Summer Camp for Profs!

By Roach, Ronald | Black Issues in Higher Education, March 5, 1998 | Go to article overview

Summer Camp for Profs!


Roach, Ronald, Black Issues in Higher Education


When Morris Brown College wanted faculty members to participate in a highly regarded faculty development program during the summer of 1997, school administrators turned to Dr. Kathie Stromile Golden, a newly hired political science professor in the school's social science department, to make a pitch to her peers.

It fell to Golden, a veteran participant in faculty development programs throughout much of her teaching career, to recruit fellow faculty members to apply to New York University's (NYU) renowned Faculty Resource Network summer seminar and workshop program because she had participated in it in 1996.

Golden, who had joined the Morris Brown faculty in the fall of 1996, used a Valentine's Day breakfast which she hosted as the forum for her pitch. Fifteen faculty members attended.

"I think it's a good program for people who are developing new courses," she says. "We [faculty] have tremendous teaching loads. This gives us an opportunity to think and reflect. It is a way for us to come down from the stress of our jobs."

Golden convinced all of the breakfast attendees to apply, and twelve of the fifteen won admission to the NYU seminars. That summer, Golden, her Morris Brown colleagues, and more than 100 other faculty members from colleges and universities in the eastern United States spent either one or two weeks soaking up knowledge and new teaching techniques at the NYU campus.

"For many of my [Morris Brown] colleagues, it was the first time they had ever attended a faculty development program. It was very exciting for them," Golden says.

Last summer, the summer seminar program included offerings, such as "Comparative Women's Studies," "The Black American Experience: Perspective in the Social Sciences," and "Undergraduate Faculty Enhancement in the Molecular and Cellular Biology." The courses are designed to enhance and reinvigorate liberal arts teaching among faculty at participating institutions.

This year, NYU officials are expecting between 150 and 200 faculty members to participate.

A "Partnership" Among Institutions

NYU's award-winning network conducts one of the largest regional faculty development programs in the nation. In addition to the summer seminar and workshop program, the network sponsors a University Associates program, a Scholar-in-Residence program, discipline-based conferences, faculty exchanges, and workshops.

The broad purpose of the network to forge links among faculty members across academic disciplines and institutions while advancing liberal arts teaching. NYU officials say that their faculty benefit from the exposure it has to faculty from other institutions and from collaborative projects that have resulted because of the network.

Founded in 1984 by New York University president Dr. L. Jay Oliva, the Faculty Resource Network links NYU with twenty-eight liberal arts colleges, including thirteen historically Black colleges and universities. The network was launched initially with support from the Ford Foundation. In 1989, a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts allowed the Network to include historically Black institutions (HBCUs) as participants.

Since its initiation, nearly 3,200 faculty members have participated in Faculty Resource Network programs. That total includes 769 summer seminar and workshop participants, 205 Scholars-in-Residence, and 1,580 University Associates, according to NYU officials.

"We thought it would be appropriate to give faculty the chance to recharge their batteries," Oliva says. "[The Faculty Resource Network] turned out to be a powerful idea."

The University Associates program allows full-time faculty members at fourteen New York-area network institutions to use NYU academic facilities throughout the year.

The Scholar-in-Residence program lures academicians from network schools to NYU for a semester of study and research. …

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