By Tifani-Rae Steward- Staff Writer
(Courtesy of http://humanities.umf.maine.edu/)
UMF has designed programs that insure students are involved in the decision making of the new professors, through search committees, model
class rooms, and visitor (potential new professors) presentation that are all searching for student feedback.
Dr. Jonathan Cohen, head of the humanities department said “We value students input” and said, “I have seen a situation in which student feedback was the crucial tipping point in our decision.”
Dr. Cohen explained that every department designs a search committee if there is a position to be filled in the department. On this committee there is one student representative a junior or senior with a major in that field. “Someone who we think is a good student and who we think can handle the extra work,” he said. He further explained that the students are involved more in the interview process, which
sometimes takes place over Skype.
Students are invited to view visitor’s
presentations, Dr. Cohen explained, and are encouraged to give feedback on the visitors. Sometimes the department will run a model class for the visitor in which the visitors will lead, but will be guided by the current professor of the class, again the department wants to know what students think and encourage feedback. He mentioned that students are invited to have a meal with the visitor in which no staff members are present so the students can have one on one time.
Dr. Cohen informed that the process of hiring a new professor is “pretty
standard” among the different departments ensuring that student’s opinion is valued throughout all of the university.
Chloe Watson, a new professor to the arts department has taught at a variety of universities from a community college to a small private liberal arts college. “I like the size of the university, the small classes and the small departments,” Watson said. Most of her students are students taking her painting classes for Gen Ed requirements, and she likes this, she “enjoys pushing creative thinking and critical problem skills that they can use in any fields.”“
UMF student are very hard working which is great,” Watson said, “I enjoy working at UMF rather than an arts school because I get to work with students with many interests. As a result students can use content from their major in their art, it’s great.”
Dr. Shannon Larsen, new to the education department explained that she likes the small campus and the fact that she can get to know the students, which is different from what she is used to. “I am so grateful that the university students and staff have been so welcoming and helpful,” Larsen said, “They always answer questions.” To measure her success she said, “You would have to ask my students they are the best measure of my success.”
Dr. Larsen explained that being a new professor is busy with new students, new colleges, new rules, and a new curriculum. She said it is “success that I have made it to November. I have learned a lot but there is still a lot I have to learn and improve but this is the future.”