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APT to Lead


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About

Faculty Affairs is committed to the success of all faculty at Texas A&M University and recognizes the varying needs of faculty across their career and across career tracks. In particular, Academic Professional Track (APT) faculty contribute to the university mission in a wide variety of roles. This faculty learning community is designed for full-time APT faculty who have received at least one promotion (or hold a leadership title), have completed at least five years of service at Texas A&M, and who anticipate opportunities to lead within their department, college, and/or university.
 

Rationale

A faculty task force formed by Faculty Affairs to investigate good practices regarding APT faculty included recommendations for APT faculty professional development:
 
  • APT faculty create and annually update an individual strategic plan that includes goals for professional learning and advancement.
  • A menu of professional development opportunities (e.g., mentoring, co-teaching, workshops, collaborations, conferences, faculty learning communities) are available to APT faculty.
  • Departmental leadership is supportive of APT faculty participation in a wide variety of professional development opportunities.
 
APT to Lead is designed with these recommendations in mind.
 

Approach: Faculty Learning Communities plus Appreciative Inquiry

Well-designed faculty learning communities (FLCs) engage participants in focused professional development and provide opportunities to practice transferable leadership, peer mentoring, and community-building competence.

As Milton Cox, creator of faculty learning communities at Miami University and catalyst for expansion of faculty learning communities across higher education writes: 
 
FLCs “change individuals, and, over time, they change institutional culture. Faculty learning communities and their “graduates” are change agents who can enable an institution to become a learning organization.”  (Cox, 2001)
With APT to Lead participants will explore how to thrive as faculty members using Appreciative Inquiry (AI), a positively oriented framework for planning that builds on strengths. AI begins with inquiry into the best of what is, imagines what could be, considers obstacles, and moves toward a motivating design for future.
 
Faculty accepted into this program commit to:
  • Preparing for and participating in eight facilitated interactive AI work sessions to produce a high quality draft of an individual strategic plan for the APT leader (12 - 3 p.m. 1st Fridays both Fall and Spring semester, beginning October 1, 2021, and ending May 6, 2022).
  • Finalizing their individual strategic plan and sharing it with department leadership (Summer 2022)
  • Presenting a creative reflection about the entire learning community experience to Faculty Affairs and the members of their cohort (August 2022)
  • Participating in a follow-up interview (Spring 2023).
 

Note: This year, as we pilot the program, it will only be offered face-to-face in College Station. Lunches will be provided.

 

Individual Strategic Plan

Participation in work session activities and discussions will prime holistic self-evaluation and composition of a well-elaborated individual strategic plan. 
  • Vision Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • Core Goals
  • Action Plans
  • Long term goals
 
Importantly, this plan spans all aspects and relationships in the life of the faculty member. Further, an integral aspect of this plan is excavating the unique value the APT faculty member brings as well as the factors with potential to either enable or erode faculty member success.
 

Program Outcomes

  • Practice the skills essential for collegiality and leadership (e.g. active listening, constructive dialogue, strength appreciation, growth mindset, team-building)
  • Learn the language and concepts associated with leadership roles in academia
  • Cultivate the agency of individual faculty to constructively confront challenges, seek necessary development, and practice resilience
  • Establish a cohort of support
  • Promote meaningful/productive communication among APT faculty and their leadership
  • Encourage relationships with the Faculty Affairs
  • Identify systemic barriers for APT faculty common among participants, allowing for design of proactive institutional measures, and proactive and timely faculty development opportunities for APT faculty
 

Eligibility

The 2021 - 2022 APT to Lead community will accept up to 24 full-time APT faculty who are in a titled leadership position or have received one promotion, and have been at Texas A&M University for five years.
 

Facilitators

  • Nancy Simpson, Clinical Professor (retired), Faculty Development Fellow and Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator
  • Heather Wilkinson, Professor and Senior Associate Dean of Faculties and Certified Gallup Global Strengths Coach
 

Selection Process

Applications will open August 27, 2021, and close September 20, 2021. Participant selections will be communicated no later than September 22, 2021.

The application requirements include some general information about the faculty member and a short description of how they predict their participation in the opportunity will be meaningful for them and others in the cohort. In addition, the applicant should request that the Department Head send an email to facultydevelopment@tamu.edu in which they convey both approval for participation by the faculty member and the ways in which they expect the experience will be beneficial.