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CCCU Continues Leadership Training Through New Faculty Institute

June 20, 2016
The 2016 New Faculty Institute participants. Photo by Inna Molitoris
The participants of the 2016 New Faculty Institute. Photo by Inna Molitoris
WASHINGTON – A group of recently hired faculty members from CCCU institutions across the country gathered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in early June for the opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of life teaching at a Christian college for the CCCU New Faculty Institute (NFI).

Thirty-six professors from 20 CCCU institutions spent three days together studying such topics as Christian approaches to teaching, developing oneself as a scholar, teaching for diverse communities and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Rick Ostrander, the CCCU’s vice president for academic affairs and professional programs, and David Smith, director of the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning at Calvin College, were the program’s leaders.

“The NFI provides new professors the opportunity to connect with colleagues at other institutions and exposes them to leading national figures in Christian scholarship and pedagogy like David Smith, Susan Felch [director of the Institute for Christian Scholarship] and renowned historian George Marsden,” Ostrander said.

The NFI’s purpose is to develop new professors as teachers and scholars, to induct them into the broader community of Christian higher education and to help them establish a foundation for healthy and fulfilling service as a Christian educator, Ostrander said – and by all accounts, this year’s Institute met those goals.

“Having taught for a total of four years (two as an adjunct), I have been looking for ways to take the next step in my teaching. The Institute gave me both practical techniques and a greater philosophical understanding to further improve,” said one participant. “It was encouraging to find that there are accomplished Christian scholars who are willing to mentor young faculty like myself.”

“I especially appreciated that deep underlying truths that are often ignored or muddied in academia were addressed, such as: how important it is to have a clear understanding of what defines you as a professor; how to teach with humility and excellence; and how to look at the tension of excellent teaching and scholarship and self-care with balanced living,” another participant remarked. “I love how potentially messy topics were not only named but were addressed with honesty and specific suggestions as how to work through them well.”

Given the centrality of the faculty to a university’s Christian mission, the CCCU plans to hold the New Faculty Institute annually. For more information on future NFI opportunities, contact Rick Ostrander at rostrander@cccu.org.

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The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 180 Christian institutions around the world. The 117 member campuses in North America are all regionally accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences and whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. In addition, 63 affiliate campuses from 20 countries are part of the CCCU. The CCCU’s mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities offers nine off-campus study programs, collectively branded BestSemester®, which expand learning opportunities for students from CCCU campuses and are designated as culture-shaping or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping BestSemester programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.), Contemporary Music Center (Nashville) and Los Angeles Film Studies Center (Los Angeles). Culture-crossing BestSemester programs are: Australia Studies Centre, Latin American Studies Program, Middle East Studies Program, Oxford Summer Programme, Scholars’ Semester in Oxford and Uganda Studies Program. Visit www.bestsemester.com for program details.