Developing our People

Developing our People

Kent State University
on Oct 31, 2012

CONVERSATION CLOSED
Our people are our greatest asset. How can we better support, recognize and develop the people who make our university what it is? This conversation is part of the work of the Academic Affairs Strategic Planning Committee and Provost Office.

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-10-02T14:27:53+00:00
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Recent Activity

Theresa Walton
on Dec 14, 2012
"Sorry I'm so late to the conversation. I agree with this, Linda. I think it's a fundamental issue..."
Sarah Malcolm
on Dec 11, 2012
"Everyone here makes some excellent pooints regarding faculty. I would also like to see more..."
Paul Pfeifer
on Dec 11, 2012
"I would like to see additional resources and opportunities for individual professional..."
Carol H
on Dec 11, 2012
"I also agree with Cynthia and would like add addition to this post.  Whenever salary increases..."
Rick Feinberg
on Dec 09, 2012
"We actually do something like that and have been doing so for a long time.  Back when Mike..."
Laurie Donley
on Dec 06, 2012
"I want to make sure we include training on university systems in the things that need delivered..."
Andrew Budny
on Dec 05, 2012
"That is an excellent idea. At the regional campus that I work at. It's takes me a good 30 to 40..."
Brian Newberg
on Dec 04, 2012
"Katherine, I'd be interested to have a dialog about possibly using theatre as one of the tools to..."
C  Closet-Crane
on Nov 28, 2012
"I am also an adjunct instructor; I teach for SLIS because I love teaching and it is my calling. I..."
Katherine Burke
on Nov 27, 2012
"Brian, thanks for your thoughtful response. Perhaps you and I can use our combined theatrical..."
Katherine Burke
on Nov 27, 2012
"Carey, you raise great questions. One of the challenges, I think, is that in order to stay afloat..."
Kaylan Baxter
on Nov 27, 2012
"I'd like to clarify that learning to play the harpsichord is not valueless; however, today's..."
Kaylan Baxter
on Nov 27, 2012
"Dave makes a great point. Similarly, administrators must ensure that "non-traditional"..."
Tracy Gidden
on Nov 27, 2012
"While I agree that merit awards would be nice, a lot of our junior faculty are hired in at a..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 27, 2012
"Katherine, thanks for posting this question. I am wondering if it might be worth backing it up..."
Marianne Warzinski
on Nov 26, 2012
"I agree with Cynthia. I would like to see staff be able to earn merit raises in order to reward..."
Roger Davis
on Nov 26, 2012
"Carey, I think it depends a lot on how a complement is stated. For instance if one were to offer..."
Brian Newberg
on Nov 26, 2012
"It is good, Katherine, to hear from a colleague from our School of Theatre and Dance, and from..."
Katherine Burke
on Nov 25, 2012
"I'm also an adjunct faculty member; I teach in the School of Theatre and Dance. I have done my..."
Brian Newberg
on Nov 25, 2012
"If we, as a university community, continue to forge a comprehensive process of appreciation of..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012
"Roger, that's an interesting goal. Perhaps because so many faculty are trained for intensive..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012
"Hi Victoria, At Stark we have a faculty who serves part-time as a faculty professional..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012
"At Stark and maybe at other campuses, we have these giant olympic-like medallions for our..."
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012
"At Stark they give us pins for every 5 years we serve, faculty and staff. It would be interesting..."
Linda Walker
on Nov 21, 2012
"Linda: According to a study that I did between 2010-2012, some of the faculty you mentioned feel..."
Jim Ritter
on Nov 20, 2012
"This brings up a good question, specifically, "What makes an instructor a Kent State..."
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 20, 2012
"Is it possible to expand our recognition beyond the 'one time award' process ?  Faculty who..."
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012
"I would like to see "internship/practicum" experiences available for staff members.  Many staff..."
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012
"I also work at a Regional and would appreciate similar opportunities for the HR trainings or..."
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012
"Since everyone enjoys being appreciated in different ways, perhaps a survey of the campus..."
Anne Dalby
on Nov 13, 2012 - 10:54 am

As an academic advisor I have been very excited to see the direction KASADA is going with professional development. However, as regional campus employees, our access to existing resources requires much travel and extra time. I would like to see more services offered at the regional campuses and/or broadcast through Wimba or video-conferencing.

 

Responses(4)

Jim Ritter
on Nov 14, 2012

Working at a regional campus, myself, I would like to hear how other regional campus employees feel about this issue.

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

I also work at a Regional and would appreciate similar opportunities for the HR trainings or workshops offered through KC at the Regional...better yet, offer them online so it can be done as I have time and requires no travel.

 
Andrew Budny
on Dec 05, 2012

That is an excellent idea. At the regional campus that I work at. It's takes me a good 30 to 40 minutes to drive up to Kent Main to attend a workshop. And with the price of gas going up and down at a steady pace, I feel that offering more workshops online would be more convient for those who are unalbe to attend at Main campus due to their schedules and other demands for their positions.

 
Laurie Donley
on Dec 06, 2012

I want to make sure we include training on university systems in the things that need delivered at alternate locations or via distance technology. Or could we do a train the trainer program so campuses can deliver the simpler things like Banner Navigation and GPS training that are needed by so many. As it is now it can take weeks to get a new person up and running. My newest staff member is going to end up going to Kent at least 4 times for trainings.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 09, 2012 - 1:12 pm

DEVELOPMENT & RECOGNITION

Of those activities mentioned above, which are the most important to you?

