VII.6. Faculty Development

Probationary faculty members are not the only ones who need sustained support for their professional development. The promotion-and-tenure process is a first hurdle; encouraging faculty growth and renewal at all stages of their careers helps insure a vibrant department in which the entire faculty has a stake in fulfilling the department’s mission and promoting its standing within the university and the discipline. Through “position power” (see Section II Chair's Role and Responsibilities and Leadership), the chair can influence both the department culture and reward structure for presenting at professional national and regional conferences as well as participating in on-campus brown-bag seminars and workshops sponsored by the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center. Timely announcement of the deadlines for Sabbatical Leave Requests and Summer Research and Artistry Grants are important to allow faculty members time to develop competitive proposals.

In a research university like NIU, there is also a delicate balance between meeting the needs of student majors/minors and protecting faculty time to encourage continued advancement in scholarship and pedagogy. The department chair is empowered with the “final responsibility” for assigning faculty workloads (Academic Policies and Procedures Manual (APPM)). In conjunction with the appropriate bodies for faculty governance within the department, the chair thus has a valuable tool in hand to promote ongoing strategic faculty development goals through workload flexibility.