What is the Faculty Development Series?
The BYU Faculty Development Series (FDS) is designed to assist new BYU faculty in building a strong foundation for quality teaching, scholarship, and citizenship. Participation in the Series helps faculty members:
- increase their understanding of the university's mission and its role in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints;
- explore faculty opportunities and responsibilities;
- strengthen their ability to make significant contributions through their professional service; and
- find greater joy and satisfaction in their professional lives.
The BYU Faculty Development Series is specifically designed for all newly-hired faculty and full-time faculty in tenure-track positions, regardless of previous experience in other universities or work settings. In addition, the Fall Seminar component of this Series is open to all new full-time hires—including faculty on temporary, visiting, or even one-semester appointments.
The full Series includes a number of components (over an 18-month period): Fall Seminar, FDS Mentoring , Spring Seminar, Faculty Development Plan, FDS Projects, and a concluding luncheon. These experiences are designed to assist faculty as they:
- Investigate the body of knowledge and practice which facilitates student learning;
- Carefully examine the role of scholarship and the work needed to establish a strong program of scholarly activity;
- Explore faculty citizenship and the many opportunities for faculty to contribute to the university community;
- Develop skills to improve time management and increase productivity;
- Form a mentoring relationship with an accomplished colleague for the purpose of professional development; and
- Prepare for the third-year "continuing status" review process.
During the Spring Seminar, all participants review their professional goals for the coming year and propose a Course Development Project, a Scholarship Project, and a Citizenship Project for the remainder of the BYU Faculty Development Series (non-teaching or non-researching faculty may propose alternative projects). These projects are designed to provide additional structure and resources for faculty to accomplish their own goals. There is a $300 grant available for the Course Development Project. You can make a request for this grant by writing Assistant Director Jenith Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants are encouraged to share their work-in-progress with their mentors and chairs. At the conclusion of the Series, participants prepare a final report about their work. These reports serve as valuable additions to participants' dossiers for continuing status.
As the key faculty development resource for each new faculty member, the department chair (or director) is an important part of the BYU Faculty Development Series. Participants should counsel with their chairs about their participation in the Series, selection of mentors, Faculty Development Plans, and FDS Projects. Chairs also review the final reports for these projects. These discussions and reports keep the chair informed and provide opportunities for the chair to discuss department expectations and give constructive feedback to the new faculty member.
To help compensate for the time commitment required by the BYU Faculty Development Series, new faculty who choose to participate fully in the Series receive a stipend. A teaching grant is also available to assist faculty in enhancing learning through their Course Development Project.
[The Spring Seminar] was inspiring and insightful. I feel that it is a great privilege to be on the Brigham Young University faculty. You have helped me to focus my efforts in the right direction.
[The Spring Seminar] was one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had.
I was surprised and, frankly, overwhelmed by the quality of the experience [of the Spring Seminar]. It was informative, interesting, and deeply inspiring.
[The Spring Seminar] was definitely a worthwhile experience and should become a part of every new faculty member's training here at BYU.
I can't believe I'm getting paid to go to it! It was a true spiritual and intellectual treat.
I sense it will have a profound impact on the overall quality of the faculty here after five or ten years.
This is an important statement by the administration that they value us as new faculty and want to see us succeed. I also very much enjoyed the opportunity for interaction with other new faculty to get a sense of perspective about what we are about and how to meet the challenges at hand. I have some very close friends who are also new faculty, and my relationships with them has been most helpful, but it was good to get a sense of reality from a sample of more then just 2 or 3 people.
The seminar was a great blessing in my life at BYU. I think it took me almost a year of doing my very best, yet still feeling I could do/be more as a professor to be ready to receive the inspired messages I received during the seminar. Even though my expectations for my own performance were raised during the two-week experience, I came away with a conviction that I am, indeed, here because the Lord wants me to be here, that I have something unique to contribute to the university community, and that with sustained and focused effort on the things that matter most I will achieve continuing status and at the same time make progress in my own quest for excellence.
A deeply satisfying spiritual experience, which I did not really anticipate. The opportunity to interact closely with colleagues experiencing much the same sort of thing I am was enormously helpful.
Thank you, thank you! The seminar really helped me gain a better focus and has helped me to understand more fully the role of BYU and my relationship/responsibility to the institution.
It definitely cleared in my mind the purpose of BYU and my personal priorities here.
The greatest value of the seminar is that it sends a strong message to the faculty that the University CARES.
The seminar was a great help to my sense of feeling more organized and prepared for the many responsibilities I have as a new faculty member. I was buoyed up by conversations with other new faculty and senior faculty members, by the musical numbers and comments, by the sheer love and commitment to this university that every speaker expressed. I sailed through my dissertation defense because of the confidence and peace that the seminar had helped bring into my life.
Very beneficial conference. It was impressive to see the interest the university has in supporting new faculty. Very well done. I consider the seminar to be a very valuable and worthwhile experience.
I had a genuine spiritual experience at the seminar related to the mission of BYU, the role of our students/graduates in the world and in the Church, the essentially spiritual nature of what we are doing here, and my role.
What is it?
The faculty development plan is a blueprint describing a faculty member's proposed professional activities. According to the University Policy on Faculty Rank and Status, this plan includes the following elements:
- The faculty member's self-assessment of his or her strengths, skills, competencies, interests, opportunities, and areas in which the faculty member wishes to develop.
- The faculty member's professional goals in citizenship, teaching, and scholarship (or citizenship and professional service, for professional faculty) and the plan to accomplish these goals.
- The relationship between individual goals and department and university aspirations and needs.
- Resources needed to accomplish the professional goals, including budgetary support, equipment, time, etc.
- The faculty member's activities and accomplishments so far in achieving the goals.
- The faculty member's comments, if desired, on measures used to assess success in his or her professorial or professional responsibilities and in accomplishing the goals set forth in the plan.(University Policy on Faculty Rank and Status; 3.1.2; http://policy.byu.edu/)
An important feature of the plan is to help you identify your top priorities and goals. The more specific and measurable your goals are, the more the plan can help you focus on your priorities and track your progress. Mentors can serve as consultants in the process of creating a faculty development plan. Chairs review these plans with the new faculty and provide feedback. The document should reflect an appropriate mix reflecting department, college, and university needs and expectations and the new faculty member's aspirations. A signed copy should be included in the new faculty member's department file. It is assumed that faculty members will continue to use and modify this plan through discussions with their department chairs and throughout their careers.
The Purpose of the Faculty Development Plan
The faculty development plan serves several purposes:
- It encourages the faculty member to think reflectively and then make explicit her/his vision and goals for an effective contribution to the university.
- It allows new faculty members to "float trial balloons" with their mentors/chairs.
- It facilitates reciprocal communication among faculty, mentors, and chairs
- Expectations can be clarified, including any conflicting views between what the chair and new faculty expect - thus limiting future "surprises."
- Resources can be negotiated to successfully achieve goals.
- A written document is produced for future reference, decreasing dependence on inaccurate memories.
- It contains long- and short-term goals that can be revisited during stewardship interviews and used as benchmarks for progress.
How will the Spring Seminar help?
You are invited to create a draft of your faculty development plan before the Spring Seminar. During the Spring Seminar, presentations, readings, and discussions will help you define and clarify the contributions you plan to make at BYU. With the assistance of your mentor, you will refine this plan and then discuss it with your department chair.
Click on your college to the right to see sample proposals.