UMKC Forward Introduces New Faculty Development Program

CAFE is the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence
Two women sit outside

The UMKC Forward initiative introduces a new and expanded faculty support initiative, the Center for Advancing Faculty Excellence, CAFE.

CAFE builds on and replaces the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching (FaCET).

“UMKC has a long tradition of providing valuable teaching support to our faculty through FaCET," said Provost Jenny Lundgren. "CAFE will build on that foundation, offering expanded programming and resources to support all pillars of faculty life: teaching and learning, research and creativity, service and engagement, career progression and leadership development."

Tom Mardikes, chair of the UMKC Faculty Senate and Conservatory theatre professor, found the concept encouraging.

“The heart of any university is the relationship of the student to the faculty,” Mardikes said. “We are working very hard to identify ways for UMKC to be innovative in its programs and especially in how it connects our students to the city and the region. Investing in our faculty to better secure student success is a winner, and I'm very excited to see how impactful and productive this new approach can be for UMKC.”

CAFE will bring all campus-level faculty development and support programming under a single umbrella, said Diane Filion, vice provost for faculty affairs. A unified professional learning calendar, registration and attendance system will make it easy for faculty to find the programming and resources they are most interested in, while also creating infrastructure for evaluating the impact of CAFE programs on faculty and student outcomes, to ensure programming meets faculty needs.

“Investing in our faculty to better secure student success is a winner, and I'm very excited to see how impactful and productive this new approach can be for UMKC.” - Tom Mardikes

CAFE will be organized around the pillars Lundgren listed, and rather than a single director, a team of pillar leaders working with a faculty advisory board will shape and guide CAFE. Initial programs and resources planned within each pillar as described below.

See pillar chart
Teaching and Learning
  • Expanded campus-specific instructional support: CAFE will provide enhanced support to UMKC faculty including support for in-person and blended courses with their associated teaching tools and technologies, the Syllabus Generator, hyflex and general classroom technology.
  • Resources and Support for NTT and Adjunct Faculty: CAFE will include a new focused program to support non-tenure track and adjunct faculty specifically, coordinated by the pillar lead and a CAFE faculty fellow.
  • Course evaluations and peer teaching observations: CAFE will provide unit-level consulting and support to expand beyond traditional course evaluations for the assessment of teaching effectiveness, including incorporating formal peer observations of teaching. A new program within CAFE will prepare a group of faculty to provide peer observation and coordinate a service in which units or instructors can request a peer observation and coaching for a class. CAFE will offer the peer reviewers a small stipend for their service.
  • Assessment and analytics for student success: In collaboration with leadership, a CAFE faculty fellow will help design and coordinate tools for program directors, department chairs and deans focused on strengthening ongoing program assessment strategies and using data analytics to evaluate and address curricular barriers to student success.
  • Faculty Learning Communities: In 2019-20, UMKC started bringing together small groups of faculty from across disciplines for peer-led, in-depth learning opportunities on a specific teaching topic. CAFE will continue this program and offer a set of Faculty Learning Communities each year on topics selected and led by faculty.
  • Inclusive Teaching: in partnership with Diversity and Inclusion, CAFE will coordinate workshops, Faculty Learning Communities, and guest speakers focused on inclusive and culturally-responsive teaching strategies.
  • Mini-conference: Teaching: In past years, FaCET provided a one-day conference focused on a variety of teaching topics and typically included an external keynote speaker. CAFE will continue this tradition.
Research and Creativity
  • Grant-writing institutes and research mentor program: CAFE will launch a series of initiatives to support faculty research, with the signature program based on the matrix model from the University of Utah. In this model, selected faculty will engage in a yearlong program to facilitate grant writing, fellowship or foundation proposals across all disciplines. The program will provide senior and peer mentors, with extensive and intensive guidance and support for all stages of proposal development from concept to submission.
  • Small grants program for proposal development: Faculty can apply for funding to support proposal development through course reduction, external consultation, pilot testing and supplies.
  • Grant and fellowship proposal pre-submission peer review: Faculty can request a pre-submission peer review of a grant or fellowship proposal by a senior faculty member specifically identified by the Office of Research Services and CAFE pillar lead based on the reviewer’s expertise and experience relative to each proposal. CAFE will offer the peer reviewers a small stipend for the peer review service.
  • Mini-conference: Research: Along with the annual mini-conference on teaching topics, CAFE will design and present a mini-conference focused on timely research topics.
Service and Engagement
  • This pillar will have two themes and two co-pillar leaders: high-impact and community-engaged learning led by a CAFE faculty fellow and co-pillar lead, and community-based research and consulting led by a partner from External Relations serving as a co-pillar leader.
  • The pillar leader for high-impact and community-engaged learning will be responsible for leading the programming for faculty on designing community-based learning/service learning courses. A signature proposal involves working with the AmeriCorps VISTA program to establish partnerships at major Kansas City nonprofits for student placements with activities specifically designed for integration into course assignments. The leader also will partner with the Undergraduate Research Council, International Affairs, Student Affairs and others to design and implement programming to support faculty engaged in high-impact teaching practices.
  • The pillar leader for community-based research and consulting will be responsible for designing and implementing programs and services to support and expand opportunities for faculty-community partnerships.
Career Progression, Leadership and Faculty Life
  • New faculty orientation and non-tenure track/adjunct support: Leaders from all pillars will contribute to a new, yearlong faculty orientation that will cover all aspects of faculty life: research, teaching, service, engagement and leadership. In addition, there will be a new focused program to support non-tenure track and adjunct faculty specifically, coordinated by the pillar-lead and a CAFE faculty fellow.­­­­­­­­­­­
  • Early-Career / Pre-Tenure Programming: CAFE will offer programming to support faculty in the years preceding their tenure review. This will include workshops, consultation and resources for pre-tenure faculty: promotion and tenure, creating a path-to-tenure plan, creating the tenure portfolio and making the most of pre-tenure time. Programming and resources will also be provided for department chairs and deans specifically focused on supporting their pre-tenure faculty.
  • Mid-Career Programming: CAFE will offer programming to support the personal and professional growth of midcareer faculty. This will include workshops focused on creating a path-to-promotion plan, exploring professional and academic leadership roles, and other resources specifically designed to connect mid-career faculty to the resources needed to chart a course for the next steps in their post-tenure years. for mid-career faculty. Programming and resources will also be developed for department chairs and deans specifically focused on supporting their mid-career faculty.
  • Programming for Underrepresented NTT/TT Faculty: CAFE will offer focused programming in support of the personal and professional growth of underrepresented faculty, meant to address possible barriers to their success at UMKC. These resources are designed to meet the needs specific to our Black, Indigenous, Asian and Latinx/Hispanic faculty, with a focus on fostering support and belonging and building community. Programming and resources will also be developed for department chairs and deans specifically focused on supporting the success of underrepresented faculty.
  • Programming for Department Chairs: Through collaborations with UM System and multiple campus partners, CAFE will offer programming and resources to support department chairs and the critical roles they play in supporting the success of their faculty, staff and students.
  • Faculty health and wellness: Through collaborations with UM System, UMKC HR, the UMKC Faculty Ombuds and a variety of other partners, CAFE will offer programming to promote faculty health and wellness.
Published: Mar 18, 2021