New colleagues join the Office of Engagement and Faculty Development

Leslie Couse and Julie Williams

Leslie Couse, Executive Director and Patricia Walsh, Educational Program Coordinator II

New colleagues bring new ideas and insights and both Leslie Couse and Patricia Walsh who joined the Office of the Senior Vice Provost for Engagement and Faculty Development bring new energy to these critically important roles.  Leslie Couse, Ph.D. serves as the Executive Director for engagement and faculty development and professor of education, while Patty Walsh, M.Ed., is the new Educational Program Coordinator II of engagement and faculty development.

Prior to joining the Office, Couse was chair of the UNH department of education and in addition served as a scholarly coach for faculty participating in the office’s Writing Academy and Research and Engagement Academy.

“We want to elevate the importance of all types of faculty and support them to be successful in their careers,” Couse says. “We need this diversity of faculty to prepare students, advance knowledge, and improve the quality of life for the citizens of New Hampshire and beyond. Diversity is a strength and we want to support that.”

This Office has evolved greatly over the last 17 years since it was initially formed.  In 2004 the Engaged Scholars Academy, designed to support faculty engagement with external partners, became the basis for all other programs.  Now there are more than 10 programs and partnerships with Colleges, Extension, and Alumni Relations. This year, for example, the Office will begin to expand its two-day New Faculty Orientation into the New Faculty Academy, working in this pilot year in cooperation with a few of the colleges. Recognizing that the colleges have successful professional development initiatives, the office provides all new faculty a two-day overview when they arrive on campus and collaborates with  the colleges throughout the year to offer new faculty what they need during their first year at UNH. Finally, the office will lead a closing activity to celebrate the end of the year.

“We seek to elevate what the colleges are already doing with their faculty—maybe COLA has a great module on the Discovery Program and we can share that with others because that is a core to the undergraduate curriculum no matter what college you are in,” Couse says.   

Another new program – the Faculty Engagement with Alumni program – runs in partnership with UNH Alumni Relations —fosters mutually beneficial relationships between faculty and alumni. In an annual daylong workshop, faculty learn strategies to share their research in interesting and accessible ways. Faculty then engage with alumni at targeted events to keep alums connected with what is happening at UNH.  The office has run two cohorts of the Faculty Engagement with Alumni Academy, which have received positive reviews from faculty and alumni alike, Couse says.

“How our alumni are doing is a measure of our success; alumni want to hear what’s happening here. How can we connect with them to keep alumni feeling like they are a part of things?” she says. “National research shows that faculty are one of the most important elements alumni remember from their student experience. This academy gives alumni the opportunity to re-engage with faculty in a social setting.”

Prior to joining the office in May, 2017, Walsh was Educational Program Coordinator II for Executive Education at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics.

Walsh says some faculty development programs have expanded to meet the needs of the faculty, including what was previously known as Advancing Chairs as Leaders. The program’s name changed this year to Advancing Academic Leaders, focusing on topics such as leadership development, human resources, finance, and diversity and inclusion. Department Chairs and other academic leaders can benefit from this program. Co-chaired by Couse and Todd DeMitchell , professor of education in 2019, the interactive program highlights the knowledge, skills and approaches to successfully lead and enhance the climate in an academic organization. 

Faculty Fellows help lead each of our programs. “Our faculty fellow model is so effective. Faculty leaders partner with us to design curriculum and deliver programs,” Walsh says. “Working with them allows our office to expand its reach and range of expertise by bringing in smart, talented experts.”

Couse says the goal of the office is to give people the tools they need to be successful throughout their careers. For more information on the Office of Engagement and Faculty Development, visit https://www.unh.edu/engagement or call 862-1997.

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