Professional Track Faculty will Celebrate 5 Years at March Symposium
By Dylan Lewis
On March 2 and 3, 2023, the fifth annual Professional Track Faculty (PTK) Symposium will take place as a hybrid event. This two-day symposium features speakers, workshops, and networking opportunities for PTK faculty all held in concurrent breakout sessions. In addition to the various sessions, the symposium also includes opening remarks by a Provost Panel of Jennifer King Rice, Senior Vice President and Provost of UMD, as well as Mark R. Ginsberg, Executive Vice President and Provost of George Mason University. A welcome from President Darryll Pines will also be presented. Sessions on Thursday, March 2 will be held virtually on Zoom, and those on Friday, March 3 will be held at Stamp Student Union in person.
A group of PTK faculty, with support from the Office of Faculty Affairs, organizes these annual symposia to address topics of interest to the professional track faculty on campus. The symposium is open to all UMD faculty, staff, and administrators, and emphasizes connecting PTK faculty members to the many resources available to them here at UMD, discussing the challenges they face, and celebrating their many accomplishments. Campus focus on PTK faculty has heightened in the past decade, resulting in greater representation in the University Senate and the institution of several new policies and guidelines for procedures. The symposium helps PTK faculty members further shape their identity and network on campus. This annual event honors the contributions that these faculty members make to the university’.
Since the event started offering an online component in 2021 and 2022, it has been more widely attended and more accessible than the in-person PTK symposia have been in the past. Last year, more than 250 PTK and TTK faculty, administrators, and staff signed up for sessions. The more flexible online format also helps connect to the university’s Extension and many research faculty members, who often are not based on campus.
This year the event is emceed and organized by Brit I. Saksvig and Jo B. Zimmerman, both from the School of Public Health. The various sessions offered at the symposium should be of interest to all faculty members and focus on important topics such as anti-racist pedagogy, environmental sustainability practices, finding funding opportunities, writing DEI statements, community engagement through service learning, and more. Presenting a wide range of topics is an important component for an event of this scope and scale, which takes a full year of planning to organize. This year the symposium emphasizes three main topics: Community, Growth, and Wellness. All three topics resonate with the university’s new strategic plan, unveiled last February. Community, Growth, and Wellness are also important themes as we continue to work post-COVID-19 lockdown.
Saksvig, Associate Clinical Professor and Director of Graduate Student Services, School of Public Health, previously served as chair of the Registration Sub-Committee (2021) and chair of the Logistics Sub-Committee (2022). She notes that one of the most important functions of the symposium is to bring together PTK faculty members working both on and off campus in order to strengthen community connections. Saksvig says that, “when we had to pivot to a virtual event the last couple of years, we realized it allowed for greater participation. We want to maintain that broad engagement going forward so we are keeping the virtual programming and adding an in-person day. We are all looking forward to seeing each other in person again!”
Zimmerman, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology, has moved from being a Symposium participant to serving as a member of the Programming Committee in 2022, to Symposium Co-Chair for 2023. Zimmerman states that, “making professional connections with others across campus can be difficult, but this Symposium is one of the great mechanisms to do just that. It also provides leadership opportunities within the organizing committee and the subcommittees, but with some operational support from the Office of Faculty Affairs. Now that we’ve done a few of these, in virtual and face-to-face formats, one shared goal for 2023 is to establish some sustainable structures and tools for future events.”
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The 2022 Annual Activity Report submission process officially opened on January 17, 2023. All tenured and tenure-track faculty members must complete and submit their 2022 Annual Activity Report by March 17, 2023. This year, all benefits-eligible Professional Track faculty (PTK) are able to participate in 2022 Annual Activity Reporting using the Workflow function within Faculty Success. PTK faculty members should consult their department chairs or unit heads with questions about participation requirements and opportunities.
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