This Mid-Career Faculty Learning Community for tenure faculty will focus on building success after tenure and will use Appreciative Inquiry, a framework for planning that builds on strengths. Appreciative Inquiry investigates to understand the best of what is, imagines what could be, considers obstacles, and moves strategically toward a motivating design for the future.
The Method: Faculty Learning Communities through Appreciative Inquiry
Well-designed faculty learning communities (FLCs) engage participants in focused professional development and provide opportunity to practice transferable leadership, peer mentoring, and community-building competence. Appreciative Inquiry harnesses the power of strengths-oriented strategic planning to facilitate positive progress.
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)
The Faculty Experience
Faculty reflections from previous faculty cohorts participating in this approach, strongly indicated five shared outcomes:
- Participants experienced a productive shift in mindset, focus, and professional purpose.
- Participants strengthened their ability to set and make progress toward relevant career goals.
- Participants expressed increased energy and confidence to pursue academic career goals.
- Participants found value in working alongside a purposeful community of faculty peers.
- Participants expressed appreciation for the program structure, supporting activities, and the facilitators.
Eligibility & Expectations
The Mid-Career Learning Community will accept up to twelve faculty who are at least three years post tenure, holding the rank of either Associate or Full Professor. Applicants should request a letter from their Department Head, to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by the Department Head, conveying both 1) approval for participation by the faculty member and 2) the ways in which the Department Head expects the experience will be beneficial.
This experience requires up to 9 hours of contact time per month (learning community sessions, one-on-one coaching with facilitators; follow-up engagement with cohort members), as well as, time for individual reflection necessary to complete pre-session assignments that feed the creation of a quality career development plan.
Faculty accepted into this program commit to:
- Actively participate in ALL seven facilitated interactive work sessions in person from 12 - 3 p.m. every other Friday, starting September 23, 2022, and ending December 16, 2022.
- Produce a high-quality draft of an individual strategic plan.
- Finalize the individual strategic plan and share it with department leadership (Spring 2023)
- Present a creative reflection about the learning community experience to the members of their cohort
- Participate in a follow-up interview (May 2023)
- Jeana Guillory, Leadership Development Consultant, Center for Teaching Excellence
- Nancy Simpson, Retired Clinical Professor, Mays Business School, Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Certified Clifton Strengths Coach
- Heather Wilkinson, Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Trained Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator, Certified Clifton Strengths Coach
Faculty Application Form
The application requests general information and prompts a short summary of how you anticipate your participation in the learning community will be meaningful for you and for others in the prospective cohort. The faculty application form must be submitted no later than 10 a.m. on September 13, 2022.
Department Head Letter of Endorsement
The Department Head letter should include a clear statement of approval for the faculty applicant to participate, as well as a brief summary of the ways in which the Department Head expects the experience will be beneficial. Department Head letter of endorsement must be received by email@example.com no later than 12 p.m. September 13, 2022
To Ask Questions
Please send any questions you about this opportunity to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Further, we will hold an informational session via zoom on Thursday September 8, 2022, 4-5PM.