Chris Garrett, one of two candidates for the dean of teaching and learning position at Chadron State, is apparently ready to make the transition from a private, religious university, to a secular, public state college by tossing in his hat to the applicant pool at CSC.
Garrett, currently a literature professor and director of a teaching and learning center at Oklahoma City University, Okla., spoke to a small crowd of approximately 10 faculty and staff members Monday afternoon in the Sandoz Center’s Chicoine Atrium.
Foregoing an introduction or opening remarks, Garrett dove right in by asking, “What questions do you have for me?”
Garrett tried to portray his strengths, but was equally honest about his weaknesses, bluntly answering, “I don’t know” on more than one occasion when he didn’t have an answer to a question.
Garret stressed that, if offered the position, he would be there for the faculty.
“Faculty comes first for a dean,” Garrett said. “I’ve learned to listen to faculty.”
Garrett emphasized the importance of Faculty Learning Communities and said if the resources exist, he would like to provide an incentive stipend for faculty participation in such programs.
Garrett said he wanted to expand the role and scope of FLCs on CSC’s campus, and hoped to involve as many as half of the college’s faculty in learning communities.
“FLCs work, and they shouldn’t be limited to just 10 campus members,” he said.
Garrett acknowledged the unique issues that adjunct faculty have with FLCs.
“Adjunct faculty can be difficult to get involved,” he said. Garrett hypothesized that an online, virtual FLC might be a possible solution.
Another area that Garrett spoke about was faculty evaluations. Garrett said there were two basic types of evaluations – formative and summative.
The former is peer-conducted and, in Garrett’s proposed use of the assessment, the results of the evaluation wouldn’t be included in the faculty’s portfolio, only that the faculty member had completed the peer-evaluation.
The latter is more of a formal evaluation administered by one’s superior and included in the portfolio.
Garrett said the problem with summative evaluations is that faculty members will naturally seek out their colleagues who can write them a glowing review to include in their portfolio.
“We don’t need that, what is really needed is candid feedback,” Garrett said.
According to Garrett, formative evaluations create a safe environment in which the faculty can improve.