 

 

Responses(10)

Barbara  Hipsman Springer
on Nov 10, 2012

Many of us would agree that staff provide the day-to-day backbone of the university. When they help a student with a question, it is out of genuine concern. I watch in awe as the custodial staff engage with students in our building. And, I'm fully aware that they appreciate even the smallest sign of appreciation - they all got KSU sweatshirts last year to thank them and they wear them! Small things and actions - get to know their names, schedules and what they do for you daily to make your life at Kent move smoothly.

As for myself which are more important? A simple thank you for your hard work goes a long way for me and for many. The idea of a note from someone that "Heh, you've been here (fill in the blank) and we thank you for your service..." is low cost, but it only take a few minutes.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 10, 2012

I agree Barbara. Small things go a long way. The other month my artwork was featured on the college of the arts website and it made me feel appreciated and acknowledged. I wonder how intentional we are about acknoweldging the work our faculty and staff do beyond giving them paychecks and regular raises.

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

Barbara - Your point about staff is very well taken.  I know that some departments could not function without the work of the staff who help students, faculty , and administrators to function!!!  I don't think they do get enough credit for the work that they do in facilitating the workings of the university.  In my experience, I think BOTH verbal feedback AND a monetary reward are valuable to recognizing all the work (a lot of it very stressful and often thankless!) that they do.

 
Jim Ritter
on Nov 13, 2012

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day activities of our jobs that we forget to say, "thank you".  Also, it is easy to have the mindset that we do not have to thank someone for doing their job.  While this may be true, the reality is that if we simply thank someone (whether verbally, through email, or a written note), they will be more motivated to do their jobs.

 
Roger Davis
on Nov 13, 2012

I have a sign in my office that reads: "A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results." My extensive research on motivation shows that employees appreciate, and will be motivated by, a kind word of recognition more than a monetary reward. The trouble with so many supervisors today is that they are always looking for mistakes instead of accomplishments. A good supervisor hunts for something to compliment an employee for every day no matter how insignificant.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012

Roger, that's an interesting goal. Perhaps because so many faculty are trained for intensive critical thinking we do that more easily than point out what is working. I myself often wonder if it is my place to thank people for doing something as if thanking them, might imply that I think they did it for me or I am above them in a hierarchy. Perhaps we could start with just acknowledging the work that is being done.

 
Brian Newberg
on Nov 25, 2012

If we, as a university community, continue to forge a comprehensive process of appreciation of the work of all members (including those who have been marginalized) then everyone gains, including our students. The key is working on a process, supported by our top leadership, that is inclusive. This new Civic Commons dialogue is one of those steps, methinks. Another could be finding ways to aid staff members with self development efforts, as Heather (from our Stark campus) notes in this section. The university should ensure that such efforts are financially supported.

 
Roger Davis
on Nov 26, 2012

Carey,I think it depends a lot on how a complement is stated. For instance if one were to offer a thank you or congratulations for something they had absolutely no contact with or control over, then simply a “Hi Carey, I thought your exhibit on women’s colonial dress was interesting. Well done.”  would be appropriate and appreciated. I don’t believe anyone would think an acknowledgement from a “stranger” would be seen as coming from “above them”. What I was referring to was the more common issue of lack of supervisory training. I think everyone who is promoted into a supervisory position should have to take the Leadership Training sequence headed by Bob Hall in HR. Too many times faculty are promoted into management positions due to their teaching skills or research record and they don’t have the first idea how to manage people. I’ve seen time and time again that supervisors have the power to either inspire workers or demoralize them. It depends on how mature and self-aware the manager is. This is something Kent needs to work on for the good of all employees.

 
Henry Trenkelbach
on Nov 14, 2012

I agree that the staff are the backbone to the Kent Campuses.  A merit increase pool was put in place several years ago for the classified staff, but was never implemented.  It sad to see staff members who work very hard and others do not, yet they receive the same pay increase.

 
Kimberly Steele
on Nov 14, 2012

As an administrator with teaching expectations, it is difficult to continue my academic goals to earn a doctorate in my field.  The university provides faculty members with various opportunities for load adjustment for their pursuits, however, in that I am primarily listed as an administrator, there is no comparable adjustment available to my schedule to encourage let alone support continuing my education.  I'd like to see the university provide a comparable system in which administrators would have equal support in this area. 

 
Expand This Thread
David Robins
on Nov 09, 2012 - 11:16 am

I think it’s time to start seriously addressing the problem of reward systems for tenure and promotion in universities. Currently, we have a “one size fits all” model that rewards publications in peer-reviewed journals. This works well in some disciplines, where scientific achievement requires that researchers delve more deeply into increasingly narrow research frontiers in order to solve large problems. But when that model is applied in other fields such as professional programs, or even perhaps many social science and humanities disciplines, I think there are many cases that we follow a model that leads us into irrelevance. That is, we delve more deeply into increasingly narrow research frontiers that have very little payoff in terms of larger implications for scientific or human advancement. We publish in journals for the benefit of five or ten other people. And we do so blindly because it fits the reward system.

