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LVAIC Gathers Visiting and Contingent Faculty for Development and Community

August 29, 2019, @ 10:02 AM
Attendees gather at the LVAIC Visiting and Contingent Faculty Welcome event on August 20 at Lafayette College to hear from speaker and author John Warner.
Attendees gather at the LVAIC Visiting and Contingent Faculty Welcome event on August 20 at Lafayette College to hear from speaker and author John Warner.

On Tuesday, August 20, LVAIC gathered nearly 60 visiting, adjunct, and contingent faculty at Lafayette College for a welcoming reception and professional development workshop. This program hosted individuals who teach from across the LVAIC community, some of whom serve as faculty on more than one LVAIC campus.

After a short networking period, the overall program was facilitated by John Warner, writer for Chicago Tribune, a contributing blogger for Inside Higher Education, and an editor at large for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. He is the author or coeditor of seven books. More specifically, Warner served as an adjunct faculty member for 20 years and authored Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities. Warner offered insights into his career as an adjunct, explaining the many roles and changing dynamics of moving among different institutions and the many challenges and opportunities this work creates.

After sharing his experience as an adjunct, Warner fielded questions regarding the ways in which a contingent career impacts the larger questions of faculty careers: research, writing, and settling down to one location. He also had participants complete various workshop exercises, testing different writing activities he utilizes in his courses. Attendees were encouraged to bring along copies of writing assignments from their own courses. Warner held individual meetings over the lunch hour to critique and finetune these assignments. All those in attendance at the program received a copy of Warner’s latest book: The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing.

Beyond the professional and faculty development, this event served as the first LVAIC program specifically designed for this subset of the LVAIC community. The initiative began as an LVAIC microgrant, spearheaded by the LVAIC Faculty Development community of practice and led by Tracie Addy, Associate Dean for Faculty Support & Director of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning and Scholarship at Lafayette College. While LVAIC supported the logistical planning of the program, this group strategized the event and set the vision for creating a larger LVAIC community of practice for contingent faculty. In the process of creating this community, the LVAIC Faculty Development group is also facilitating a research study to better understand this group’s propensity for collaboration and gather information regarding how the consortium can better support this community.

Overall, this program and this community of practice seek to further the LVAIC strategic initiative of faculty and staff development. Upon completion of the research study, LVAIC will publish its findings and move forward with additional programming for this community.

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