Please find my “Being Faculty Statement” below! I encourage comments, questions, or suggestions!
I believe that the ultimate aim of education is to empower individuals to discover, develop, and voice their own personal story, strengths, and skills through experience and inquiry with others. With that broad aspirational framing of education, the institution of higher education need be a challenging and inviting space where all can immerse in the pursuit of learning and knowing. Further, as an institution concerned with the growth and development of each of us as citizens, higher education is integrally intertwined with the culture of the communities in which we live. As such, the institution, and those within it, need be reflexively aware of how acts of learning and knowing affect the shaping and addressing of our greatest challenges – there cannot be an “ivory tower” removed from the “real world.” Considering some of these phrases above about the philosophical positioning of higher education carries with it strong beliefs about the roles and responsibilities of faculty members.
A challenging and inviting space where all can immerse.
Being a faculty member is an honor. One is trusted with opening a safe and inclusive space for dialogue and interaction that also incorporates the challenge and dissonance required for critical inquiry. Teaching and mentoring involves walking beside emerging professionals in the field and playing an active role in shaping those individuals perceptions about education, research, and community in addition to disciplinary content. The ethos of an institution is built by the daily interactions of those within it. As institutional leaders, faculty represent the institution and the profession itself and the way in which one treats the honor of teaching and mentoring likely defines more than we can fully realize.
Pursuit of learning and knowing.
Being a faculty member is a responsibility to one’s self, to one’s colleagues, and to the world. We are called to push the edge of knowledge. Higher education faculty are trusted to develop means for exploring, shaping, problem solving, interpreting, and improving the world in which we live. Today’s research necessarily should build on yesterday’s contributions for tomorrow’s complexities and challenges. Additionally, the word pursuit implies that there is no finish line. We are called not only to push the edge of knowledge in our fields but also to continuously learn and improve ourselves as individuals. A PhD might be a terminal degree and tenure might be a significant milestone, but both should represent humble rededications to a lifetime of pursuit.
Integrally intertwined with the culture of the communities in which we live.
Being a faculty member is a role that cannot be decontextualized. The institution itself is a growing, evolving, learning, contextual entity with the same honor and responsibility described for faculty member’s above. Similarly, one’s role as faculty in the institution is integrally intertwined with one’s role as a citizen in the world. Just as the “outside” world should inform teaching and research in the institution and vice versa, so too should our individual roles and responsibilities as citizens affect and be affected by status as faculty members.