I see very talented people who, given the opportunity to influence discourse in alternative ways (blogs, speaking, teaching, micro-blogs, and other ways I have not even seen or thought of), could make a huge impact in the world. And yet, particularly junior faculty, must spend the majority of their time engaged in traditional activities such as publishing in peer reviewed journals.

Again, I’m not saying these traditional activities are all bad. But I do think there are emerging and existing channels of influence that we should consider including in our reward system.

My own discipline, user experience design, is a new discipline that has grown up around the emergence of the web and mobile communication and information use. We look at how we can design such systems to be easy to use, effective and efficient. The professionals in this field don’t value, in general, academics or academic literature. So I wonder if I could contribute more to my courses, students, and the literature of that discipline, if I did an exchange program with members of the profession. They could teach for a semester or two in my program, and I could work as an intern in their agency. I could then write about my experiences and frame those experiences in existing theoretical contexts, and begin to bridge the academic and professional worlds. Public scholarship might be more effective overall than academic scholarship, in this case.

As it was, I felt like a kid who wanted to go out and play baseball with his friends, but his parents made him stay inside after school and practice the harpsichord. There’s no real future in the harpsichord, but it was important to my conservative parents. (At least give me a piano, for the love of God!). I had to publish to get tenure, but it didn’t socialize me in the profession I was teaching students to enter.

I put this in the “Developing Our People” category because it is pertinent to the happiness and productivity and effectiveness of us as scholars to be able to devote our efforts toward scholarship that we feel will make a real difference and that will be valued by the professional and academic communities we serve. Maybe I’ll also post it to “Expanding Research and Creative Endeavors.”

Sorry for the wordines, btw.

 

Responses(4)

Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

David - Your response brings up a very good point.  It is one that those of us who are involved in other disciplines may not have considererd!  I would agre with you wholeheartedly on your point (I don't think you should be playing the harpsichord either:-)!!) and hope that there may be more feedback on this issue!  In the 21st century, we should be able to consider other kinds of work that promote excellence in an individual discipline.

 
Miriam Matteson
on Nov 13, 2012

Well said, Dave. At some level it seems like it just takes a committed department and open-minded Provost to change the game. All "scholarly output" does not need to look the same.

 
Kaylan Baxter
on Nov 27, 2012

Dave makes a great point. Similarly, administrators must ensure that "non-traditional" scholarship is valued at the university, especially as the student and greater populations become increasingly diverse. The recent (in terms of decades) shift in demographic and cultural characteristics among faculty and students at KSU should be reflected in the research and knowledge produced and reproduced by our faculty and students. The work of faculty who produce research that addresses issues unique to underrepresented and under-served communities should be embraced and viewed as complementary to an institution that seeks inclusive excellence. Of course, the work of tenure-track faculty with interests in these non-traditional areas should be held to the same expectations and level of scrutiny as that of those in traditional areas; however, in achieving equity (in terms of tenure/promotion) for these scholars, department leaders must critique their own evaluation methods to ensure that they account for progressive, high-quality scholarship that addresses the needs of a modern society.

Just as no child should be learning to play the harpsichord this day in age, no student should leave the university with an education bereft of diverse ideas that challenge her own foundational assumptions. This shaking of the foundation will only occur at an institution that welcomes and rewards faculty (as well as students) with divergent backgrounds and perceptions.

 
Kaylan Baxter
on Nov 27, 2012

I'd like to clarify that learning to play the harpsichord is not valueless; however, today's society needs pianists (and diverse scholarship) as well.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 07, 2012 - 4:02 pm

DEVELOPMENT

What specific professional development activities would you like to see offered that are currently unavailable?

RECOGNITION

How would you like your accomplishments to be recognized and what it the best mechanism for promoting those accomplishments?

 

Responses(12)

Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 08, 2012

Do you think that E-inside,which seems to be the mechanism we use for recognizing accomplishments of faculty, is effective?  Are there better 'delivery systems' that might reach more of the campus community (other than the Stater)

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 08, 2012

I think we should increase shameless self-promotion through press releases. Our accomplishments should be in the news as often as possible. Did you know that eating and driving is as bad as texting and driving, as determined by my colleague with his driving simulator? Probably nobody noticed.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 08, 2012

This is pretty hokey, but apparently Gordon Gee at OSU used to give out pins for accomplishments (to pin to your jacket or something). Eventually it got important to have one to show you weren't a slacker. Again, very silly but creating a culture of tokens of respect is good operant conditioning. Like a "10 years of service" pin for staff, etc.  This is why every sports championship has a ring, the Master's has a green jacket, and a Ph.D. comes with a hood--a truly incredible feat can be accompanied by a token. It doesn't have to be expensive, just has to be "rare" and a status symbol. Who doesn't wish they had an olympic gold medal?

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012

At Stark and maybe at other campuses, we have these giant olympic-like medallions for our Distinguished Teaching Award recipients and they are impressive to wear as they are so visible and kind of heavy.

 
Michelle Bozeman
on Nov 09, 2012

I think that the E-inside is one way but not necessarily effective beyond KSU walls.  If you want to engage the community at large, alumni etc it is essential to disseminate information through all possible channels.  If we really want KSU to lead we need to tell our story.  

