Hanging Out At the NISOD Conference

At the moment, I’m in air-conditioned comfort at the Austin Convention Center. We’re displaying at the NISOD conference. If you’ve not heard of NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development), check out the group’s web site. Yesterday, when the Exhibit Hall opened for a fun Happy Hour, I had the chance to meet several part-time faculty—one from as far afield as Wyoming—who were in attendance. Several had been sent by their institutions, and several more were winners of NISOD’s prestigious Excellence Award.

It has been great meeting these part-timers who’ve earned national recognition for their excellence in the classroom. Often, schools don’t have mechanisms in place to nominate faculty off the tenure-track for such awards.

I’ve also had the pleasure of speaking to many Department Chairs, Deans and VPs, many of whom are in the process of designing and implementing professional development programs for their part-time faculty.

At lunch, yesterday, I had a chat with a fellow exhibitor. Her question to me was this: how can a college or university expect part-time faculty to participate in faculty development programs when those same faculty are not compensated for doing so? Further, she said, part-time faculty receive little professional benefit from participating in professional development programming (no opportunities to compete for merit raises, for instance).

What do you think? I’d be interested to know.

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