Faculty Empowering Faculty: A Guide to Partnering with the CFI

About the Center for Faculty Innovation

The Center for Faculty Innovation blends holistic faculty development with a vision of impacting faculty at various levels and career milestones. CFI programs address all areas of faculty life–teaching, scholarship, and career planning–by promoting innovations and thoughtful interactions that enhance and improve the JMU academic experience. CFI programs reflect scholarly, evidence-informed practices through a variety of programming genres from workshops to faculty interest groups to semester-long fellowships.

CFI Mission

We are a community of faculty and educational developers collaborating to create opportunities for professional growth and innovation.

CFI Vision

The CFI will cultivate inclusive communities of peers committed to helping each other succeed, advancing individual and organizational change.

CFI Values

Collaboration, innovation, strategic thinking, integrations, inclusiveness, scholarly approach, responsiveness.

CFI Partners

The Center for Faculty Innovation has incrementally built sustainable, mutually enhancing relationships across campus in the form of collaborative partnerships and co-sponsorships. CFI’s commitment to faculty empowering faculty includes investing in current and new campus relationships using a model of authentic partnership; this means that the CFI works with partners to build a shared programming vision, develop high impact program designs, create reliable assessment strategies, and follow evidence-based faculty development models. Partners share in planning, decision-making, and the pursuit of mutually agreed-upon outcomes. The CFI trusts that a model of adaptive learning, collaborative problem solving, and common vision will strengthen and broaden professional development opportunities for JMU faculty. This model also poises the CFI and partners to make informed, scholarly contributions to the global dialogue on the changing role of the professoriate in higher education.

Figure 1: Authentic Partnership Process

The authentic partnership process involves an iterative planning cycle in which the CFI works with departments, organizations, and facilitators to (1) define program outcomes, (2) select the appropriate programming genre (e.g., workshop, roundtable, etc.), (3) manage program logistics, (4) discuss ways to enhance the success of the program, and (5) develop a plan to evaluate the impact of the program (Figure 1). Results will be used to enhance future program offerings, refine program outcomes, and/or be disseminated through scholarly venues or institutional reports.

Getting Started

Early planning of programs is essential. In most cases, it is ideal to contact the CFI one semester prior to the desired program date to begin the planning cycle. Typically, the CFI plans fall programs during the summer, spring programs during the fall, and summer programs during the spring. Planning deadlines and schedules will be available for the larger events that the CFI coordinates (e.g. January Symposium, May Symposium, and New Faculty Orientation) to ensure that there is sufficient time to complete the planning cycle prior to the event. Prospective partners may contact the CFI at cfi@jmu.edu to submit programming ideas.

Programming Areas and Outcomes

CFI programs strive to impact faculty by offering experiences that enhance academic culture and promote excellence in teaching, scholarship, and career planning. In addition to creating specific outcomes for your program, you will work with your CFI liaison to align your program with one or more of the programming area outcomes listed below.

Promoting excellence in Teaching: faculty will make progress toward...
  • Appreciating pedagogy - the art and science of teaching and learning - as a significant higher education endeavor;
  • Identifying factors that influence pedagogical choices;
  • Creating assignments and/or courses that support higher-level learning,
  • Designing and offering courses or curricula that align learning objectives, assessment, and learning activities;
  • Articulating how current pedagogical choices reflect disciplinary norms;
  • Practicing the integration of scholarship with teaching and other career aspirations; and
  • Integrating knowledge of student development models in teaching philosophies and practice.
Promoting excellence in Scholarship: faculty will make progress toward...
  • Appreciating diverse forms, purposes, and communication modes of scholarship in higher education;
  • Enhancing scholarly productivity;
  • Forming collaborative research projects with students, faculty, and staff at JMU and other institutions;
  • Advancing scholarly skills and output;
  • Exploring and securing funding opportunities to support scholarly activities; and
  • Practicing the integration of scholarship with teaching and other career aspirations.
Promoting excellence in Career Planning: faculty will make progress toward...
  • Appreciating the place and purpose of comprehensive career planning in academic careers
  • Creating a comprehensive career plan with meaningful, measurable goals for professional advancement;
  • Identifying and implementing effective strategies for career advancement;
  • Achieving self-defined career milestones;
  • Applying best practices of performance documentation to career advancement;
  • Developing and fostering productive mentoring and networking relationships; and
  • Identifying strategies to maintain balance in work-life continuum.
Enhancing Academic Culture: faculty will make progress toward...
  • Feeling an increased sense of belonging to the JMU community;
  • Enhancing diversity and inclusivity through teaching, scholarship, and career development;
  • Engaging in reflective practices about their faculty roles;
  • Establishing and strengthening relationships with colleagues across disciplines, colleges, and ranks that support teaching, scholarship, and/or career development; and
  • Developing holistic, integrated, and satisfying agendas in teaching, scholarship, and career development that align with the values of academic units and discipline(s).

Programming Genres

The Center for Faculty Innovation offers a variety of program types that may be adapted for unique programming ideas or themes. The following list describes the most common CFI programming genres. The CFI can offer suggestions and ideas for additional programming genres.

Workshops offer faculty introductory experiences to new pedagogies, scholarly experiences, or foundational components of comprehensive career planning. Faculty or guest speakers with expertise facilitate these activities and offer opportunities to apply new ideas to academic endeavors.

