There’s a lot of conversation on campus these days about one of my favorite topics: nurturing the teacher-scholar model that is a cornerstone of our It’s Time framework for making St. Cloud State the region’s University of Choice – leading the way in preparing the educators, scientists and business and community leaders of the future with a world-class education.
At the beginning of my career in higher education, I had an amazing experience as a young faculty member at Iowa State University. With my newly minted Ph.D. in Gerontology I was excited to delve deeply into research about aspects of aging that I was so passionate about – and just as excited to be passing my knowledge and enthusiasm on to my students. How thrilling it was to recognize some of that same eagerness in their own studies as I was feeling. I was truly living the joy of being a teacher-scholar.
I knew then what I know now: Our students will have the best experience when engaging with teacher-scholars in an institution that values that balance between bringing significant research and knowledge into the classroom and teaching it in a way that grabs students’ attention and ignites in them a passion for learning more.
A big part of our It’s Time focus is on building and encouraging a culture of pride in our distinctive programs and dedicated teacher-scholars who shine in their academic work and in their classrooms.
On the pages of this magazine you will read about St. Cloud State University’s treasure trove of just such professors. The ones who are taking advantage of all the ways our campus is offering opportunities to share their professional experiences and help others find alignment between being an excellent researcher and scholar and being an engaging, effective teacher.
What does it mean to be a university committed to the teacher-scholar model? To me as a leader, it’s ensuring that when we recruit and hire new faculty we seek out those who grasp the significance of being a teacher-scholar and who can articulate how they carry that philosophy out in practice. And it’s valuing our incredible teacher-scholars and offering more and better training opportunities to spread that expertise and enthusiasm throughout the faculty ranks and into the classroom.
We are fortunate to have the human and technological resources to do just that – resources led by committed practitioners of the teacher-scholar model who have incredible experience and expertise to share.
The work of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is a big part of our support and celebration of teachers and scholars working together to share and develop their academic experiences and their ability to engage students. Its leaders are developing the new Scholarship of Teaching Learning program aimed at improving academic experiences for students.
The lifeblood of St. Cloud State University is the research, writing, teaching and learning our faculty develop in their students and incorporate in their scholarly endeavors. It is through this work that the real magic happens – when we take an individualized approach to student success by actively involving learners in the exciting process of exploring, experimenting, discovering and applying creativity and knowledge.
For 10 years we have been building and improving on The Repository @ St. Cloud State, sharing the work of faculty, staff and students in our St. Cloud State academic community with scholars and researchers throughout the world. The Repository @ St. Cloud State is a tangible, shareable resource that offers easy access to scholarly works that showcase the results of these life-changing projects in the dynamic, digital realm. This ongoing project provides a valuable resource for highlighting the quality and depth of academic excellence our teacher-scholars and our students have produced in the form of theses, dissertations, research papers and other scholarly projects.
I am excited about all the ways the reimagining of our university engages with and impacts our students, our businesses, our institutions, our communities and our world are being developed through our It’s Time initiative. It’s a living, breathing framework that is inspiring our University community and motiving us all to action. We know that the world today is filled with challenges, and we know it is a future filled with hope, promise and opportunities for our graduates to conquer because they were educated by teacher-scholars who engaged them in the exciting research and knowledge they pursued and shared.