When Karen Cowden joined the West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) team as Faculty Fellow in 2013, she immediately made an impact as she began to engage faculty in conversations deeply steeped in emerging technology and best practices to inform their teaching. Over the course of two years, anyone who worked with Karen witnessed how she enthusiastically shared her time and talents to support and develop faculty in a variety of ways. An asset to our CTLI team, the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development and our faculty, we sincerely thank her for supporting faculty development as our first West Campus Faculty Fellow. Here, she reflects on her two years in this role.
— Dori Haggerty, West Campus Director, Faculty and Instructional Development
As a Faculty Fellow for Teaching/Learning, West Campus, I have enjoyed working in partnership with the leadership team on West Campus and most of all, being afforded the opportunity to work alongside the Office of Faculty and Instructional Development team to create, implement and revise collegewide faculty development opportunities.
It has been my deep honor to support faculty as they expand their professional practices and examine their ongoing development as Valencia educators, while at the same time being allowed to nurture my personal passions. In the past two years, I have aimed to not only build rapport among the faculty regarding “best practices,” but also to bring together the range of talent and skill across our disciplines and divisions.
Many have stated I am a bridge builder because of my desire to constantly open the doors of learning, sharing, introducing and link individuals together.
One method of building bridges and helping faculty network took place during the monthly “Circles of Innovation” sessions to both full- and part-time instructors/professors. Together with the Faculty Fellows on East and Osceola campuses (James May and Steven Cunningham respectably) we researched and prepared mini faculty development training sessions offered for free that are full of relevant research and pedagogical practices.
Opportunities and technological platforms we have shared are green screen, Eventbrite, LibGuides, Mango Languages along with many others. It has been my joy to engage with the faculty in this method and follow up with them to check in on their progress of innovation and instructional application.
It is with pleasure that I conclude my service as a Faculty Fellow and make way for our incoming member, Claudine Bentham, professor of reading and New Student Experience. I know she will continue the legacy of providing innovative engagement and faculty development opportunities/materials to support our students and their disciplines in open, collaborative experiences.
Further, I anticipate even more national awards and collegial collaboration for Valencia College. We have paved a pathway with this unique structure of inviting fellows to serve at a community college. I am honored to be part of this legacy.