Institute for Faculty Excellence
The Institute for Faculty Excellence is a dynamic partnership between the Faculty Success Center in the Office of the Provost and the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center. The core mission of the IFE is to foster ongoing career and leadership development, including and beyond the tenure, continuing appointment, and promotion processes. The IFE is equally dedicated to enhancing faculty well-being by cultivating an environment where faculty members feel empowered, supported, and equipped to excel in their teaching, research, and service roles within the institution, their professional field, and their lives. Participation in the IFE serves as a catalyst for professional growth, bolstered through carefully selected resources that enable faculty members to thrive throughout their academic careers.
At the heart of IFE lies a collective commitment to embracing and encouraging the expression of multifaceted perspectives to serve mutual growth, enhance insight and innovation, and foster a shared sense of purpose. Through supporting the whole faculty member, IFE endeavors to shape a campus community where the pursuit of faculty excellence is not only sustainable but also inherently rewarding.
What is Faculty Excellence?
Faculty excellence refers to the exceptional performance, achievements, and contributions of educators within our institution. It encompasses a multifaceted approach to teaching, research, and service that goes beyond conventional expectations. Faculty members who exhibit excellence are not only proficient in their subject matter but also display a strong commitment to enhancing the educational experience, advancing knowledge through research and scholarship, and contributing positively to the institution and local and professional communities.
Faculty excellence often involves:
- Effective Teaching: Faculty members who excel in teaching demonstrate a deep understanding of their subject matter, employ innovative, evidence-based teaching methods, engage students effectively, and foster a positive and welcoming learning environment.
- Research and Creative Activity: Exceptional faculty contribute to their field through original research, publications, presentations, performance, and contributions to scholarly discussions. They push the boundaries of knowledge and make meaningful contributions to their disciplines.
- Service and Leadership: Faculty who exhibit excellence contribute to the broader academic community by participating in university committees, professional organizations, and community engagement initiatives. They may also foster a culture of collaboration and growth.
- Positive Impact: Faculty excellence goes beyond academic achievements; it includes making a positive impact on students' lives, colleagues' work, and the institution as a whole. This impact can be seen in improved learning outcomes, innovative approaches to teaching, groundbreaking research, and meaningful community involvement.
- Continuous Development: Excellent faculty members continuously seek opportunities for professional growth and development. They stay updated with advancements in their field, engage in ongoing training, and adapt their teaching and research methods based on new insights and technologies.
- Ethics and Integrity: Faculty excellence is grounded in ethical behavior and integrity. High standards of professionalism, honesty, and respect for multiple perspectives are key components of faculty excellence.
Ultimately, faculty excellence is not just about “meeting expectations”; It reflects a dedication to lifelong learning, innovation, and making a meaningful contribution to the advancement of knowledge and society.
The Institute for Faculty Excellence offers opportunities for growth through:
- Professional Development: A range of workshops, seminars, and training sessions focused on teaching strategies, research methodologies, grant writing, technology integration, and other skills relevant to faculty members' roles.
- Academic Career Coaching: An optional personal coaching program to help faculty members further advance their careers within and beyond Texas Tech University.
- SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) Research Presentation Series: A professional platform for participants to share individual research initiatives and outcomes relevant to the faculty. In this context, SoTL research is any scholarly research related to faculty teaching, research, service, well-being, or academic leadership.
- Work-Life Integration: Strategies and programming for achieving a healthy work-life balance, addressing issues such as time management, stress reduction, and workload management.
- Leadership Development: Opportunities for faculty members to identify and develop leadership skills within the institution, including administrative roles, committee leadership, and contributions to institutional decision-making.
- Negotiation and Conflict Resolution: Guidance on having difficult conversations for use in and outside the classroom with students or colleagues.
- Academic Identity: Support an understanding and awareness of different social identities within academia, inclusive of values, beliefs, practices, and perspectives, to navigate cross-cultural interactions in a respectful, sensitive, and effective manner.
- Reflection and Listening (ReaL) Forums: Gatherings for faculty to hear and express thoughts, ideas, and solutions regarding the evolving challenges and opportunities facing faculty members.
- Career Transition Support: Programs and resources tailored to assist faculty with navigating the transitions between career stages, including mid-career faculty and those transitioning from faculty to administration, as well as those transitioning toward retirement.
- Full-time Faculty at any rank who have completed a successful 3rd-year review or new full-time faculty who have previously achieved tenure or continuing appointment at another institution.
- A genuine interest in pursuing faculty excellence as supported by the IFE, and
- A willingness to commit to the time requirements of the IFE.
Timeline: Late September 2023 - Late April 2024
Time Commitment: 8-12 hours of programmed content (4-6 hours per semester offered through a mix of 4 required and elective sessions), about half of which is selected by the participant from a list of relevant sessions based on individual interest, and a minimum of one deliverable in the participant's area of choice, teaching, research, or service (i.e., a revised class assignment, a co-authored journal article, or a graduate student handbook for a unit). Deliverables will be submitted to the Director of IFE for feedback.
Point-of-Duty: Participation will mirror each faculty member's official point-of-duty. For example, a remote faculty member may participate by attending the online live streams of relevant sessions. Sessions will not be recorded; therefore, remote faculty must attend the sessions during the scheduled times. Although sessions will be live streamed, the content is not specifically designed for online learning. Remote faculty members will have participation facilitated by a dedicated assistant moderating the chat and audio features. On-campus faculty members are expected to attend sessions in person.
Please contact Dr. Lisa Garner Santa, Director of the Institue for Faculty Excellence, with any questions.