 
Anne Dalby
on Nov 13, 2012

I enjoy reading the eInside each week. As a regional campus employee, it connects me to the greater Kent State community. There is a link within the eInside to read about faculty & staff accomplishments. Rather than a link to go to that list, perhaps the list could be included full-text in the eInside.

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 08, 2012

This is a hard question because most of my professional development is discipline-specific such as continuing education for licensure or quantitative workshops that are now held collaboratively by some departments. I know that the FPDC works hard to provide professional development but I usually cannot take advantage of many workshops or trainings because I am so busy with teaching and research that there is no time. I go to the things I am required to attend, like COEUS training.

 
Jan Gibson
on Nov 14, 2012

I appreciate the professional development that is within the state of Ohio that I can attend for radiologic technology to maintain certification requirements.  I also appreciate professional development on our regional campus that will enhance our skills using educational technologies. 

 
Victoria Migge
on Nov 14, 2012

I see teaching workshops & seminars offered at the Kent campus but not at the regionals This would be quite helpful and I beleive many faculty would take advantage.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012

Hi Victoria,

At Stark we have a faculty who serves part-time as a faculty professional development coordinator and she facilitates numerous development workshops presented by herself and others for faculty to make up for FPDC not being able to bring their workshops down to the regional campuses. It is great to have the on our campus as it is always difficult to find time to come to Kent. Has your campus thought of having someone to facilitate these workshops? Or do you feel that it needs to be sponsored by the university?

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

I would like to see "internship/practicum" experiences available for staff members.  Many staff that I work with have interest in developing skills in judicial affairs, research/assessment, registrar, etc.  I think it would be great if we could somehow implement an internship/practicum type of program for current staff/faculty who want to gain experience in a different area of campus.  I think these opportunities would be great for staff/faculty who want to seek opportunities for advancement either within the same area in which he/she currently works or within a different area of the University. 

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 20, 2012

Is it possible to expand our recognition beyond the 'one time award' process ?  Faculty who receive the UTC Outstanding Teaching Award or the Distinguised Teaching Award are no longer eligicle to receive this type of recognition.  This becomes significant over time as there are very limited ways that the University has to formally acknowledge excellence.  For NTTs especially, since we do not receive 'merit pay' , this means there are few other opportunities to be acknowledged in a career.  For adjuncts, the opportunites are virtually non-existent. What kinds of things can Academic Affairs do to help suppot and recognzie the excellence of its teaching faculty?

 
Expand This Thread
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 06, 2012 - 4:28 pm

In general, do you think that faculty on campus (this includes TT, NTT, and adjunct) feel "recognized" and valued as a part of the University community?  Is the idea of recognition also about consideration?  Are there things you think Academic Affairs could do to reinforce the idea that faculty -- especially teaching faculty - matter to the funciton of the university?

 

Responses(21)

Jim Ritter
on Nov 06, 2012

Piggybacking on Linda's questions, if faculty do not feel recognized, how is the best way to recognize them--monitarily, awards, etc.?

 

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 06, 2012

Sometimes the best recognition is being treated by adminstration as if what we do is valued.  The language of RCM is a clearly based on a business model.  As that model has been implemented, faculty - especially teaching faculty - have begun to feel less like part of what makes the university function and more like a cog in a huge financial machine.  How might Academic Affairs address this as part of its strategic plan?

 
Jim Ritter
on Nov 07, 2012

If it is a part of the Academic Affairs Strategic Plan, then it will need to be some type of formal program.  If that is the case, what type of formal program would faculty like to see?

 

 
Bob Batchelor
on Nov 08, 2012

There are simple methods for rewarding faculty members that do not necessitate big cash outlays. Look at corporate and business "employee of the month" programs, for example, they work (and have forever) because they are consistent in being awarded and acknowledged by the stakeholders in the system.

Something like a "faculty research spotlight award" and a "faculty teaching spotlight award" would connect faculty with one another and the larger university community. Publicizing these awards internally and externally would help raise KSU's profile, which is a key consideration in an age of anti-intellectualism.

In addition, we all work in an environment where faculty are pushed (expected) to demonstrate national and international "reputation," yet it is difficult to build toward that without recognition on one's home campus.

These kinds of modest programs can generate priceless goodwill (particularly if the administrator/system is a credible figure within the system), particularly in terms of the output of energy to make such awards.

 
Robert Jewell
on Nov 13, 2012

I strongly agree with the importance of goodwill becuase it leads to positive morale and generally a better working environment. What other things are there that can help produce positive goodwill and morale.

 
Laurie Donley
on Nov 07, 2012

One thing I have noticed is that staff receive certificates of recognition for years of service, but I don't think the faculty receive this. Seems like a simple thing to do that may be appreciated.

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 08, 2012

A formal recommendation would be to revise the current systems of timetabling and infosylem .  These programs have flaws that directly affect faculty, students and staff at the university.  One example I can give is that in selecting teaching times, reasons for 'opting out' of teaching at certain times are 'tiered' and if your reason isn't acceptable enough, the class tmie can be assigned to you anyway.  This does not seem to me to be the best way to 'recognize people'.  I think working to improve in some of these fundamental areas that affect people's daily lives may be better ways to recognize people in order to enhance positive attitudes and to help people to feel validated for the work they do.

