Joe Doctor Supports Faculty Success

Francesco Crocco, English

Seventy-seven faculty members gathered at the annual Joe Doctor Colloquium to discuss a theme chosen to address the specific needs of junior and part-time faculty: “Promoting Success for All Faculty.”  After introductory remarks at the April 27, 2011 event by Vice President Sadie Bragg and Dean Michael Gillespie on the college’s history and plans for success, featured speakers discussed three different aspects of faculty success at BMCC.

 (1) Dean John Montanez, Dean of Grants and Development, discussed the topic of research and grants. He focused on six specific grants: the FIPSE, two NEH grants, two NSF grants, and the CUNY Community College Collaborative Incentive Research Grant.

Dean Montanez provided several pointers for faculty interested in pursuing grants: 1) speak to the program officer before applying; 2) carefully read grant applications for requirements and deadlines; 3) volunteer to become a grant reader; and 4) start with small or mid-level grants and build up to larger, more competitive grants. Dean Montanez explained that part-timers can also apply for grants. He encouraged all faculty members to sign up for a free account on the “Community of Science” website, which allows members to run automated daily searches through thousands of grant opportunities.

(2) Prof. Philip Belcastro, Health Education, spoke about the importance of faculty governance. Prof. Belcastro focused on the Academic Senate, the college’s main faculty governance body, which is responsible for making policy decisions. The Senate consists of elected full-timers, college lab technicians and adjuncts, and student representatives. Prof. Belcastro emphasized that faculty members are “the contact point of the academic enterprise” and explained that participation in faculty governance satisfies service requirements for the college.

(3) Prof. Emily Anderson discussed the process of annual evaluation and reappointment for untenured faculty members. After enumerating the evaluation criteria—classroom instruction, administrative assignments, research and grants, scholarly writing, student guidance, and college service—Prof. Anderson explained the three-step process of annual reappointment. The department personnel and budget (P&B) committee reviews the candidate’s annual report (which is prepared by the chair) and arrives at a decision. Next, the college P&B makes its decision.  Finally, President Perez acts on the committee’s recommendation when presenting the candidate to the Board of Trustees. Prof. Anderson emphasized that student evaluations are only part of the whole package, and that publications are becoming more important.

After the speakers, the audience broke up into several roundtables organized under one of the three topics.  Discussions lasted for fifteen minutes, after which each table delivered a brief report to the whole body.  The reports included valuable advice, such as the importance of maintaining one’s Human Resource file, not filing for promotion and tenure at the same time, the need for a book to get promotion to full professor, and the fact that the college now considers grants over $25,000 to be comparable with publications.

Dean Michael Gillespie mentioned in his closing remarks that the former Teaching Learning Center (TLC) has been reinvented as the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship (CETLS).  Under the direction of Victoria Mondelli, the new CETLS has sprung a vibrant “FIG tree” of Faculty Interest Groups and is forming sub-committees in seven core areas of faculty development to foster faculty success at BMCC.  

The Joe Doctor Colloquium was organized by the Faculty Development Committee, chaired by Prof. June Soto, Nursing. Faculty Development Committee members are Prof. Francesco Crocco, English; Prof. Alex D'Erizans, Social Sciences; Prof. Jenna Hirsch, Mathematics; Prof. Jeff Hong, Business Management; Prof. Jaewoo Lee, Mathematics; Prof. Carmen Martinez-Lopez, Business Management; Prof. Susana Powell, Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts; Prof. Oneida Sanchez, Modern Languages; and Prof. Mike Vozick, Science.