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Help at the Deep End

Being the new kids in town has been a bit easier for faculty starting their Bates careers this fall.

Led off by a three-day workshop in August, programming created by the Dean of the Faculty’s office for new faculty includes monthly gatherings and a second extended workshop in January, focusing on scholarship.

The August workshop introduced recent arrivals to Bates people and facilities, such as the Imaging and Computing Center, that help faculty realize their teaching ideas in the classroom and lab. Pedagogy, too, was on the menu.

“There was a discussion on the nature of liberal arts education that put the beginning of the year into an important context,” says Michael Burman, an assistant professor new to the psychology faculty. “It helped me focus on the fact that the importance of my classes wasn’t the factual material, but rather shaping students into hard-working, thoughtful, and scientifically literate individuals.”

The newbies “get to find out who likes to hike, who likes to go to fine restaurants. They get a sense of community more quickly.”

The social aspect is important as well, says assistant dean of the faculty Judy Head. The newbies “get to find out who likes to hike, who likes to go to fine restaurants. They get a sense of community more quickly.”

Bates has expanded its development offerings for established faculty, too. What has spurred all this support for teaching, Head says, was the birthing of the College’s new general education requirements. “The faculty knew that it was important to provide opportunities to talk about the new curriculum — what’s working, what’s not, what pedagogical innovations are out there.

“That exchange, I think, has probably gone on for a long time within departments and programs. We’re just taking these opportunities across the faculty.”

Margaret Imber, associate professor of classical and medieval studies, has spearheaded the programming. “She has the most terrific ideas, more ideas than we could ever do in a lifetime,” says Head.


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