 
Jim Ritter
on Nov 08, 2012

I agree.  I do not believe that timetabling should be used as an incentive, especially if an instructor is asked when he/she wants to teach and is given a time they do not want--why bother asking then?

 

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

I have addressed this in another thread, but it is probably work toucing on again here. The faculty response to timetabling/infosilem issues has generally not been favorable.   The system is very sensitive and does not allow much for 'human error' or correction.  For example, if an instructor requests an time change in the schedule, the instructor's teaching location will most likely no longer be available. And sometimes, even if the room SHOWS available to the person looking at the screen, the system says that it is not available. Colleagues are frustrated, angry, and upset.  I began teaching as a grad students under the old 'sit in the student center and had students a card to enroll in a course' method.  It was slow and cumbersome and lacked efficiency, but guess what it did?  Students and faculty engaged one on one -- it was interpersonal.  It made everyone HUMAN.  Faculty considerations for days and times were based on seniority and need (should any of us be forced to identify and prove our medical needs in order to get a reasonable schedule?) ....  Of course there were flaws and problems, but at the very least, there was potential that they could be resolved by 'interfacing' with live people. 

If we are invested as a university in truly 'recognizing our people' , shouldn't it begin with the most basic kinds of recognition of the important role that people (faculty, staff, and students) play at the university? 

 
Theresa Walton
on Dec 14, 2012

Sorry I'm so late to the conversation. I agree with this, Linda. I think it's a fundamental issue of treating us as people, with complex needs for accomodation and recognition. I feel the timetabling system treats us as cogs in a machine. It's tough to feel like a valued member of a community if your needs, concerns and working conditions are not taken into account. I have to admit, it even makes me skeptical of this 'civic commons' engagement. Is it just a checkmark in a box of 'let employees feel their voices are being heard', or will what is said here be truly considered in ways that changes practices? I haven't heard a single positive thing about timetabling. The word through the grapevine is that 'we' have paid too much money for it to let it go. I'd like to understand why that money was spent in the first place? Autonomy is one of the most valued aspects of our lives as academics. Anything that diminishes that should be carefully considered and fully explained.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 24, 2012

At Stark they give us pins for every 5 years we serve, faculty and staff. It would be interesting to see what affect the pins or things have on employees. I think I sent my recent pin back to the dean's office as a way of recycling it because I usually don't wear that kind of ornamentation.

Sometimes I wonder about spending money on things/gifts when people, especially during these hard financial times, would rather see the funds put toward something more useful like a scholarship.

 
Wendy Pfrenger
on Nov 14, 2012

I appreciate Linda's inclusion of NTTs and adjuncts in this question. I hear from students that they can see the differences between a single course taught by faculty with different statuses. Adjuncts are often moving between various institutions, teaching similar courses - this is something we all know. The result can sometimes be that students aren't getting "Kent" courses so much as generic, semi-appropriate instruction from a person who may be doing his or her best, but not quite hitting the mark for Kent's purposes - which isn't fair to our students. Nor is it ideal for adjuncts. More professional development opportunities for adjuncts, connected to modest compensation, might have the impact both of recognizing the significant contributions adjuncts make to our campuses and boosting the connection between adjuncts and their home departments/campuses. Fellowships for NTTs and adjuncts connected to ongoing education in one's discipline, research opportunities, and pedagogical innovation might be attractive ways to meet the need both for development and recognition.

I should add that I'm an adjunct myself, and I benefited greatly from fellows programs at the University of Connecticut's regional campuses.

 
Jim Ritter
on Nov 20, 2012

This brings up a good question, specifically, "What makes an instructor a Kent State instructor?"  Tenured faculty members bring a certain type of Kent State culture with them to the classroom.  But what happens when classes are being taught by adjunct instructors.  In other words, at what point is a student not receiving a Kent State education because she/he has had so many adjunct instructors?

 
C  Closet-Crane
on Nov 28, 2012

I am also an adjunct instructor; I teach for SLIS because I love teaching and it is my calling. I chose to teach part-time rather than get a non-academic job because there are not enough existing tenure lines  to ensure full employment for all graduating PhDs in my field.

Comments about adjunct instructors failing to give a Kent State education are discouraging examples of a discourse that reinforces adjuncts  feelings of not being very much recognized or respected as educators. This type of discourse results in breaking the morale of the "adjunct contingent" and relegates us to the academic equivalent of grunt troops.

It would be nice to recognize our contributions to student learning with some category of teaching excellency award for APTF (adjunct & part time faculty).

 

 
Katherine Burke
on Nov 25, 2012

I'm also an adjunct faculty member; I teach in the School of Theatre and Dance. I have done my utmost to teach in a problem-posing, Freirian way, which consumes a lot of time and energy for me. I have another job at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine which also takes a lot of my time, energy, and gas money. I wish I had more time to meet with students, to give them assignments that hold them to higher standards, to develop more rigorous and engaging curriculum. More than 50% of instructors at Kent State are adjunct. Can we change this system? How? 

 

 

 
Brian Newberg
on Nov 26, 2012

It is good, Katherine, to hear from a colleague from our School of Theatre and Dance, and from someone who speaks up for the rights of adjunct faculty. As a full time faculty member at KSU who spent a number of years as a "freeway flying" adjunct in California, I understand and support your comments.

