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Event Looks to Create Community for Part-Time Faculty

At a reception to be held Wednesday, March 2, affiliated faculty will have the chance to come together, meet each other, learn about student services, and enjoy refreshments.

Building on successful faculty orientation programs, this new event being sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs will take place in the Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the Paramount Center from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

“Affiliated faculty make a tremendous contribution [to Emerson], their teaching importance is enormous, and this is going to be a chance both to recognize that and to connect them with College resources that support students,” said Carol Parker, assistant vice president of faculty affairs.

Emerson has 277 affiliated faculty teaching this semester, according to Matthew Finn, assistant director of faculty administration.

Parker said her office had been brainstorming about continuously improving the affiliated faculty’s orientation, and realized that there was an opportunity to focus on student support services and to hold a reception to show the College’s appreciation for affiliated faculty. The soirée seemed to be a good way to let affiliated faculty—who generally spend less time on campus than Emerson’s full-time faculty—know where they can turn if they encounter a student experiencing difficulty.

David Kociemba, president of the Affiliated Faculty of Emerson College-American Association of University Professors, said colleges and universities nationwide are relying more and more on contract teachers. 

Emerson has a higher percentage of part-time faculty than Boston University, where Kociemba also teaches, but does a better job than BU of outreach to affiliated faculty, he said. But, Emerson still “has historically had trouble” integrating its part-time faculty into the community, Kociemba said, so events such as the reception and the annual Course Spa, held once or twice a year, are welcome.

The social aspect of the reception is nice, said Kociemba, who teaches in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, but he believes that the presentations by student service staff will be extremely valuable.

“This is news you can use right now,” said Kociemba, who consulted with Academic Affairs on how to make the event work.

Chris Daly and Amanda Turnley will present together at the reception.

Daly heads up Student Success and Support (S3), which offers support to students who have concerns or challenges, but who are not in acute crisis mode. Those students who are at high risk of harming themselves or others can get help from Emerson Care Assessment Response and Engagement (ECARE), run by Turnley, who is the director of assessment and care and case management in the Office of Housing and Residence Life.

“We will be sharing that there are a number of offices at Emerson that are available to help affiliated faculty members who have concerns about any of their students,” Daly said.

The reception is part of a larger trend toward greater collaboration across campus, Daly said. The hope is that Student Services will not only share information with affiliated faculty about the services available to them, but also invite them into discussions about larger issues, such as policies that may be outdated or trends that should be examined and addressed.

Finn said that after the reception, Academic Affairs will take stock and continue to think about what kind of events would be most useful to affiliated faculty and when they should be offered.

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