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Seattle University

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Getting to know SU

Written by Mike Thee
September 14, 2010

Joining the university as a new faculty member is a daunting proposition. There’s so much to learn about the mission, culture and students of the institution, to say nothing of the university’s expectations for teaching and research. Fortunately for SU’s latest arrivals, the New Faculty Institute is there to provide information and support.

Last week, nearly 40 new faculty members, representing every school and college of the university, participated in the three-day institute.  

Led by the Center for Excellence and Teaching and Learning’s Director Therese Huston and Associate Director David Green, the NFI has five goals: (1) build community and interdisciplinary collaboration across campus; (2) explore the Jesuit Catholic mission of the university; (3) discuss the art of balancing scholarship, teaching, and service; (4) model effective teaching practices; and (5) in a follow-up session in the winter, explain university-level expectations around rank and tenure for tenure-track NFI participants. 

Participants heard from President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., Provost Isiaah Crawford and Vice President for Mission and Ministry Peter Ely, S.J., and a number of topics were explored, including SU’s educational mission, the students of SU and what teaching a research is like at the institution. 

Paul Smith, who first joined SU last spring as an adjunct professor in the College of Science and Engineering, was one of the 39 new faculty to participate in the institute. “After the NFI I like SU even more,” he said. “I knew about the interest that the university has for education and service but I was not aware of the extent and importance of these two. I feel honored and very lucky to be part of such dynamic and committed group of individuals who care about others this much.” 

The institute, he continued, was instrumental in providing new faculty “with guidance about where to find resources to do a better job as scholars. It also taught us about the culture and atmosphere that we can find in SU (quite vibrant and dynamic). It was truly revealing and motivating.  

Members of the institute’s planning team are: Mary Bowman (Law), Peter Brous (Albers), Terri Clark (Nursing), Mary-Antoinette Smith (Arts and Sciences) and Lindsay Whitlow (Science and Engineering). Associate Provost Jacquelyn Miller is chair, and Huston and Green are co-directors.