MCE: Building Community with Faculty Virtually

Dec 6, 2020

Faculty groups are meeting quarterly in the Morgridge College of Education to support faculty advancement, enhance research support, and engage in direct student support. The MCE Dean’s Office has a longstanding tradition of meeting with all new faculty members across rank and series once a quarter in their first year. Meeting as a group helps normalize questions and concerns while also strengthening social connections. It also affirms our collegial culture and provides an opportunity for new faculty members to get to know the Dean and Associate Deans. Early Career Faculty meet quarterly as well.

These groups break out into Teaching/Professional series and Tenure-track series to have on-going and regular conversation with the College leadership around career trajectory and support resources so that early-career faculty members can be as strategic as possible while designing their scholarship of teaching, research, and service.

New this year are quarterly meetings with faculty and staff interested in supporting a thriving research culture in the College. An MCE Research Advisory Council is forming that includes representation from grants administration, the Faculty Executive Committee, the Dean’s Office, research center directors, and MCE advancement. Already the group has redesigned how some communication flows about research opportunities are shared, and a strategically scaffolded proposal writing support system was deployed for recently-due applications for prestigious fellowships from the National Academy of Education.

Finally, in collaboration with the College of Education Student Association, a series of student affinity group panels were convened with in-group faculty member facilitators. These panels were piloted as part of an extended new student orientation to support students of color, LGBTQIA+, and international students in MCE. The enthusiasm from participants has led to further conversation and future collaboration across faculty and students to support each other within and across these affinity groups. As the Morgridge College of Education has experienced a lot of growth over the past 5-8 years, new systems of support and new opportunities for collaboration in providing support continue to emerge. While the COVID-19 conditions and restrictions have changed how we might engage, they have not prevented us from finding ways to make connections.

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