While participating in a workshop, faculty will...
  • Experience pedagogy appropriate to the workshop content
  • Have the opportunity to actively apply the session content

Roundtables build insight and community around topics of mutual interest by offering facilitated inquiry into a timely issue or dynamic that cuts across the spectrum of teaching, scholarship, and career planning. Knowledgeable facilitators provide short, informative presentations followed by interactive dialogue with participants about material presented.

While participating in a roundtable, faculty will...
  • Experience an organized overview of the topic;
  • Engage in informed, reflective dialogue with facilitators and participants; and
  • Share perspectives with colleagues.

Institutes provide faculty extended, immersive experiences pertaining to teaching, scholarship, or career planning. Institutes range from half-day options to multi-day events, allowing for more opportunities for engagement and disciplined inquiry. Institutes are facilitated by faculty mentors and consultants with expertise in teaching, scholarship, or career planning.

While participating in an institute, faculty will...
  • Experience pedagogy appropriate to the institute content; and
  • Have the opportunity to actively apply the session content.

Flashpoints are faculty-generated public forums aimed at spotlighting global and local events significant to our human and planetary experience. Flashpoints begin with a panel of faculty representing different disciplines answering questions posed by a moderator. The forum then opens to the audience for an interactive dialogue.

While participating in a flashpoint
  • Experience organized, moderated discussion with topic experts; and
  • Engage in informed, reflective dialogue with facilitators and community members.

Scholarly Talks feature faculty from JMU and other universities in order to engage colleagues in academically informed inquiry and the creation of a vibrant community. These talks focus on diverse aspects of faculty life and create opportunities for faculty to connect with others.

While particpating in a scholarly talk, faculty will..
  • Experience an organized presentation.

Lockdowns encourage faculty to dive into projects with concentrated time and effort.

While participating in a lockdown, faculty will...
  • Experience a focused work environment;
  • Interact with consultants, as necessary; and
  • Explore future consultation opportunities.

Faculty Communities encompass a range of configurations and styles of faculty engagement in which faculty empower faculty in extended dialogue, inquiry, and discovery around a topic of common concern, interest, or relevance. Faculty communities most commonly take the form of faculty interest groups, fellowships, or reading groups.

  • Faculty Interest Groups create an informal forum for learning and dialogue related to topics proposed by faculty. FIGs are faculty driven and provide opportunities for the formation of cross-disciplinary connections related to a topic(s) of mutual interest.
  • Madison Fellowships provide an opportunity for faculty to focus on a sustained inquiry and exchange around a timely issue, trend, or topic related to teaching, scholarship, or career planning. Fellowships are small self- directed, self-facilitated groups.
  • Reading Groups bring faculty from multiple disciplines together to discuss articles, books, or other written resources related to higher education. The materials are selected by either the faculty group or the CFI, as connected to broader trends or initiatives.
While participating in a faculty community, faculty will...
  • Form meaningful connections with colleagues;
  • Have the opportunity to explore a topic of common concern, interest, or relevance;
  • Have the opportunity to apply what is learned to teaching, scholarship, or career planning.

Program Logistics

The CFI's operations team manages most of the logistics for the successful launch, execution, and assessment of programs. In collaboration with partners, the CFI may help handle registration, reserve rooms, order catering, and send program reminders. Typically, the CFI team will advertise programs on the CFI website, publish information to the CFI’s weekly digest, and post information on the CFI’s social media accounts. The team will partner with you to market your event to the campus community.

Program Enhancement

An important component of program implementation is enhancement: focusing on ways to help participants achieve the program, area, and/or genre outcomes. As needed, a CFI faculty member can guide this discussion, highlighting relevant scholarly literature, survey results, or other resources to ensure programmatic success. Skilled in effective faculty development practices, CFI faculty can help infuse ideas and strategies into program design that align with the partnering organization, program outcomes, the programming genre, and participant needs.

Program Impact

Mixed methods assessment practices are often utilized to evaluate program impact, assess faculty learning outcomes, and contribute to the scholarship of educational development. For most genres, the CFI will deploy a survey after the event to measure the process and indicated outcomes; however, not all genres are conducive to such surveying. CFI faculty, in concert with the CFI Assessment Coordinator, can help partners to explore additional methods to measure program impact. Some of these assessment strategies may involve the submission of a proposal to the JMU Institutional Review Board (IRB). Ultimately, the CFI wants to promote scholarly reflection regarding the impact of faculty development at JMU, ensuring that our authentic partners participate in this process.

CFI Professionals

CFI Faculty (One executive director and three assistant directors) perform much of the planning for CFI initiatives while maintaining roles as instructional faculty in their affiliated academic units. CFI faculty teach two courses per year and maintain scholarly agendas in their disciplinary areas of expertise and/or in the scholarship of educational development.

CFI Faculty Associates (10-12 per semester) are JMU faculty who have reassigned their time to work with the CFI. Faculty Associates provide a critical linkage between the CFI and their respective academic disciplines, colleges, and units.

CFI Operations is a team of professional staff and student members who manage the logistics and execution of programming (room reservations, event registration, catering), collect assessment data, and coordinate budget initiatives for the CFI.

CFI Faculty Facilitators and Consultants are campus experts in various aspects of academic life. The broad and talented facilitator pool supports the mutual-benefit model of faculty development and allows the CFI to address a variety of faculty needs.


All photos by JMU Photo Services/Marketing or the Center for Faculty Innovation

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