Faculty Connections History

Faculty Connections History

pineapple plate graphicNative to the Western Hemisphere, Indians in what are now Brazil and Paraguay used pineapples in feasts and rites related to tribal affirmation. A pineapple is considered by many to be a symbol of hospitality and welcome. Beth Naylor, first Faculty Connections Coordinator who taught nutrition courses in the Family and Health Careers Division, brought food symbols to Faculty Connections.

The next Coordinator, Dennis Gilbert, a physicist, borrowed from his discipline's discourse for the Faculty Connections poster: "As the number of faculty colleagues increases linearly, the number of possible links among us grows geometrically. Thus, much of the capacity and vitality of the faculty comes from connection among colleagues."

The current coordinator, Liz Coleman, who also coordinates Tutoring Services and has taught College Success and Effective Learning classes, focuses on teaching and learning. My goal is to encourage college faculty support one other and integrate engagement in our classrooms and respect for our students.

Chartered in 1998 by the Strategic Learning Initiative (and a result of a recommendation of the 1995 Future Faculty Task Force Report, Faculty Connections is now part of the college's faculty professional development budget. Its goals are twofold:

  • to welcome and integrate people into the faculty and college communities in a positive way
  • to make connections between new faculty and established Lane faculty and other staff

Faculty who choose to can join a formal mentor/partner relationship that lasts one year.

Pineapple dancers at the 2005 Rites of Passage Graduation
Pineapple Dancers at
the 2005 Rites of Passage

Faculty Connections activities begin with a fall seminar of useful and engaging activities in mid September.

We have adapted the program from years when the majority of new faculty hires were full time, to a period of more part-time. The program continues to adapt depending on the needs of faculty and the culture of the college. 

Faculty Connections participants are invited to social events and Round Table discussions, to join with colleagues to experience and discuss important aspects of college and faculty life.

Besides the satisfaction of being part of creating connection among colleagues, a small stipend is available for participants in the fall program, and those who join the mentorship program.