps with Project Director Dahlia Lynn. One of the four major activities in this grant is faculty development which I will be coordinating. The project team will be out and about sharing information about the grant activities and inviting your participation. It is such an exciting opportunity for us to help students be successful AND invest in faculty development!
Be sure to take a look at the November Faculty Commons calendar to see if there is a faculty development opportunity that is of interest to you.
October 2013 Faculty Commons Updates:
I am pleased to let you know that the Faculty Commons space on the third floor of the Glickman Library is available for faculty use. This has been a terrific collaborative effort among me, the provost, David Nutty and his staff, Monique Larocque and her staff, Bruce Thompson, and the folks in Facilities, particularly, Adam Thibodeau. The space has been painted and cleaned, we have some repurposed furniture, and are working on having coffee and tea available--nearly resolved. We have plans for the space that we will be able to use, if and when we can raise money to expand the space.
This month we will begin using Open Room (online software, already used for the Learning Commons) so you can book the space--it can accommodate individuals and/or two or three small groups--and there are swipe cards available at the circulation desk. I have asked Professor Bruce Thompson to convene a small group of interested faculty to develop guidelines for use of the space. Until we have them, here are working guidelines:
- the space is to be used for work that can be considered faculty development--this includes mentoring and collaboration; building community among faculty across units (including informal gathering and socializing with colleagues); your own work. There is a small office set apart from the larger space. I use that for my Faculty Commons office hours--a couple of hours a week--schedule on the FC website. The Faculty Commons space is not meant for office hours, meeting with students (the Learning Commons on the second floor has space for that), student advising or committee meetings.
- you will need your faculty ID to get a swipe card from the first floor Circulation Desk and need to return it there when you are done using the space.
- When coffee and tea are made available, you will need to document your meeting and its purpose (faculty development, mentoring etc), in order to be in compliance with the UMS Administrative Practice Letter governing the provision of food and drink (see link..). I have a faculty member willing to pilot our initial effort at documentation to help us minimize the burden and maximize compliance!
- Leave the room the way you found it (or better!)--put furniture back, turn the computer off, clean up the coffee area. There is a computer, a large screen, a phone.
Until Bruce and his group propose guidelines we can post, please use these. To volunteer to develop the guidelines , or, if you have used the space and want to offer him feedback, you can e-mail him at email@example.com, or call --extension 4739
If you have not had a chance yet to participate in some of our programs, I hope you will. Some highlights from September included a Welcome Event for new faculty, the inaugural RSCA Showcase with Kent Ryden, Professor of American and New England Studies, and a co-sponsored event the library on using its Special Collections in teaching. In addition, we are promoting events by other units at USM on our Faculty Commons website.
In October, we have scheduled a panel to begin a faculty conversation on MOOCs (massive online open courses). It is a topic worthy of discussion and reflection so, we, as a university, can make wise choices. I have heard and experienced both sides--the excitement and advantages of some of the new technology and software and the distress at what we are or might be losing. I hope this will be the beginning of many faculty discussions and debates, with each other and our colleagues in CTEL, on how we integrate the best of face-to-face teaching with technologies that advance student learning. For those technologies we do adopt, we need good processes and systems for maintaining our knowledge and skill as users.
There is still room for faculty to participate in the October 16 workshop with Professor José Bowen, author of Teaching Naked. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP as soon as possible: http://usm.maine.edu/facultycommons/teaching-naked
Please see our calendar for additional fall events: http://usm.maine.edu/facultycommons/programming
We record as many events as we can for people unable to attend FC programs.
Accessing events after they have occurred
Thanks to funding from the Davis Foundation and collaboration with ITMS staff, we are able to record a large number of the fall FC-sponsored events for this semester. Once the recordings are processed, we will post them on the event pages.
I encourage you to view things such as the panel that presented at the Welcome for new faculty, the panel that shared the creative ways they use the Special Collections in their teaching, or Kent Ryden's thought-provoking presentation on eco-criticism for our inaugural RSCA showcase.
If we find that these recordings are used, it will help us in developing a budget for recording for the next fiscal year.
To develop the Faculty Commons further, we need your help. Follow this link to review some priority projects and to share your thoughts with me:
You may have other ideas but the ones listed are the ones at the top of my list. If one of these areas is of interest to you and you can contribute some time and effort, I welcome your participation. Some goals have a longer time horizon (like orientation) and others are short-term projects. See if something appeals and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with colleagues to continue to develop and advance the Faculty Commons. Learn more.
This month we are posting three documents that can inform how we grow our collaborative efforts at USM.
- One is Professor Jerry Conway's talk at the Spring 2013 celebration of faculty RSCA: Document
- The other two are documents developed by faculty members--one for the USM Faculty Senate and one that was an outcome of a faculty workshop on interdisciplinary collaboration at USM in the spring of 2011:
Interdisciplinary Document #1
Interdisciplinary Document #2
- I will be convening a group of the leaders in the development of the documents to discuss how the Faculty Commons can foster and sustain the development of faculty collaboration within and across units.
Speaking of collaboration, there are so many people to thank for the work that has been getting done on the Faculty Commons: Faculty including Bruce Thompson, Luci Benedict, James Suleiman and the faculty and staff who participated in the September events; Monique Larocque, Amertah Perman, Cherie Tate, Khusro Kidwai, Liz Morin and many others in OCPE; David Nutty, Susie Bock, Michelle Dustin, John Warren and other Library Staff; Adam Thibodeau in Facilities; Angela Cook, Heath Bouffard and other ITMS staff. If I have left anyone out, there will be many more opportunities for us to say thank you!
Rev. Judith A. Spross, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor of Nursing, College of Science, Technology and Health and
Coordinator, USM Faculty Commons Initiatives
University of Southern Maine
Ideas for Mission and Purposes
An overarching purpose of the USM Faculty Commons is to provide the virtual or physical space for people to come together around our teaching enterprise--whether it involve teaching, service, or research, scholarship, and creative activity. This might mean faculty development for new and experienced faculty; orientation; collaboration and innovation in teaching, service, and scholarship, showcasing our work; or other activities and initiatives that strengthen, inspire, support and motivate. The Faculty Commons can and should help us build community and capacity within and across disciplines, departments and individuals--critical emphases in the current environment.
These are emergent ideas from my work and many conversations this past spring, along with ideas from the literature and faculty common sites at other institutions. However, decisions about mission and purposes of the Commons require more conversations. I will work with you over the coming year to co-create a mission and purposes for this endeavor that are meaningful, and engage us in building a Faculty Commons that helps us grow and of which we can be proud.
I will be having weekly office hours in the Faculty Commons space on the 3rd floor of Glickman. If you would like me to come to a College or Department meeting to discuss the Faculty Commons, please let me know. I can be reached at 207-228-8366 or email@example.com.
I am very excited to be working with you on creating the USM Faculty Commons.Learn more about me and my background.
Rev. Judith A. Spross, PhD, RN, FAAN
Professor of Nursing, CSTH and Coordinator of USM's Faculty Commons Initiatives