Professor speaking at the podium

First Year @ Furman Programming

The goals of the First Year @ Furman program are:

  • To support Furman’s newest colleagues via just-in-time professional development opportunities related to effective teaching and research, student learning, and designing/navigating your academic career. 
  • To create collegial, interdisciplinary networks for social support and future teaching, research, outreach, administrative, and service collaborations.

The First Year @ Furman program encompasses two central elements:

1) First Year Discovery Series: A set of formal learning opportunities to discover core aspects of our community, faculty roles and responsibilities, and professional support. All events are designed around conversation and may involve short review or introduction to information, active exploration of the ideas, and opportunities for questions and conversation. Often, a pre-session reading is provided. 

When12:40- 1:25 pm on 5 dates per semester (listed below) 

Where: All events for AY 20-21 will be virtual (meeting room here)

2) Mentoring Circle Chats: Informal collegial conversations during the academic year to build connections and share experiences. Over your career, you will develop rich relationships with colleagues who will serve as mentors for your teaching, scholarship, and personal life. At Furman, instead of assigning each new faculty member one institutional mentor, we believe in a collective approach. Throughout your first year here, we invite you to participate in a series of mentor circle chats where First Year @ Furman faculty gather with a small group (often pairs) of rotating existing faculty mentors for informal conversations around loose themes (see below). As you participate in these chats, you’ll develop a rich set of colleagues from which we hope you will consult for support and comradery throughout your time at Furman. 

When: 5:30-6:30 pm on 3 dates per semester (listed below) 

Where: All events for AY 20-21 will be virtual (meeting room here)

First Year @ Furman Programming for Fall 2020

First Year Discovery Series 

Wednesday, September 2nd – What is Liberal Education? 

Facilitated by Jenna Storey and Ben Storey

Seminar pre-reading document available here.

According to the AAC&U, liberal education is “an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest.” Given prominent national conversations about the value of liberal learning, we kick-off our discovery series with a conversation about how liberal learning is conceived at Furman and how we engage with and articulate that vision in the classroom and beyond.    

Monday, September 21st – Sticky Teaching Situations Panel 

With panelists Susan D’Amato, Buket Oztas, & Suzy Summers

What do you do when a classroom discussion gets out of hand, or a student makes a derogatory comment in an online discussion board? How do you navigate group assignments when course members have substantial personal conflict? How do you respond when a student becomes antagonistic during office hours? Panelists in this session will share their insight and experience navigating some of the more common sticky teaching situations you will likely encounter as a faculty member.   

Wednesday, October 14th – Supporting Academic Integrity 

Facilitated by Associated Academic Dean Kyle Longest

All first-year students are required to attend an academic integrity workshop. In this session, we will experience the case study portion of the workshop so we know what to expect of students and the issues they’ve considered in this training. We will save time to discuss some of the pressures our students are facing and how to better help them avoid integrity violations. 

Monday, November 2nd – Establishing a Scholarly Agenda and Identity Panel 

With panelists Paul Thomas, Shaniece Criss, & Michele Speitz

At an institution like Furman, one of the most critical tasks before you in your first year is to establish and craft your teaching practice. While teaching is an essential element of faculty identity, the scholarship we nurture and grow is also crucial. How do you build a scholarly identity and agenda that is integrated into your teaching, scholarship, and service at Furman? Panelists in this session will share how they focused their scholarship and developed a research identity and program in their first few years as a faculty member.  

Tuesday, December 1st – University Leadership Panel 

With panelists President Elizabeth Davis, Provost Ken Peterson, Dean of Faculty Jeremy Cass, & CDO Michael Jennings

Virtual Study Day – Event will take place from 3:30:4:45pm

As your first semester at Furman concludes, we invite you to join with University leaders for an informal panel conversation about their goals for the institution, important initiatives and challenges ahead, and reasons to celebrate our achievements as a community. Prior to this event, you will be invited to submit questions for our panelists.  

Mentor Circle Chats 

Thursday, August 27th – Academic Affairs, Programs, and Initiatives with Dean of Faculty Jeremy Cass 

As you settle into your new role at Furman, your first mentor circle chat will take place with someone who was sitting in your shoes when he first joined the Furman faculty of Modern Languages and Literature in 2004 – Dean of Faculty Jeremy Cass. Dean Cass is responsible for the management of Furman’s academic programs, for supporting faculty in their efforts to provide a transformational education for our students, and in the development and enrichment of faculty scholarly profiles. Join Dean Cass to discuss his vision for our academic programs as he answers your questions about the Furman faculty experience. 

Tuesday, October 27th – Campus, Community, and Culture: Furman’s Past, Present, and Future.

Facilitated by Courtney Tollison & Brandon Inabinet

Founded in 1826, Furman is the oldest private university in South Carolina. In the nearly two centuries since that time, much has changed within our learning institution and the Greenville community. How is our community influenced by our extensive history and what stories are we creating now that will guide us into the future? How has the culture of the University and our community changed over time? Where do you fit in the evolving narrative?   

Thursday, November 19th – Furman Curriculum & The Furman Advantage

Facilitated by Associate Provosts Beth Pontari and John Wheeler

As an institution steeped in the liberal arts tradition, much of our curricular and co-curricular programming is designed around intellectual curiosity and exploration, integrative and interdisciplinary exchanges, and profound experiential learning opportunities. What is the value of our unique curricular experience? Why is our curriculum structured and scaffolded as it is? How does the Furman Advantage distinguish us from other institutions? Most importantly, how can you contribute to our unique brand of learning and engagement?   

