Friday, June 24, 2011

Professional Development

I am reading three books this summer for my professional development. They are:
The Academic Deanship by Bright & Richards, Jossey-Bass. 2001;
The College Administrator’s Survival Guide by Gunsalus, Harvard Press, 2006;
American Association of University Professors: Policy Documents and Reports, Ninth Edition (Redbook).

I have discovered a great deal about college administration from all three books. Deanship has introduced me to the general duties and obligations of decanal administration across a wide spectrum of institutions. Survival Guide helped me put on my radar screen some of the typical landmines found in academia and offered some practical tips on navigating around them. Reading the AAUP Redbook has presented quite a challenge in comparison to the other two texts. Typically while reading Redbook, the text is central on my desk and I have a thesaurus in one hand and a cup of Joe in the other. However, no matter how daunting the task may seem at times I do feel obligated to finish the work before mid-August (it did cost $3 to ship the $.05 used book from Amazon to Haviland) plus I do occasionally stumble upon a gem.

Today’s treasure for me was the foundation documents defining academic freedom (pages 35-36). The basis of the documents is the concept that both privileges and responsibilities are conferred upon professors by their membership in the community of scholars. The critical freedom to pursue scholarship is accompanied by certain responsibilities to (1) be accurate, (2) exercise appropriate restraint, and (3) show respect for the opinion of others.

I suppose there are some in academia who choose to not to honor this critical freedom and the responsibilities attached to it, but I am pleased to say that the faculty at Barclay College and its School of Graduate Studies does. As Christ followers and scholars, our faculty members are committed to good practice. Over this past year I have witnessed each one maintain a consistent level of excellence for the glory of God, both on and off campus. They sacrifice for the mission of the institution, work to improve their department, and seek ways to contribute to the community of Haviland as a whole.

Our BC faculty continuously supports one another by maintaining good practices, like creating and maintaining sound professional boundaries and collegiality through affirming and participating in positive group qualities and activities. None of them seek special privileges or status … only the opportunity to emulate the life of Jesus Christ before others. They humbly consecrate their strengths for the proliferation of Christ’s kingdom and pursue His grace in their areas of weakness. I assume the faculty of BC act the way they do not because they have read the Redbook, but because they have committed their lives to the Good Book and the One of whom it was written.

Thanks for stopping by!


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