Theme 3 - Promoting the Teacher-Scholar Model
Given our mission, faculty and size, LMU is strategically positioned to offer an educational environment that fosters lifelong learning for both students and faculty. A transformative educational experience depends on a faculty devoted to the synergy between scholarship and teaching. To foster such synergy, LMU is committed to a culture in which an individual faculty member’s contributions to teaching, scholarship and service are valued. A teacher-scholar conducts research and does creative work that contributes to the larger body of knowledge while setting an example for the importance of lifelong learning.
Objective 1: Improve support for teaching and mentoring that contributes to a transformative educational experience.
Rationale: LMU’s historic commitment to the principle of cura personalis is one of the university’s greatest strengths. However, an increased emphasis on academic rigor, engaged learning experiences and Ignatian pedagogy, as well as the adoption of a new Core Curriculum, necessitate a concomitant increase in support for faculty teaching and advising.
- Expand opportunities for faculty to review and develop pedagogies, courses and curricula in support of the new Core Curriculum and transformational education.
- Continue to support the development of additional and more effective methods for evaluating teaching.
- Provide academic units with tools for improving advising.
Objective 2: Improve support for, and the promotion of, research, scholarship and creative work in line with the teacher-scholar model.
Rationale: Teacher-scholars advance a university beyond instruction that is conducive to deep student learning. Faculty members who are engaged in scholarly inquiry play a critical role in LMU's teaching mission and improve our educational effectiveness. They are able to assess critically the curriculum, foster a culture of inquiry, and make possible hands on learning experiences for students. Support for faculty scholarship and creative work demonstrates the university’s commitment to faculty members as whole persons. This support leads to higher morale and strengthens the faculty-university bond. The rewards for LMU include a corps of dedicated, high-functioning teacher-scholars who reflect the best qualities of our mission.
- Create interdisciplinary centers of excellence that serve as hubs for research, study, dialogue and action in key areas.
- Leverage resources to support scholarship and creative works, and identify areas for greater coordination and improved effectiveness among relevant offices and support services.
- Develop clearer definitions of research, scholarship and creative activity that recognize different ways of creating and disseminating knowledge.
Objective 3: Improve the alignment of faculty responsibilities and evaluation processes with the goals of the teacher-scholar model.
Rationale: Synergy between teaching and scholarship requires that expectations for faculty, assignment of faculty responsibilities, and evaluation systems for faculty reflect the high value placed on teaching and research. That is, a faculty member’s teaching and research responsibilities must be balanced in a way that is conducive to high performance as a teacher-scholar. Review-and-reward systems should be aligned with this balance. At the same time, the teacher-scholar model must take into account the natural evolution of faculty members’ goals over time, and allow for flexibility in workloads to achieve these goals.
- Adjust faculty workloads so that the average teaching load is more consistent with the demands and expectations of the teacher-scholar model.
- Develop university guidelines that allow for variable faculty workloads in order to facilitate an appropriate balance among teaching, scholarship, and service activities for an individual faculty member at a given point in time.
- Develop a multi-year faculty review and merit system that is better aligned with the demands and expectations of the teacher-scholar model and the goals of individual faculty members.
Objective 4: Attract and nurture an outstanding, diverse faculty and administration that embraces both the teacher-scholar model and the mission of the university.
Rationale: An outstanding diverse faculty is essential to LMU’s educational mission as a Jesuit and Marymount university; it provides opportunities for transformative education and a rich intellectual climate. Given LMU’s mission and core values, this commitment to faculty excellence acknowledges the critical role that a diverse professoriate plays in the educational experience. It also necessitates a faculty and administration that embraces the teacher-scholar model.
- Strengthen recruitment practices to ensure diverse pools of candidates who would contribute to the mission of the university.
- Refine guidelines for recruiting and hiring faculty to place greater emphasis on hiring faculty with an interest in assuming the teacher-scholar role.
- Increase the numbers of endowed chairs and professorships, with an emphasis on building scholarly strength in areas of strategic emphasis.