I have a confession to make. I came to SDSU in 2000 but up until a few years ago, I knew almost nothing about what has happening around campus outside my department on the third floor of Nasatir Hall. Oh, I knew about the budget issues (furloughs made that hard to miss!) and I was vaguely aware of things like the Strategic Plan (though I couldn’t have told you what was in it), but for the most part, I was too busy with my research, my classes, and department service to pay much attention to any campus initiatives or programs that did not directly impact me personally.
I am willing to bet I was not all that unusual among faculty in this regard. But in 2014, I became CTL Director and also became a University Senator. I quickly got a crash course in all the things I did not know, from really cool programs I didn’t know existed, to the fine details of the University Policy File and Strategic Plan. In the process, I developed a great pride in SDSU, and an even greater admiration for the deep commitment to our students that I see in everyone I have encountered across campus.
However, as I’ve learned more about what’s happening around campus, and listened to how campus leaders talk about student success, one thing has repeatedly stood out to me: a lack of acknowledgment of faculty. “Student success” is treated as a problem for enrollment management or co-curricular programs to solve, with little discussion of what happens inside the classroom (other than concerns about high failure rates) or the role faculty can play.
I have been thinking more and more about this as our “student success” goals have ramped up with the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025. It is hard to imagine how we are going to make significant progress on these goals without engaging every member of our community; yet faculty are routinely left out of those conversations. For example, one reason I was able to ignore campus initiatives for so many years was because I was never really invited, let alone required, to pay attention.
Thus, in an attempt to start a campus dialogue about the critical role of faculty in student success, I invite you to read a new CTL White Paper, Strengthening and Supporting the Faculty Role in Student Success and Graduation Initiative 2025. After reading it, I encourage you to provide comments here on this post, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also simply indicate your support for the ideas by adding your name here. [Note 3/3/17: Comments do not appear to be working – please go here to leave comments]
And a special note to those faculty who, like me for my first 13 years here, feel too swamped just doing your job to pay attention to much else: I know you’re busy but I also know you care about your students. I urge you to take just a few minutes to read the paper and consider how engaging with the larger campus community can help us achieve both student success and faculty success.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime with questions, comments or concerns. I look forward to the conversation…
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning
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