The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff recently announced a newly created faculty professional development program.

The initiative is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Post-secondary Education, Strengthening Institutions, Title III, Part B, Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program.

The theme of the first workshop was, “Higher Ground: Building, Sustaining and Assessing Faculty.” More than 100 faculty attended.

The workshop was part of a vision by Robert Z. Carr Jr., Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dora Sanders, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, to rebrand faculty development at UAPB.

“This on-going training for instructors addressed the need for holistic development personally and professionally in an effort to help both the instructor and the university accomplish its mission to provide cutting edge research, teaching, outreach, and service programs that respond to the social and economic needs of the state and region,” according to a news release.

According to Carr, a robust faculty development program is a positive influence on teaching methodology and personal development.

“With the renewed emphasis of UAPB’s faculty development program, the idea is to encourage faculty members to make changes to their teaching styles with a strong sense of the knowledge of how both self and the learner will benefit from enhanced learning opportunities,” according to Carr.

A newly formed faculty development advisory committee will assist with this effort. The committee includes: Anthony Austin, Janice Brantley, Henry Brooks, Me’kele Carter, O.C. Duffy, Michael Eggleton, Harrold Fooster, Jose Hernandez, Shawna Hughey, Cedric Jackson, Cheryl Jackson-Golden, Garry Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Lavoris Martin, Sheena Meadows, Joon Park, Sederick Rice, Josh Strong, Arthur Thomas, Willette Totten and Joseph Trotter.

Professor of Education Mildred Pearson from Eastern Illinois University recently addressed UAPB faculty during the faculty professional development workshop. Pearson teaches in the College of Education and Professional Studies at Eastern Illinois.

“She is the inaugural director of faculty development, where she served for almost seven years, laying the foundation for excellence in teaching and learning workshop series,” according to a news release.

A graduate of Langston University, she also attended the University of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University where she completed her terminal degree.

Topics at the workshop included the importance of the instructor’s self-care and self-awareness; making time for research; finding mentors for research; building relationships with students; student-centered learning; and continual staff support.

“This is a time for deeper dialogue, mentoring, modeling and growing your own,” Pearson said. “We must create a faculty-friendly institution where voices are heard, views valued, and vocation appreciated, which requires establishing an environment that is inviting and nurturing.”

For more information about the faculty development program at UAPB, contact the Division of Academic Affairs at 870-575-8475.