Professional Development Committee Meeting
September 15, 2003

Present: David Bassett, chair, Michael Blackwell, Barbara Thayer-Bacon, Susan Smith, Dan Ward, John Koontz.

Absent: Jens Gregor, Benita Howell, Eleanor Read, John Waller

  1. select someone to take minutes of the meetings - John Koontz for the first with responsibility to rotate

  2. review committee accomplishments from last year

    1. faculty leave policy approved and in place - our version of a "sabbatical" policy.
      • a competition within a department with awards for fall of '04
      • the resources must come from within the department and college
      • applicable to tenured faculty employed at least 6 years
      Questions that arose include whether anything must come back to the senate about this? Are we waiting for details to be worked out by the Chancellor?

    2. Faculty Mentoring of probationary faculty.
      • Report to be sent out by Bassett.
      • Report submitted to Senate Executive Committee in spring '03

  3. discuss the committee charge for 2003-2004

    The question was asked if the committee could talk about the purpose of the committee. Answer: the goal is to create a climate that fosters professional development such as time for grant writing, funds for travel to meetings, etc.: i.e. defined faculty development opportunities. There was discussion about how this related to activities under the umbrella of the Research Council and the Teaching Council. For example, management of the faculty development awards emanates from the Dean of School Graduate.

    How was our committee charge developed? B. Lyons and C. White met with committee chairs to create the charge. The final list was heavily influenced by B. Lyons. We went through the list provided on the agenda.

    The committee charge for 2003-2004 together with our discussion of each follows.

    1. Look at 2010 Scorecard to drive priorities for professional development initiatives.
      1. Investigate renewal of foreign language and travel support
      2. Support grant Writing Innitiatives
      3. Consult with the Senate Research Council regarding these initiatives

      Discussion: Much of this is a function of the research council. We can lobby on behalf of these activities together with the research council.

    2. Develop a strategic plan for recruiting, retaining and rejuvenating faculty. What can be done to foster meaningful communities of discourse on campus? How can the architecture of UT buildings foster better social ecology on campus?

      Discussion: It was decided that this is not the purview of our committee but of individual departments and colleges. Faculty involvement, as defined by the faculty handbook, should be at the level of their respective departments.

    3. Present a report on the status of the faculty mentoring on campus fro the work the committee did last year in the November issue of the newsletter and discuss at the November 17th newsletter.

      Discussion: This is a follow up to an item on last year's agenda and will be completed this year.

    4. Address the implementation of a full-year health insurance and the new Professional Leave Policy as posted at: Work with the chairs of Professional Development, Faculty and Staff Benefits, Alan Chesney, Loren Crabtree and Connie Baskett to iron out the issues.

      Discussion: This is an administrative task to be done by Faculty and Staff Benefits office.

    5. Post list of professional development programs and opportunities compiled by the committee last year (from Office of Research, the Graduate School, ITC, etc.)

      Discussion: This also is a follow-up on an item on last year's agenda and will be completed this year. One question was where this information is to be posted? Will it be on the Senate web site, the Office of Research web site or should there be a Faculty Development web site?

    6. Foster more opportunities for non-tenure track faculty, particularly instructiors who have a longer contract.

      Discussion: What activities are being considered? Are these individuals already eligible for faculty development funds, travel funds, etc? Must they have a contract for a specified length of time: e.g. 3 or more years?

    7. Examine ways to encourage more opportunities for team teaching and cross listing courses. Present recommendations to eliminate structural disincentives to this (Student Credit Hours).

      Discussion: this focused primarily on the opportunities created by the focus area groups developed under John Peters. One focus area group in particular had taken advantage of the money provided to solicit faculty input in the areas listed above as well as others. No such discretionary money is currently made available for such an initiative.

Professional Development Committee Meeting
October 13, 2003

(Notes taken by Eleanor Read)

Present: David Bassett, Benita Howell, Barbara Thayer-Bacon, Eleanor Read, Susan Smith, John Waller, Dan Ward

Absent: Michael Blackwell, John Koontz

  1. Approval of minutes from September meeting
    With a correction to the spelling of E. Read's name, the minutes from the meeting on September 15, 2003, were approved.
  2. Defining what professional development is
    We went around the table and shared what we thought professional development entails.

    Thoughts included: activities that allow us to continue to learn and grow professionally, going to professional conferences, attending programs by invited speakers, support for research (including travel, bringing in visitors, equipment), things that enhance scholarship and research, networking with colleagues at UT and other institutions, and encouraging collaboration.
  3. Discuss the extent to which professional development should apply to non-tenure track faculty
    We did not have time to discuss this and will save it for the next meeting.
  4. Brainstorming: discuss potential ways of enhancing professional development at UT
    We agreed that the focus should be on the individual, providing time, incentives, and support to help them develop effectively. The Graduate Council, Research Council, and Teaching Council all have a role in this too.

    Perhaps we don't need to create new programs, but instead should find a way to enhance what is already out there.

    Can we help facilitate access to information about professional development opportunities? Perhaps using the Faculty Senate website (or some other site) as a gateway to this information?

    Use the faculty information listserv to distribute professional development announcements, so faculty members don't have to rely on information trickling down to them in a timely manner. Advertise deadlines for regular recurring programs.

    Advocate for an increase in professional development dollars, since they have been reduced in recent years.

    A number of activities/events were mentioned that could bring a diverse group of people together to learn about other research activities. These provide not only a learning opportunity for participants, but also a good forum for linking up with others who might be interested in collaborative work. May promote cross-pollination of ideas.
    • UT Science Forum
    • Collaborative interest centers
    • Faculty brown bags with poster sessions on recent research
    • Centripetals
    • First Monday programs
    • UT Research and Creative Achievement Fair
    • Round tables, mini forums

    There is, of course, always the issue of who will coordinate and fund, if necessary, these kinds of activities.

    Propose that professional development award recipients have to give a presentation in some forum. May give others ideas, and would promote the award program.

Additional items:
Dan Ward reported that he is checking with the Office of Institutional Research to see if we can use the results of the recent employee satisfaction survey to get ideas for activities to pursue.

David Bassett reported that he entered into the Blackboard discussion for Chapter 3 of the Faculty Handbook to ensure that there is language about assigning mentors to tenure-track faculty (see below).

Chapter 3, Section 3.2 Criteria for Appointment to Faculty Rank Page 3, line 40.
'I've reviewed the Faculty Handbook and cannot find a mention of the role played by senior faculty members in the professional development of junior tenure-track faculty. I believe this should be mentioned so that department heads are aware that they need to appoint mentors. My suggestion is to add a sentence to this paragraph on professional development, stating ... "For junior tenure-track faculty members, the department head will appoint a tenured professor to guide them in developing their professional careers."'

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