Invested Faculty 

History of Invested Faculty

In realizing that 2/3rds of our teaching faculty at Kansas State University are 50 and older, and noticing that many events for faculty are focused on new or younger faculty, the decision was made to design a program devoted to helping older faculty remain vital and energized throughout their teaching careers.
Originally the name was “Faculty-Over-Fifty,” which did designate the intended group.  However, upon review by the university attorney, a concern was raised as to potential discrimination of certain faculty members.  The concern that certain rights of some at the university were being abused and other faculty members were excluded was voiced.   After discussing these legal concerns, the decision by the Teaching & Learning Center leadership was made to rename the group “Invested Faculty,” with the caveat that “all are welcome” to the events.
The inaugural event was held April 11, 2013 in the Kansas State University Alumni Center with over 90 faculty members attending.  Coach Bill Snyder, a member of the group’s demographics, give the keynote address, which included sharing of his teaching career beginning in Missouri where he taught Spanish among other obligations and drove the school bus as part of his job.  This delightful speech was followed by a “Four Corners” Discussion Group design where attendees were assigned to groups in the four-corners of the ballroom of the Alumni Center.   Faculty members Bronwyn Fees, Alfred Cochran, Laurie Curtis, Jane Fishback and Jana Fallin led the discussion with scribes assigned to each group.  The resulting information, titled Bright Ideas and Words of Wisdom is collected on this website.
The participants enjoyed a wonderful ice cream sundae bar with all the toppings and flavors one could imagine.   The ending talk was provided by C. Clyde Jones, the first dean of the College of Business Administration at K-State, who was 91 at the time of the Invested Faculty event.



"Four Corners" Discussion Groups / Bright Ideas and Words of Wisdom

- You are not teaching a subject, you are teaching students.
- Reinvent the job you are in
- Make time for collegial exchange
- Students can mentor faculty as much as faculty can mentor students
- Initiate learning with your students, many do not know that learning is an active process
- Late career faculty are not self-promoters; they help others achieve success.
- What happens when there are no reliable mentors in your department? How do we seek out a mentor?
- Mentor students (even after retirement) through the GPS / K-State First program

What is the best role for senior faculty?
- Continued involvement
- Continue to teach and learn from new faculty
- Overcome perceptions (we still have something to offer!)
- We can't afford to lose faculty that care about K-State, our students, and each other

- Share wisdom through learned teaching
- Wisdom = inspiration, drive, experience, a life journey
- Wisdom is personal and important
- Good judgement comes from experience
- Display wisdom through modeling
- Take time to take care of yourself
- Keep your mind active and learning
- Continue to renew your teaching
- Learn to use new technology
- Keep a healthy, positive attitude
- Think about solutions, don't dwell on issues alone
- Be an authentic teacher, share your stories with students

- Leadership is being able to delegate
- A good leader listens, empowers, is strong yet compassionate
- Accept that sometimes you will need to make unpopular decisions
- Find people who are best at completing specific tasks
- Leaders should be predictable and consistent
- 5 Things Every Leader Should Say Every Day:
I'm Sorry, Here's what I'm thinking, Thank you, I was wrong, That was awesome!
- Leadership is a characteristic, not a position

Feedback: What do we need from K-State?

  • Technology (and tech terminology) training for senior faculty
  • Social media training
  • A feeling of appreciation from departments and K-State as a whole
  • A faculty club or group, a place for mid to late career faculty
  • Mentoring for invested faculty, not just new faculty
  • Create a more formal, yet flexible mentoring program
  • Collaboration with faculty in other disciplines and opportunities to create satisfying relationships with colleagues (but how?)
  • Time to talk to mentors
  • Something to offset TEVALS, i.e. peer mentoring, in class assessment
  • Promotion and tenure process is too tedious, needs to be re-evaluated
  • How do I phase into retirement?
  • Collaborate with New Faculty Institute to create senior faculty and new faculty mentoring relationships
  • Cross-generational communication
  • Assess leadership - give training to faculty transitioning to department head/administrator
  • Gather leadership experiences for junior faculty

Polling Questions / Audience Demographics

How old are you?
41 responses
76% (55-70)
12% (50-54)
10% (76-80)
2% (Over 86)

47 responses
55% Male
45% Female

How many years have you been at K-State?
32 responses
28% (20-25)
28% (26-30)
16% (31-35)
19% (36-40)
9% (41+ years)

Do you feel you have wisdom to share?
30 responses
84% Strongly Agree
17% Agree

Do you mentor anyone?
30 responses
53% Mentoring more than one person
17% I am assigned as a faculty mentor