So, what other ideas do folks have about creating an environment at KSU that not only values adjunct faculty but provides ways to help them teach more effectively? Wendy's comments are certainly a step in the right direction.

I coordinate a department which utilizes the talents of a number of adjunct faculty. I believe that they bring a diversity of experiences that enriches the education of our students. That diversity should be a part of what makes a "Kent State education."

 

 
Katherine Burke
on Nov 27, 2012

Brian, thanks for your thoughtful response. Perhaps you and I can use our combined theatrical experience to help find some solutions, using Legislative Theatre (a branch of Theatre of the Oppressed) to explore the issues and get input from an audience of adjuncts, other faculty, and administrators. 

 
Brian Newberg
on Dec 04, 2012

Katherine, I'd be interested to have a dialog about possibly using theatre as one of the tools to stimulate discussion and solutions. While I'm familiar with Boal's work, I am not saavy with Legislative Theatre methods. So let's talk outside the realm of the Civic Commons about ideas, if you wish.

I'm working on a devising theatre project this year at Stark, which might interest you, as well. My theatre show webpage link is: http://www.stark.kent.edu/academics/depts/thea/shows/voices-from-hurt-street.cfm. You can also garner my contact info on the site.

 
Carey McDougall
on Nov 27, 2012

Katherine, thanks for posting this question. I am wondering if it might be worth backing it up and asking academic affairs to be more proactive in sharing the mission of hiring part-time faculty. I think the original intent was to bring in real world expertise and now it seems a combination of that and other reasons. So a question like, what is our long term plan for the proportion of part-time and full-time faculty at KSU? What expertise are we looking for in part-time faculty and how can we support them best?

 
Katherine Burke
on Nov 27, 2012

Carey, you raise great questions. One of the challenges, I think, is that in order to stay afloat in the current economic climate, departments need to have courses that bring in a lot of students (intro, survey, online, etc.), and it's not financially possible to use full-time faculty to teach most of these courses. I'm simplifying here, and of course I'm not privy to budget information. But there are many departments who have armies of adjuncts teaching intro courses. 

The issue then becomes one of restructuring almost everything about how a department makes ends meet, while still adequatley supporting all of its faculty members, and making sure that the students' classroom experiences are challenging them to think critically. If KSU can figure out a solution to this problem, universities across the nation will look to us a a model!

 
Linda Walker
on Nov 21, 2012

Linda: According to a study that I did between 2010-2012, some of the faculty you mentioned feel valued and others do not. I'll follow up with you.

Jim: RE: same study mentioned above. Don't misunderstand me because money is a huge incentive, but believe me when I tell you that folk just want to be recognized for what they are doing, treated kindly by supervisors/administrators, and stuff like that. The literature on diversity is replete with this information. One researcher said it is not "rocket science" and all of us probably remember or have taught our children/grandchildren 'The Golden Rule.' The dean of College of the Arts and director of the School of Music could teach a MASTER class on how to recognize and acknowledge people for what they do. Maybe they could train some other people around the university. 

 

 
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Joel Hughes
on Nov 06, 2012 - 12:38 pm

I think that excellence should be recognized and rewarded in various domains: research, teaching, service, student leadership, etc.

For faculty, every R01 or other large grant should be recognized. Every publication in an extremely top-tier journal (JAMA, Science). Becoming a fellow of a scientific organization, being appointed to an editorial board of a good journal, etc.

For faculty, excellence in teaching should be rewarded.  

For students, academic success is under appreciated. Any student with a high enough GPA (3.7?)who is still here for their senior year should get presents--not necessarily cash, but something that says "we are really glad you're here."

Everyone needs cash, but cash can be crass, and may not always be the best motivator. For example, some rewards are worth more than a one-time bonus or merit pay in terms of employee satisfaction. Merit pay is a separate and sometimes contentious process, and a one-time cash bonus of $500 or $1000 usually gets absorbed into the family finances for boring responsibilites (like the semi-annual car insurance payment).  

For faculty, rewards that are highly valued could take many forms: a designated "VIP" parking spot for a year, or free parking for a year. A part-time student employee for a semester. A new peice of office furniture. A gift certificate to a good restaurant. Some KSU apparel (I want a navy blue blazer with a KSU logo!). Anything that you wish you had but weren't prepared to spend money on. I got a Kent State Inventor business card holder for my first patent application and I was excited about that! Faculty who do well should accumulate things that increase their pride in KSU over the years. This is like the airlines frequent flyer programs or stores reward cards--people love "perks" that they can accumulate for loyal service or excellence.

Finally, many people really appreciate being noticed. If they get a large grant and the chair/dean/provost don't even mention it, that is discouraging and sends the message that research is not important in their department/college. 

 

 

Responses(4)

Jim Ritter
on Nov 06, 2012

Joel,

I think you raise many good issues. I noticed that you did not mention clerical support or administration.  Can you think of any ways to motivate these groups as well?

 

Thanks.

