Last summer, I was approached by two junior faculty members who wanted CTLT to provide more minority faculty support. We discussed a variety of options such as peer mentoring and workshops, and we decided to start with a Teaching-Learning Community (TLC). TLCs typically get together to read and discuss a book throughout a semester. We started a group called “Minority in the Academic Workplace” in the last semester. Initially we had only few interested faculty but now the membership has grown to about 15 people. We’re continuing to meet this semester and hope it will become a good, sustainable group. The TLC members include African American, Asian, Latina, Middle Eastern, Caucasian, LGBT faculty and others. We truly appreciate the diversity of the group and enjoy sharing stories and listening to other perspectives. Many of us have started feeling a sense of real a community and feeling connected to others.
Feeling connected to others is sometimes hard, but it is very rewarding. Human are by nature, social animals, so most of us would like to feel connected in some levels. One thing I like most about working at CTLT is to see this connection. Our center is a place where you can meet and talk with faculty from outside of your department and discipline. I often see people finding opportunities to work on collaborative projects, exchanging perspectives of societal issues, learning from each other, or just plain enjoying conversations. The connections you make with your colleagues from all over the campus are precious and would help you succeed (or survive?) in your academic life.
So, I propose this semester – take an advantage of opportunities to feel connected! We have all sorts of TLCs: minority, civic engagement, Wise Women, early career faculty, sustainability and Passion for Teaching. Or if you don’t like the ones we already have, create a new one! We’re always happy to work with faculty and create the connection. Take time to get connected and I guarantee you won’t regret it!