Faculty need to make connections beyond the institution.
…Part Two in the series on “Becoming a University”
In order to make the transition from a college to a university……
It is true that many faculty have connections at the UofC and a few have connections to other institutions in the province, but how many really know who’s doing what in their discipline, and how many are known to colleagues elsewhere? Faculty must be encouraged to attend and especially present at international conferences. Faculty MUST be encouraged to do more than prepare for their courses and put in some admin time. Being an academic means learning – EVEN in the TS (Teaching & Service, i.e. no research requirement) stream. Sometimes it seems that MRU tries so hard to make those with no interest in research or any real interest in scholarship feel like they’re OK just the way they are that those who DO do research feel they should do so in secret so as not to seem too keen.
An example: The Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE) is a Canadian organization that holds an annual conference with an international audience. I have several presentations accepted there so I am going, but I will not be MRU faculty when the conference takes place. There appears to be no-one from MRU going. In academia innovation is communicated through conferences and other publications. I have been doing research and publishing my work without institutional support for many years and I find the attitude of many faculty at MRU to be disturbingly myopic. They don’t seem to understand that building an international reputation is not a selfish act. Building and maintaining a reputation that goes beyond one’s own school can make one a better teacher and bring a currency to one’s courses and interactions with students that are essential for today’s students. It also earns the respect of the students. As an academic, attending and presenting at conferences should not be a rare occurrence – it is part of the profession. It is how we keep current in our disciplines and disseminate the knowledge we gain.