To the uninitiated, a large university may appear to be an armored citadel: a towered, windowless fortress protecting the secrets of how things work, sheltered behind a deep moat of regulations and rules. Only a select few are admitted to the inner sanctum, those who have been around long enough to have learned how to charm the guards, to navigate the moat, and to unravel the secrets.

This perception often persists without justification, damaging relations between faculty and administration. The Faculty Leadership Institute is breaking down those perceived walls at the University of Colorado Boulder, and building a sense of community, collaboration, and connectedness in its place. With the Faculty Leadership Institute, CU Boulder is working to develop the next generation of faculty campus leaders by introducing them to a segment of the individuals charged with the responsibility of running the university and the issues associated with their offices.

Each year, a group of peer-nominated faculty is chosen to make up the new leadership class. The group meets regularly with senior members of the University administration, including the Chancellor, the Provost, Vice-Chancellors, and Deans. During these meetings, each administrator explains what his or her department does, how it functions, what impact that department has upon the activities of the University as a whole, and how that department’s actions affect the daily work of the faculty. For the participants, these sessions provide a unique opportunity to engage in an open conversation with these individuals on topics that are of concern to the faculty.

Formal meetings of the leadership cohort take place once per month, with informal get-togethers occurring more frequently to encourage and build upon the relationships between participants.

Commenced in the 2013-2014 academic year with 16 participants, the Faculty Leadership Institute continues to provide faculty with a unique introduction to the university as well as building a bridge between faculty and administration.

Faculty members interested in either nominating a faculty member to participate in FLI or are interested in participating personally should send a short paragraph describing their interest to Paul Chinowsky. Preference is given to Associate Professors and Senior Instructors, although all ranks are welcome to apply.

FLI Projects

Class of 2015-2016

Series of invited presentations featuring research, pedagogy, or creative works by CU Boulder faculty and presented to CU Boulder faculty and administration.

Create a campus-wide and national dialogue regarding how best to define, evaluate, and reward the unique work of Instructors and Senior Instructors as central contributors to the undergraduate experience.

Two-year working group to enhance diversity and improve classroom climate by developing an annual faculty workshop on classroom culture, developing a clearinghouse of resources on campus, and identifying other issues and potential solutions.

Class of 2014-2015

Through the ePortfolio experience, a student can actively participate in the academic process by including reflections on lessons, projects, or their involvement in campus programs or community activities. ePortfolios blend professional and personal aspects to create a holistic view of a student during their academic experience.

Through improved citizen engagement we can improve public perception of CU-Boulder and the value that it brings to the community, provide opportunities for community-engaged learning and scholarship to students and faculty, and facilitate recruitment of high quality students within the state.

Provide mechanisms for adjuncts to participate in campus affairs and decision making, to be able to access faculty programs, create a policy on compensation for extra work, provide an annual evaluation procedure, and increase adjunct compensation/convert to instructors. Restructure tuition benefits for GPTIs and TAs.

Class of 2013-2014

Implement rewards for good teaching, support for research, facilitate a new course for interested units aimed at improving information fluency early in an academic program.

Leadership and civic-mindedness can be enhanced through discussing and committing to change in the faculty reward structure. The changing nature of CU-Boulder requires a move to greater porosity and flexibility which requires a reward structure that can accommodate that demand.

Improve communication to foster a strong sense of faculty involvement, support collaboration, and encourage commitment to institutional goals. To also develop a more collaborative environment that fosters innovation and is responsive to changing societal needs.

Create innovative approaches to teaching that address the 21st century learner, modernize course content and delivery, foster cross-disciplinary education to develop awareness of global nature of problems and solutions, and allow opportunities to enhance teaching through training.