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New Faculty Community Seminar

Purpose

The New Faculty Community Seminar welcomes new faculty into the larger community at Boise State and introduces them to its shared values and resources. Facilitated by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) across two semesters, the seminar takes the form of semimonthly, facilitated conversations that:

  • help faculty center effective and inclusive teaching;
  • promote faculty members’ scholarly development by identifying and accessing resources, opportunities, mentors, and collaborators on which they can rely as their careers unfold;
  • provide faculty with space to reflect on their professional identities;
  • encourage faculty to focus on work that is at once personally satisfying and meaningful to communities beyond the university;
  • emphasize wellness by remembering that academic work is but one part of a fulfilling life;
  • ensure faculty feel supported and connected to one another.

Content and structure

The seminar, facilitated by Leslie Madsen, the CTL’s associate director for educational development and an associate professor of history, takes place across both semesters of the academic year.

Topics vary depending on the interests and needs of participating faculty, and fall into two broad categories.

I. Teaching and learning. At least one discussion each month focuses on effective and inclusive teaching. Rather than being didactic, these conversations start from the premise that new faculty bring valuable experiences—as students, teaching assistants, or instructors—and perspectives to the classroom. The program meets faculty where they are and encourages them to adopt more inclusive, active, and evidence-based instructional practices.

Sessions in this category help faculty to apply pedagogical topics and strategies for student success as:

      • synchronous and asynchronous active learning
      • crafting creative and meaningful assessments
      • designing meaningful group work that students appreciate
      • inclusive and equitable course policies and design
      • applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
      • selecting and using emerging technologies
      • teaching first-generation students
      • integrating service learning
      • partnering with instructional and reference librarians for assignments
        learning from course evaluations

II. Career and wellness. In alternate weeks, sessions address subjects and strategies of special relevance to first-year faculty, including:

      • career planning and design
      • funding research
      • mentoring undergraduate and graduate researchers
      • building a professional network at Boise State and beyond
      • balancing—and, when appropriate, synthesizing—teaching, research or creative activity, and service
        mental wellness

Senior faculty and staff with relevant experience join select conversations, thereby engendering connections among new and established faculty members.

Time commitment

New faculty who enroll in the seminar are expected to attend two 75-minute sessions each month, on Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

By design, the seminar requires minimal commitment of time from faculty between meetings. Before some sessions, the facilitator may ask participants to read a short article, watch a video, listen to a podcast, or undertake a brief activity to “prime the pump” for that week’s conversation.

Benefits to new faculty—and their departments

Faculty participating in the seminar:

  • Learn strategies for more efficient and effective teaching, thus freeing time for research and service.
  • Build community—and career-long connections—with their cohort.
  • Engage with and learn from better-established members of the university community.
  • Craft professional networks (and identify potential collaborators) on campus and beyond.
  • Focus on mental wellness and work/life balance, aiming to prevent burnout at all career stages.

Request to department chairs

  • Strongly encourage and support faculty to participate in the seminar for the year—at the very least for the fall semester.
  • Intentionally release faculty from service during semesters they’re participating to compensate for the time spent in the seminar.
  • Avoid scheduling faculty for teaching, department meetings, or other responsibilities during the designated meeting time (11:30 to 12:45 on the first and third Fridays of each month).

Learn more

Please direct any questions to the New Faculty Community Seminar’s facilitator, CTL associate director Leslie Madsen, at lmadsen@boisestate.edu.