by Laurent Troland, Recruitment Coordinator – Career Services
On Tuesday, February 15th, about 12 staff members gathered to discuss Faculty and Student Affairs Collaborations in an open group discussion. During this discussion, two major themes emerged:
Cooperation vs. Collaboration:
The discussion opened up talking about what certain departments were doing to engage faculty with their department and programming. Some common themes were that many had developed a “favorite faculty” list of those who have been supportive of participating in their programming. Utilizing this list, many have conducted workshops and visits to classes, invited faculty to bring their class to department programming, sent information and invitations for upcoming events/programs and others have even attended department meetings to promote who they are and what they do.
While these are great opportunities to get more student involvement in programming and to make faculty more aware of what we do, it is a more cooperative approach as opposed to true collaboration. True collaborations have been much harder to cultivate across the division. Some successes have been made with faculty associates in certain departments (i.e. Community Service Center), utilizing faculty members for advisory boards (i.e. Internship Faculty Working Group), the residential learning communities and service learning courses. These often require the utilization of a small list of very dedicated faculty that often do not receive the same benefits (i.e. course waivers, pay, etc.) that their colleagues might receive as many participate out of interest versus reward.
Building Cooperation, Leading to Collaboration:
With the difficulties in making large scale collaborations effective, the group began discussing why this may be the case. There are of course union issues, contract limitations, course releases, equity issues, etc. However, one topic that emerged was that are we really properly promoting ourselves as a division? Many faculty are amazed by what we do when they finally get a chance to work with us. So are we not good self promoters? Often times, people won’t know until we tell them!
Some ideas on how to “spread the word” and grow our “A List Faculty” that came up were: reaching out to new faculty members when they arrive at BSU; setting up coffee dates with key faculty members to promote programming and services; offering services to faculty (i.e. workshops, panel presentations, etc.); inviting them to tour your department and attend staff meetings; and keeping in consistent contact with the faculty members who already support us, eliciting their help to promote our work to colleagues.
The group concluded with a similar point that we as a division need to better cooperate and collaborate with one another. If we aren’t aware of what one another do and cannot promote our own division internally, how can we send a coherent message to faculty?
Final thoughts that emerged were emphasizing the importance of not putting the cart before the horse; if we are not properly promoting ourselves and not getting large scale cooperation with faculty, how can we expect to make the move to true, meaningful collaboration? Student Affairs as a whole needs to better show what we do, the meaningful impacts we make on student’s lives and the value we bring to the institution through programming and student retention. So get out there and not only inform faculty of what we do, but also work more collaboratively together!