Jim

 
Joel Hughes
on Nov 07, 2012

That's such a hard question. For staff, the same principles apply with perhaps different incentives. Also I think that "local is better" so if the departments in which staff work can recognize them that's ideal, but there's usually no budget for perks for staff. For administrators there is the perception that being an administrator is recognition in and of itself, and also the problem that the scale of recognition gets to be a public relations liability for the University (like once a senior administrator had his tuition paid at Case Western Reserve University...and the President's bonus exceeds the annual salary of most faculty and staff at KSU). So I don't know how to recognize administrators.

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

I think Joel makes an excellent point about not having a recognition budget.  It would be great for units to have a budget for recognition...whatever may be appreciated by the respective staff.  It would also be great if we could remove barriers to recognition.  Staff's I've worked with tend to appreciate food days...it would be nice to be allowed to use "recognition" funds for food if that's a motivational factor and appreciated.

 
Beverly Jones
on Nov 13, 2012

I like the idea of a designated parking spot - but for staff!  They have to be on campus all day, every day and are often the last to leave at night (after dark) and also don't feel they can leave campus for lunch or errands because they will lose their parking space.  The staff are the underpaid/unsung heroes of KSU who deserve a few "perks." 

Classified staff receive no incentives to do a good job - no merit-based salary increases.  Staff can no longer keep their pay if they move to another position that is at a lower pay grade which limits their options tremendously. They are now limited in their ability to move into an administrative position if they lack a college degree.  This system creates a glass ceiling for people at the upper end of the classified ranks and is a waste of human potential. 

 
Expand This Thread
Mandy Munro-Stasiuk
on Nov 05, 2012 - 1:33 pm

Hi everyone.  I'm the chair of the "Developing and recognizing our people" sub-committee.  As part of the KSU community, we all appreciate effective professional development and like to be recognized for our work.  Whether you are a faculty member, staff, or a student we would like to hear your ideas.

 

Responses(15)

Bob Batchelor
on Nov 05, 2012

The pressure to publish, present papers, and grow reputations for "junior" faculty members is intense. Yet, the scholarly, teaching, and other high-profile faculty awards are geared at senior faculty. One reads about various faculty awards and then the fine print indicates that eligibility hinges on being at KSU for seven years, etc.

It would be wonderful if younger faculty members had aspirational awards and the like.

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 05, 2012

I think you make a very good point here Bob.  I think it's important to recognize faculty of all levels at the University.

 
AnnMarie LeBlanc
on Nov 06, 2012

I agree with you, Bob and Linda. Perhaps we need to hear from some of our recently hired faculty colleagues regarding their thoughts on this subject.

 
Mandy Munro-Stasiuk
on Nov 05, 2012

Hi Bob and fellow Kent Staters! 

This is not the first time I've heard this point.  Research shows that there is much higher job satisfaction when people are simply even acknowledged for their accomplishments.  Recognition can come in many forms: large cash awards, write-ups in Kent State Media outlets, certificates and plaques, and research funding to name a few.  Do you have any specific ideas on how best to acknowledge our newest generation of faculty?

 
Tracy Gidden
on Nov 27, 2012

While I agree that merit awards would be nice, a lot of our junior faculty are hired in at a higher pay grade than some faculty that have been here for years that don't fit into the category of Senior Faculty yet or Junior faculty any longer. On another note, how would the University pay for these merit awards? We are having trouble negotiating a NTT contract now.

 
Wendy K Bedrosian
on Nov 06, 2012

I would like the University to seriously consider the track other Universities have embraced - awarding equal merit for the scholarship of teaching. Students come here to learn from us; I came here, and stay here, to teach. I would like to be recognized for the excellence of my teaching without the pressure to be pulled away from it to "publish or perish." I know that I am not alone but do feel lonely much of the time...

 
Mandy Munro-Stasiuk
on Nov 06, 2012

Hi Wendy.  Can you elaborate a little more.  Are you actually talking about merit awards, which should be split 50/50, or are you referring to other forms of recognition?

 
Rachael Volokhov
on Nov 14, 2012

I think both merit awards and other forms of recognition for new faculty members would be welcome.  As I understand it, merit awards come in monetary form.  That is an attractive idea for most of us!  However, even token forms of recognition (i.e. pieces of paper) would be useful to junior faculty...I have an 'awards and recognition' section on my CV, and I assume those types of awards would be looked on in a favorable light during reappointment and tenure processes.  The question would be determining who should be doing the awarding (students, colleagues, or administration...or all three) and what criteria should be used (votes, evaluations, etc).

 
Rick Feinberg
on Dec 09, 2012

We actually do something like that and have been doing so for a long time.  Back when Mike Schwartz was president I chaired a Faculty Senate committee to investigate the costs and benefits of merit pay.  Unsurprisingly, we found many areas of disagreement; but one of the most pervasive grew from the fact that different untis have different missions and different faculty members have different areas of strength.  When merit is allocated solely on the basis of research and publication, units and colleagues who excel in teaching but don't publish a lot suffer.  One of the committee's major recommendations was that merit awards be divided into two equal pools, one to reward excellence in research and publication, the other to reward excellence in teaching and service.  That recommendation was incorporated into the next collective bargaining agreement, and it was continued through the remainder of Schwartz's administration as well as under presidents Cartwright and Lefton.  There are serious questions involving the very idea of merit raises.  If we don't have them, colleagues who work hard and make outstanding contributions feel their efforts are unappreciated.  If we do have them, however, they lead to conflicts over what constitutes meritorious performance, who should be receive merit raises, and how much.  It also leads to suspicion of favoritism among those making the decisions.  In general, KSU has tried to steer a middle course by creating a merit pool some years but not others, and by including across-the-board raises to one degree or another every year.  One can argue about whether or not we have struck the right balance.  But the fact is that our merit system for decades has been designed to recognize and reward both teaching and research.

