Faculty: Apply for professional development funds
Fri, August 23, 2019
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By: Madeline Foley
The Faculty Enrichment Center (FEC) has hired Rita Kumar as executive director.
Kumar, a professor of English, previously served as co-director of the Learning and Teaching Center at UC Blue Ash College (UCBA) where she developed, delivered, and facilitated the center’s faculty and professional development programming. Her research focuses on PBL, Lesson Study, inclusive classroom practices, and improving students’ information literacy skills. She has shared her research globally in over 60 professional presentations.
“After conducting a national search with nearly 100 applicants, Dr. Rita Kumar emerged as the most qualified candidate to direct the Faculty Enrichment Center,” says Keisha Love, associate vice provost for faculty development and special initiatives and FEC task force member. “Dr. Kumar has amassed a wealth of faculty development experience throughout her career. She is an interdisciplinary collaborator, is versed in mentoring best practices, has experience with leadership training, and is a diversity, equity, and inclusion expert.”
Kumar is prepared to use her prior knowledge to amplify programming.
“I look forward to creating an intellectual and social community where FEC members interact in a meaningful way that deepens their understanding of each other and leads to learning,” Kumar explains. “I am looking forward to the completion of the FEC so we can use its thoughtful layout with dedicated spaces for collaboration, innovative programming and community building.”
The FEC will begin providing programming this fall, with a ribbon cutting planned for September 27.
Initially, Kumar will focus on the development and implementation of new FEC programming and events focused on four main goals:
Fostering interdisciplinary collaborations
Promoting a culture of inclusion
Enhancing social well-being
FEC programming and events will include leadership and professional development workshops, a Unit Head training academy, career planning sessions, mentorship programs, technology-enhanced collaborative spaces, inclusion workshops, general audience presentations and more.
Kumar is most excited about strategic planning, collaboration, and inclusion. “I am naturally inclined to look for interdisciplinary solutions because I believe our stories are connected. I continue to see the value of and benefit from the true collaborative process that is part of the UC culture, and look forward to engaging with faculty across the university to understand faculty needs, strengthen existing programs and build and deliver innovative opportunities for the personal and professional growth of faculty.”
Kumar also serves as co-chair of UC’s COACHE Interdisciplinary Work Group, and is co-editing a book on designing student-centered classrooms for equity and inclusion across disciplines. Kumar is a co-recipient of the 2019 Dr. Marian Spencer Equity Ambassador Award and 2013-14 recipient of the UCBA Innovative Teaching Award for her inventive use of problem-based learning (PBL) in the classroom.