Monday, May 3, 2010

Faculty for Today and Tomorrow

We are building the future of MVCC today. Between now and next fall we will have completed more than 20 national searches for tenure-track full-time faculty – roughly 15% of our full-time faculty ranks. The efforts of the screening committee members are greatly appreciated – for their thoughtfulness, energy and just plain hard work of identifying the very best candidates to join us.

The momentum of advancing important initiatives through our Strategic Plan and experiencing ten consecutive semesters of enrollment growth have brought focus to the type of qualified candidates we are looking to attract in these searches. While not all were specifically defined in the advertisements, the following characteristics come to mind as I think about what our students and College need for today and for tomorrow - faculty who have:
  • Solid knowledge/credentials in the discipline
  • Enthusiasm and understanding of our mission and vision
  • Eagerness to learn and grow
  • Passion to teach
  • Belief in truly supporting student learning with a deep understanding of the fundamental differences between teaching in a two-year and a four-year academic environment
  • Idealism and belief in our ability to change the world one student at a time
  • Understanding that we CAN keep standards high—AND work with our students to successfully achieve their academic and career goals – it doesn’t have to be one or the other
  • Vibrancy and energy for teaching and learning to help us continue building a vibrant organizational culture
  • An unwavering commitment to respect and civility – for both our colleagues as well as our students who are acting on their individual courage to pursue their educational dreams
  • A commitment to diversity and a global view and therefore, bring an interest in living in a global society and advancing our international education initiatives as well as those that personally add to the diversity of our faculty
  • An ability to work creatively and collaboratively with their colleagues and can help us advance our academic learning communities priorities
  • Interest and talent to appropriately use technology and enhance the student learning experience through active learning strategies.
To be sure, this is quite a list of characteristics. However, we know faculty with these characteristics exist –they’re already here teaching in our own classes at MVCC. The challenge is to find more candidates with these characteristics. If we make these characteristics the primary filters, age (young, old or in between) doesn’t matter. In addition, every one of us had a first job—many of us started here with no previous teaching experience. With the mentorship available here, we shouldn’t be afraid to hire on other sterling qualities. We have a wonderful New Faculty Institute, amazing senior faculty, and an institutional commitment to professional development and personal enrichment. With any search, it’s important to remember that we should never settle. If we find these characteristics illusive in a search, we can always re-open or extend the search – never settle. One of the smartest moves we can make is to hire smarter and brighter than we are. In fact, the smarter we hire, the smarter we look.

That’s my checklist, what’s yours? Let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.