Putting our students first
Most of us can identify an influential teacher somewhere in our educational career—someone with a certain panache who brought a subject to life; someone who took an interest in our future and guided us towards success. It is my hope that students in the College of Arts and Sciences experience this kind of inspiration during their time at WSU.
As a university faculty, we have a great deal of freedom: freedom to choose classroom materials and textbooks; freedom to focus our intellectual and creative activities on what intrigues us most; freedom to upgrade and improve our skills and seek out collaborators.
With the freedom comes great responsibility, of course.
As an institution of higher education, we are here first and foremost for our students. They arrive at WSU ready to learn and willing to pay the price for the opportunity. We have the responsibility to meet them face to face and to be prepared to teach and inspire.
This is not to imply that our research and creative endeavors are not critically important. They are, from my point of view, different sides of the very same coin. Scholarly activities outside of the classroom create better and more informed instructors; classroom activities offer an opportunity to share our knowledge and keep our minds open to new perspectives.
As professionals, it is also important to cultivate sources of inspiration and motivation for ourselves. Last month, the college joined with the Office of the Provost and the ADVANCE at WSU program to bring a nationally prominent expert in faculty development to the Pullman campus for the first of what we hope to be a regular series of workshops about mentoring, time management, and other timely topics for our teaching faculty.
We are investing in our faculty so that our faculty can invest in our students. We should always remember that the students of today are the future leaders of our communities, our economy, our government, our schools, our environment, and our society.