“The future of our students is totally dependent on the quality of the faculty placed before them.” – Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, keynote
First-year VCCS faculty members from around the state descended on Richmond recently for this year’s New Faculty Seminar – two days of no holds barred, intense professional development.
Their ultimate objective? To become more effective in the classroom.
Dr. David Conroy of Northern Virginia Community College and last year’s winner of the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence helped kick off the event. Through moving personal stories, he urged the participants to strive to understand and care for their students, a key dimension of enabling student learning.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Todd Zakrajsek, associate professor of family medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill. Zakrajsek challenged participants intellectually while providing proven techniques designed to promote student success.
Later, participants learned about the history of the VCCS with Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Relations Jeff Kraus, and were challenged to “Design to the Edges” by Director of the Office of Professional Development Dr. Abigail Stonerock.
Day Two began early with the “State of the Faculty Address” by Dr. Charles Errico, chair of the Chancellor’s Faculty Advisory Committee (CFAC). Participants then moved between concurrent sessions by VCCS faculty and staff and were given a “Grand Tour” of VCCS educational technology.
Of the nearly 150 first-year faculty members who attended the seminar, nearly 25 percent were adjunct instructors. Dr. Rudra Prasad Bhatta, himself an adjunct instructor at the Annandale campus of NVCC, described the conference as both helpful and necessary.
“Community colleges have bigger responsibility than universities. New faculty of community colleges have an even greater responsibility. We have to prepare students for higher education as well as train students for the national workforce.”
Zakrajsek echoed those sentiments, adding that the future of student success is dependent upon the quality of instructors tasked with educating them.
“I have been involved in new faculty events for nearly 20 years and this was the best I have ever seen at hitting that balance of who we are, what we need from you, and how much we believe you can do that.”
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