Faculty members have a dedicated office to turn to for support, the Office for Faculty Leadership and Success (FLS). At the helm is Kathleen Wilson, newly appointed vice provost for Faculty Leadership and Success.
FLS emerged from a reorganization of the former Office of Faculty and Global Affairs, which has been split into two offices, FLS and FIU World. This reorganization was designed to provide a more focused support for FIU’s growing faculty in their academic life as teachers and scholars, as FLS will be dedicated to faculty and FIU World will focus on FIU’s various locations throughout South Florida as well as abroad.
“[FLS] will connect with virtually every aspect of university life. We want increased communication, increased satisfaction, and increased efficiency for faculty,” Wilson says. Her philosophy focuses on synergy, and her driving question is ‘How can we do this together?’
“We’ll work with the Center for the Advancement of Teaching (CAT), with the Faculty Senate, with the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity, with the UFF-FIU union and with many other stakeholders. We want to remove roadblocks so that things can run even more effectively.”
A higher education professional with over 30 years of experience in both the classroom and upper administration, Wilson joined the College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts in 2007 as chair of the School of Music (SOM). Since then, she’s worked as associate chair, as UFF-FIU president, as a faculty fellow, as chair for the faculty senate and as ombudsman, a position in which acted as a independent party to help faculty members solve issues. Having worked as a faculty member and with faculty members for so long, her admiration and respect for her colleagues is clear. “I’ve been an advocate for faculty my entire career and I’m excited to have the opportunity to help make the policy changes that I know are necessary, because faculty members have been telling me so for years.”
Wilson’s parents worked in the U.S. State Department, and she grew up in Latin America. This upbringing prompted her to seek a job in Miami, but it was FIU’s faculty members that clinched the deal for her. “When I came to visit the campus, I saw that the faculty were world class, and I wanted to be part of this team.”
She’s ready to hit the ground running, and already has her goals for the year set. She’ll be supporting CAT in the Evaluation and Rewarding Teaching Project, an overhaul of the current teaching evaluation process that will be learning-centered and culturally responsive and will give departments ways to customize evaluation to their specific needs. She also wants to make sure each department has by-laws, as well as clear guidelines for scholarship and for tenure and promotion that are online and easily accessible. To help facilitate this, she plans on going to at least one faculty meeting in every department.
The ultimate goal, says Wilson, is satisfied faculty. “Satisfied faculty members equals happy and productive teachers, which ultimately translates into higher student performance. Everyone wins.”