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I first met Beth Luoma when we collaborated on a project at Sacred Heart University, where she serves as executive director for SHU’s Center for Teaching and Learning. That collaboration resulted in a fantastic Q&A with Beth, in which she talked about her role at SHU, her career path, her decision to move into the field of educational development and her advice to anyone thinking about pursuing an alternative academic role.

Beth contacted me about including the assistant/associate director of teaching development role at SHU, which she is currently recruiting for, in my new “Featured Gig” series. The job looks amazing and is a perfect fit for the series. Note that the application deadline is Aug. 1, so if you are interested, you should move quickly.

Q: What is the university mandate behind this role? How does it help align with and advance the university’s strategic priorities?

A: I am proud to say that the assistant/associate director of teaching development role, and the work of the SHU Center for Teaching and Learning as a whole, is directly aligned with the mission and vision of Sacred Heart University and our current strategic priorities. Our vision statement highlights that we aspire “to achieve prominence through innovative teaching, learning and research.” As executive director of the CTL, I can attest these are not merely words on a page, but actions we live out each and every day.

As a growing doctoral university, our Sacred Heart University faculty are growing in prominence as researchers and scholars. I appreciate that while our university is elevating its research activity, it has not lost sight of its core identity as a teaching-focused institution. To that end, recent revisions to our faculty handbook have reaffirmed our commitment to excellence in teaching, grounded in inclusive excellence, and the CTL has received unwavering institutional support since its founding in May 2022.

The incoming assistant/associate director of teaching development will play a key role in partnering with SHU faculty to achieve excellence in teaching across departments and programs. We are looking for an educational developer with higher education administrative and teaching experience who can hit the ground running to develop, implement, coordinate and manage teaching development opportunities.

These teaching development services for SHU instructors currently include instructional consultations, teaching observations, learning communities, faculty peer coaching, workshops, events, internal grants, digital teaching resources and CTL Tech Studios. The assistant/associate director will also be instrumental in the assessment of the impact and effectiveness of CTL teaching development support and its continuous improvement over time. We look forward to working with someone who can bring experience and a collaborative spirit as well as new ideas and perspectives.

Q: Where does the role sit within the university structure? How will the person in this role engage with other units and leaders across campus?

A: The assistant/associate director of teaching development will report to the executive director of the CTL. The CTL is situated within the provost’s office, reporting to the associate provost for teaching and learning. The CTL functions as an integrated scaffold of teaching support for SHU instructors and learning support for SHU students, including tutoring and writing services. This positionality provides ample opportunity for the assistant/associate director of teaching development, and the CTL as a whole, to collaborate across many institutional units. Current key university partners and collaborators include the Office of Academic Technology, Office for Inclusive Excellence, Office of Student Advising and Success, Office of Student Accessibility, and Student Affairs, among others.

Together with our partners, we identify emergent needs for our instructors and students and co-design and co-facilitate programs and resources for our university community. For the incoming assistant/associate director of teaching development, our frequent collaboration across units provides ample opportunities for professional development and to pursue individual interests and passions in support of excellence and equity at SHU.

Q: What would success look like in one year? Three years? Beyond?

A: As a newly found center, I am daily energized by the reality that we are building the plane as we fly it. To extend the analogy, in our first two years as a center, we have already identified key values that have allowed us to take flight and have significant internal and external impact. These include an unwavering commitment to inclusive excellence, the creation of a data infrastructure that iteratively informs our practice and a dedication to continuous improvement and growth over time.

The focus of our new assistant/associate director’s first year will be getting involved in current CTL programs and initiatives and making suggestions for improvement or new directions along the way. Success in this role after the first year will present as in-depth knowledge of both SHU and the CTL, familiarity with the current needs of SHU instructors, willingness to present new ideas or suggestions, and [a] feeling [of] belonging as a member of the CTL team. Success in this role after three years will present as growing agency and autonomy in developing and leading CTL events and programs; established, meaningful relationships with SHU faculty; and growing involvement with strategic university initiatives that support excellence and equity in teaching and learning at SHU. I’ll speak a little more to the beyond at SHU in answering the next question.

Q: What kinds of future roles would someone who took this position be prepared for?

A: The assistant/associate director of teaching development role will prepare someone interested in leadership roles in educational development or higher education administration more broadly. One need look no further than Josh’s article “9 Reasons Why Your Next Provost Should Be a CTL Director” to become familiar with the transferable skills attained from working within a center for teaching and learning. I can imagine that someone in this role might aspire to be a CTL director or other higher education leader, or they might be interested in remaining in this role long term.

What I have already appreciated in my first two years at SHU is the university’s dedication to growing and advancing its employees who demonstrate a deep commitment to the university mission, vision and values and who strive to achieve excellence in all they do. Demonstrated success in this role will open further opportunities for leadership and advancement within the CTL and potentially as part of broader university initiatives. We can’t wait to get started with our new hire!

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