First Year @ Furman Programming for Spring 2021

First Year Discovery Series 

Wednesday, January 27 – Student Feedback and Evaluations

Facilitated by Diane Boyd, Mac McArthur, and Natalie The

By now, you have received your first formal summative course evaluations of your teaching (Student Opinions of Instruction – SOI) from the previous semester. In this session, we will review the SOI survey—how to make sense of your data, how to incorporate results as feedback for better teaching, and how not to get overwhelmed or distracted by uninstructive comments. As a part of our discussion, we will consider bias in the course evaluation process, review ways to reduce that bias among your students, and highlight when and how to solicit more formative teaching feedback throughout the semester. 

Monday, February 8 – Reflect & Refine: Your Evolving Teaching Identity

Facilitated by Wes Dripps, Savita Nair, and Min-Ken Liao

With a full semester of teaching at Furman behind you, this session is designed to provide space to pause for reflection on your teaching experience over the fall semester. How have your expectations about teaching at Furman matched the reality? Have you adapted your pedagogical approach? What goals have you identified to hone your teaching practice? Join established teaching practitioners as we consider how your teaching practice and guiding philosophy is evolving over time.  

Wednesday, February 24 – Building Inclusive Communities Panel

With panelists Michael Jennings, Judy Bagley, Deborah Allen, and Lisa Knight

When we participate in the process of building inclusive communities we create opportunity for students, colleagues, and yourself to see the world differently – in our research, in the classroom, in social relationships, and as a member of the Furman community. But what does that look like in practice? What are the hallmarks of an inclusive course or research experience? How do we encourage inclusive systems and processes in our institution and local community? What resources and strategies are available to support these efforts? Panelists in this session will highlight their efforts to build a more equitable and accessible Furman community and answer your questions about how to enhance this work.  

Monday, March 22 – Work-Life Balance and Coping with Stress

Facilitated by Kelly Frazier, Allyson Brathwaite-Gardner, and Meghan Slining

As you gain familiarity with and interest in the various personal and professional engagement opportunities on campus, it is important to think about how better to align our time with our priorities, including the art of saying no. What have you learned works for you? Where are you struggling to maintain equilibrium? Joined by campus advocates for healthy living and balance, this session will provide space for frank conversations about how to stay healthy, wrestle with perfectionism, and manage the stress that faculty positions involve.   

Wednesday, April 7 – Research and Teaching Funding Opportunities Panel

With panelists Judy Romano and Bri Pochard

Navigating the maize of potential funding opportunities can be daunting when much of your attention in the first year is dedicated to establishing your teaching practice. What internal and external funding is available and when should you think about applying for it? Where have Furman faculty had success obtaining grants in the past? Should you consider applying for teaching awards, residencies, and fellowship programs? Joined by colleagues from the Grants and Research Administration office, panelists in this session will share both opportunities and experiences seeking, applying for, and managing funding support for research and creative projects. 

Monday, April 26 – Evaluation, Promotion, & Tenure

Facilitated by Scott Henderson

As we round out your first year of teaching, you are probably ready to gather your breath and think about what lies ahead. In this session, we will review Furman’s annual evaluation form in detail to make clear what Furman values so you can have a successful and meaningful career here. Scott Henderson, chair of the Faculty Status Committee and Dean Jeremy Cass will be with us to facilitate discussion and answer your questions. 

Mentor Circle Chats 

Tuesday, January 19 – Research with Undergraduate Students

Facilitated by Erik Ching, Stephanie Knouse, and Andrea Tartaro

A hallmark of the Furman Advantage, Furman’s nationally awarded undergraduate research program allows students to invest in meaningful collaborative research and creative activities with Furman faculty. Our deliberate and structured Summer Research Fellows program ensures that students play an active role in the research experience and equips faculty with the tools needed to mentor students in a focused and reflective manner. In this chat, we will discuss how you might get involved in the undergraduate research program and some of the strategies that support successful projects. 

Thursday, March 11 – Furman AAUP Chapter

Facilitated by Laura Morris and Alfons Teipen

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is a nonprofit membership association of faculty and other academic professionals with members and chapters based at colleges and universities across the country. The organization focuses on advancing academic freedom and shared governance, professional standards for higher education, the economic security of members, and higher education’s contribution to the common good. For this chat, we will be joined by past and current leaders of the Furman AAUP chapter to hear more about the organization and current initiatives of the local chapter.  

Thursday, April 15 – Faculty Governance and Service: Tools of the Trade

Facilitated by Christopher Hutton, Akan Malici, and Christy Allen

Since Furman first opened its doors, faculty have shared responsibility with a Board of Trustees and University officials for governing the campus. At Furman and many other institutions of higher education, today’s system of representative “shared governance” has evolved over time and involves policy-making, administrative advising and accountability, planning and decision-making, and the shared distributed service of our community of faculty members. What is the structure of faculty governance at Furman? How does it work and what does it mean? In what ways might you invest in that process? For this chat, current members of Faculty Council will share their experience and perspective about Furman’s faculty governance system.