The mission of Academic Affairs is that of Valdosta State University, which is to:
- Prepare our students to meet global opportunities and challenges through excellence in teaching and learning.
- Expand the boundaries of current knowledge, and explore the practical applications of that knowledge, through excellence in scholarship and creative endeavors.
- Promote the economic, cultural, and educational progress of our community and our region, through excellence in service outreach
VSU seeks to accomplish this mission in a dynamic, student-centered learning environment marked by a respect for diverse abilities, backgrounds, and contributions by all members of the university community.
History of Faculty Excellence Initiative
In October 2011, the members of the initiative met for the first time and were given the following charge from VPAA and Provost, Dr. Phil Gunter:
- Funding for professional development in faculty has been an on-going process at VSU.
- Challenges are growing for needs of faculty; need to keep them at the forefront of advancing society.
- Classroom discipline procedures are changing.
- This committee is charged with assessing the current needs and making a recommendation as to how best to meet the continual needs of VSU Faculty in regards to faculty development.
At the next meeting in November 2011, members began to focus on how they wanted to define “faculty development” and to begin to develop a plan for data gathering. A four part plan was developed, which included the members splitting into to subcommittees. One subcommittee worked on finalizing the surveys and then analyzed their results:
- In January 2012, all faculty would be invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. The survey contained questions about what they felt they needed from VSU to continue developing their teaching and scholarship, what kinds of delivery would work best for them (e.g., webinars, ongoing series of workshops, one-time workshops, etc.), what times are best for them, what are factors that limit or inhibit their faculty development, etc.
- In February 2012, administrators who are involved in academics (e.g., department heads, Deans and Directors, etc.) were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Some of the questions were similar to the faculty survey and some asked them about what issues they believed their faculty might have about teaching and scholarship, why recent faculty applicants turned down positions at VSU, what reasons faculty have given who have recently left VSU, etc.
- In March-April 2012, graduate students were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. This survey asked them about what kinds of development opportunities and training they did receive, and what types of opportunities they might want to receive.
- In March-April 2012, the other subcommittee investigated VSU’s peer institutions, peer Aspirational institutions, and all other USG institutions. They researched what kind of faculty development opportunities there were on campus, especially if there was some sort of teaching and learning center or center for teaching excellence, and if so, what was its structure and place in the institution. They also investigated what types of faculty development opportunities were available (e.g., workshops, seminars, webinars, one-on-one mentoring, voluntary classroom observations, etc.).
After gathering this information, a select few institutions were identified as having models which might be where we want VSU to grow toward in the next few years. Phone interviews will be arranged with their Center Directors to learn more specific information, such as to whom does the Director report? How is the Center funded?, etc.