 
Bob Batchelor
on Nov 10, 2012

This is off-topic, but someone who has editing privileges might want to change the reference to "Tim" Diacon to "Todd" at the top of the page...

 
Linda Piccirillo-Smith
on Nov 11, 2012

Thanks Bob -- the subcommittee members don't have that power, but the people from the Civic Commons Website do. I will send them your message!! Thank you!

 
Miriam Matteson
on Nov 13, 2012

I'm not sure I've located the correct thread in which to post this. I'm responding to the first prompt at the top "What types of support would you like Kent State to provide you to help develop your professional and academic goals?"

An issue important to me is my need for time and training on developing innovative online courses. I have the domain knowledge. I even have old-school skills of preparing a lecture, creating in-class F2F activities, leading real-time F2F dicussion. These same learning activities need modification and adaption to the online environment, and I am not aware of the best technologies or techniques to use.

I probably could teach them to myself, but it gets a little harder if I'm teaching myself while teaching the courses. Just generally, I feel what constitudes "teaching" has changed dramatically just in my 4 years here, and I am underprepared. Particularly given that in these same 4 years I've been pushing hard on a research agenda.

I like online courses and I enjoy the possibilities new technology offers. I am not a Luddite, but I could use some help, and time.

 
Heather  Guarnieri
on Nov 16, 2012

Since everyone enjoys being appreciated in different ways, perhaps a survey of the campus community to inquire about feedback would be good?  The feedback provided via this forum would serve as a great starting point.  I think the most important thing about recognition is that it's truly felt and not just a mass generated "token" of appreciation.  Something that really says, "I see that you did a great job, and I appreciate it."  Some people value personal notes from supervisors, money, beverage coupons, parking spaces, flex time...this is a huge one with my staff, gifts from a catalog, etc.

 
Paul Pfeifer
on Dec 11, 2012

I would like to see additional resources and opportunities for individual professional development for administrative staff.  With financial support from the University for individual memberships in professional organizations, as well as attending symposia and conferences in my field, I feel I could advance my knowledge, networking, and collaboration from a professional perspective.  Espcecially being part of a fairly new University program, I think I could benefit the program and the University by being more active in professional organizations with more funding and time resources.  Maybe one of the ways to recognize or reward staff/faculty for certain accomplishments is for the University to sponsor an individual membership or conference travel expense for a professional organization.

 
Sarah Malcolm
on Dec 11, 2012

Everyone here makes some excellent pooints regarding faculty. I would also like to see more mechanisms for staff to advance. We invest a lot of time an money hiring and training professional staff such as advisors, admissions counselors, student affairs administrators, and etc. There is little opportunity for these people to advance in their careers. I have seen a lot of promising young professionals over the years who are making the low end of a salary and then leave the university for a better paying position because there wasn't an opportunity to advance here.  How can we create an enviroment where people are rewarded for their hard work and see an opportunity for advancement?  It is critical that employees feel appreciated because that will translate into better service for our students.

 
Expand This Thread
Kent State University
on Nov 01, 2012 - 12:07 pm

DEVELOPMENT

What types of support would you like Kent State to provide you to help develop your professional and academic goals?

RECOGNITION

What types of professional and academic accomplishments should be recognized and shared with the KSU community?

 

Responses(3)

Cynthia  Schragg
on Nov 14, 2012

As I understand it, there are no programs in place to award merit raises for classified staff. Other than the personal satisfaction I get for a good day's work, there is really no incentive for me to work any harder than I do.

A co-worker of mine can skate by each day by doing the minimum his/her job requires and offering poor customer service to our students. Because we all get the same raise, it's unfair to equate my work with theirs by giving the same annual raise.

It merit raises are offered at other levels of employment with KSU, why aren't they at the classified level?

 
Marianne Warzinski
on Nov 26, 2012

I agree with Cynthia. I would like to see staff be able to earn merit raises in order to reward those who work hard. I think overall staff is not recognized or seen with the same respect as faculty. I had faculty status for 5 years and staff for 6 and feel that I'm now treated differently (and it's not better!).

 
Carol H
on Dec 11, 2012

I also agree with Cynthia and would like add addition to this post.  Whenever salary increases are done yearly and they raise the base up by 2% or whatever percent--anyone within job grade should also be increased.  It is not fair for someone to come into the university with zero experience and be making the same as me or extremely close to someone else who's been in their position.  Furthermore, when we wanted to create a job description for a classified position to upgrade a person to higher classified position which was UNIQUE--we were told that basically one size fits all and unless it can fit at least 5 or 6 other people in the university they wouldn't approve it--my question would be--Why do we have so many non classified jobs that are "unique" that no others can fit into with various titles and pays, but the classified personnel do not--I think we should be afforded the same opportunities as they have for the non-classified staff.

 
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