May Symposium 2013: 7 Years in the Making…

by: Carol Hurney

may_symposiumI can hardly believe the CFI is on the verge opening registration for the 7th Annual May Symposium. [cue celebratory trumpets] … It only seems like yesterday when I walked into Karen Santos’ office and posed a crazy idea. [cue flashback music]
I told her that the CFI should offer repeat performances of successful and popular workshops during the week after spring semester finals. I felt that many faculty members just couldn’t squeeze in CFI activities while teaching classes, so we should take advantage of this break to welcome faculty to our services. “Sure,” she said, “make it happen.” [cue mission impossible theme]. And so May Symposium planning slipped into gear – during the first year the CFI offered 4 sessions. Over the next 5 years, May Symposium grew from 13 sessions in 2008 to close to 50 sessions in 2012. I definitely felt like the CFI hit a groove [cue Hawaii 5-O theme] working collaboratively with a variety of JMU offices, centers, and faculty to offer a sessions ranging from the Grant Writing Institute to Active Learning Workshops to Scholarly Writing Lockdowns.

From my vantage point, May Symposium has been a huge success. Why? Because May Symposium provides faculty what they need – time – time to focus on their teaching, scholarship, service, or leadership roles. May Symposium sessions offer faculty a holistic approach to professional development – an approach that supports the unique goals and aspirations of faculty as they navigate the complex waters of academia. And so, this year [cue drumroll] coming tomorrow, March 13th, the CFI is proud to rollout the 7th Annual May Symposium schedule filled with sessions that you and/or your colleagues submitted during the first “open-call” for May Symposium sessions. We are so excited that so many members of the JMU community rallied in response to the challenge to form authentic partnerships with the CFI so we could work together offer a rich diverse set of offerings that help us realize our goal of holistic faculty development. And so, I trust you will take a moment to look at the future of May Symposium. [cue Star Wars theme] A future where the JMU academic community, in partnership with the Center for Faculty Innovation, goes where no campus has gone before to seek out ways to make an impact on faculty life and to boldly explore effective ways to support successful career development.

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