By Nicholas Thomas, Instructor – As my first full academic year on the College of Business faculty comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on how DePaul’s professional development opportunities helped me transition to teaching and generated pride in DePaul.
I offer this examination with two purposes in mind. First, the myriad of professional development opportunities at DePaul made the transition into my first year a highly rewarding experience and I encourage my colleagues to participate in similar opportunities. Like a freshman transitioning to college in their late teens, my first year as a faculty member was, at times, overwhelming. As a new arrival to the DePaul faculty, I had heard stories from my predecessors about what the next decade of my life was going to consist of – teaching, service and research. While I had confidence in my abilities, I was still uncertain how I would transition to the culture at DePaul. The university is well-respected around the world and has high expectations of its faculty and staff.
During my new faculty orientation, I heard that development opportunities existed at DePaul, but at the time, I doubted I would have time or the energy to participate in any of them. Several weeks after getting settled, however, I was intrigued by an email from the DePaul Teaching Commons
advertising the Teaching & Learning Certificate Program
, a series of workshops designed to improve faculty skills in the classroom. I decided to attend. These workshops were free of charge, were offered at numerous times that fit within faculty members’ complex schedules, and were conducted in environments that mirrored what we provide for our students (modern facilities, passionate instructors, etc.).
As the days of the autumn, winter and spring quarters ticked away, I began to realize that DePaul offered a plethora of other development opportunities. I ended up participating in others at the university level (Ethics Across the Curriculum, DePaul Online Teaching Series) and in the College of Business (Technology Tuesdays). Through these sessions I was able to improve my teaching and service skills while simultaneously building professional relationships with colleagues across the university.
Second, I’d like to publicly show how much I appreciate the other faculty and staff who facilitated these development sessions. Their efforts ensured that I improved professionally and became integrated into the DePaul family. You could tell that all of them, regardless of being faculty or staff, took pride in their role in the development of their DePaul family. They would answer all questions, stay late to continue discussions, and welcome feedback on how their workshops could improve. Each of them is a valuable asset to DePaul, and it makes me proud to be associated with this community.
Nicholas Thomas is an Instructor in the School of Hospitality Leadership at DePaul University.