Dear Colleagues,

This summer we will welcome over 30 new Faculty in anticipation of our transition to a Comprehensive Polytechnic and the admission of perhaps 1000 new transfer students and 600 lower division students as well as new cohorts of graduate students.  What an amazing audacious exciting opportunity for Texas A&M University-San Antonio to serve our community in even greater ways.

This transitional period will not only impact our offices, classroom traffic, parking and campus environment, it will impact the way, when, how, and where we teach.  Our population of learners will become more bimodal than it is, with substantial numbers of younger learners joining us, many directly from high school.  We have tried to anticipate many of the changes through revised scheduling of class hours, block scheduling, new support structures to ensure student success and engagement in experiential learning.  We also need to prepare for new teaching strategies and techniques and technology that new learners require to be successful.

In this vein we have prepared two Faculty Development agendas and schedules.  The first is a six week program, running from July 5 to August 11, for new Faculty.  We have committed to support the new faculty for the months of July and August, provided they participate fully in the New Faculty Development Program.  They will be expected to work with the instructional team and current faculty on developing their courses during this time as well. 

We have developed a two week Faculty Development schedule to provide the resources we think all faculty should have before they teach freshman and sophomore classes.  We have committed to provide .5 of a month’s salary support in August for continuing faculty, and hope that all faculty will participate.  It may be that summer teaching obligations or planned travel precludes this, so we will video the sessions and expect all faculty not in attendance to view those teaching/learning resources before being assigned freshman/sophomore classes in the Fall.  I am sure there will be case by case situations we will need to individually discuss, but as a general rule, these learning opportunities are required, no less than the pre-employment videos are required before eligibility for payroll.

In addition, we will be pairing every new faculty member with a disciplinary colleague (to the extent possible) mentor from the current faculty, and providing early in July a workshop on mentoring.  If you are interested in being a new Faculty mentor, please let your Dean and Dr. Verhasselt know. In addition we are still working on perfecting the topics, so if you have ideas of what we might include, please let Holly know.  And of course if you think you have something to contribute in any planned session, volunteers are very welcome.

In the near future we will contact you to confirm your participation in the program in August, but please plan this into your schedules for the Summer.

Steven Olswang  J.D., Ph.D.
Provost  & Vice President for Academic Affairs (Interim)