Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's missing??? Collegiality?

So I recently went to the President’s meeting with faculty this week and was prepared to promote the opening of this Blog as a forum for faculty to begin to weave the fabric of the CSU faculty experience. I listened to the administrators. I listened to the President. And I listened to faculty talk about what they are doing. I was especially happy to hear from Dr. Patterson about the program she is managing to help students improve their study skills and academic performance. Other faculty spoke and yet I sensed something else in the room. It felt like a malaise. Maybe as a group we are tired, or waiting for the next phase of the transition or disbelieving that change is possible. Maybe we are a commuter faculty with little investment beyond teaching our classes or conducting our research. What struck me most was that after 17 years at CSU there were faces I didn’t recognize. That told me that I haven’t done enough to improve the collegiality that is vital for an academic institution. So what can I do and what can I encourage my colleagues to do? Maybe just speaking about it is enough. Maybe recognizing that I am often holed up in my department or my college. Maybe it will require doing something as provocative as walking to another building or college and introducing myself to my colleagues and ask what they do. Maybe it would require faculty having a central space that we could go and meet up, have coffee, talk professionally, exchange ideas, argue with each other, teach each other or learn from each other. I certainly don’t have the answer and maybe collegiality is not an issue. Maybe staying in silos separate from each other is more desirable than creating a faculty that is the core of the university, not in theory, but in fact.

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