First Annual Service Dinner

Jun 3, 2022

Advancing equity gears graphicAs part of the Advancing Equity in Faculty Workload and Rewards Initiative, and in alignment with the Workload Equity initiative, the Provost hosted the first ever Service Celebration Dinner, to complement the existing research and teaching award dinners.  This event recognizes and celebrates faculty excellence in service within the University through departmental, school/college, and institutional service or leadership.

Here is an excerpt from Vice Provost Willink’s remarks from the celebration:

“We realize that many faculty have gone above and beyond in service, especially throughout the pandemic, and we thank you all for your contributions. This is an opportunity to celebrate in community with faculty who have been identified by their dean, chairs, and directors for their outstanding service contribution at this first ever service dinner. This evening is about creating a culture of recognition and appreciation for service work that is vital to our colleagues, our students, our disciplines, and our communities—work that is not always made visible or valued and yet is essential for sustaining and sometimes improving our academic community and beyond.

We know that serving others enhances the happiness and wellbeing of those who engage in service. While not all service assignments work out that way in practice, service at its best increases relationality and hopefully belonging—a sense that we show up with and for each other and for initiatives we value. For example: the essential work of serving on school and college promotion, tenure, and reappointment committees; or service to a future academy, a future DU that we want to be a part of, that aligns with and values our collective vision for the promise of higher education and its transformative impact on our shared fates and on the wicked problems and grand challenges of our time—an institution where faculty can thrive and feel valued for their contributions.

We know there is an invisible burden of saying no to service requests and opportunities—both individual costs and collective costs. And we recognize you for saying yes to …. relationships, to colleagues and communities, and to the vital shared work of our academic community.

I am thankful to Mary for her leadership in Advancing Equity in Faculty Workload and Rewards initiative so that we can continue to think institutionally about equitable faculty evaluations, including the invaluable work of service, as part of, not antithetical to, career advancement.

Much service is an exercise in collegiality, an investment in faculty relationality, and sometimes an act of collaboration—where we solve problems together by pooling our resources and our brilliant minds and open hearts. In service work, we develop and build distributed leadership and critical feedback loops for our institutional and community work; we serve DU in an outsized way to the total number of people involved. We develop a sophisticated team with situational awareness and collective intelligence as well as a meaningful community and sense of belonging. And don’t tell anyone! but every now and then this can be rewarding, impactful, and even joyful work for the collective good.

Tonight we raise a glass in sincere appreciation for your service contributions, for the gifts you generously and generatively share, and for our collective impact and aspirations as a relational, coalitional university”

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