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Service is an integral part of the professional life of a University faculty member today. It derives from the centuries-old concept in the western tradition of the university as a self-governing entity. In this spirit, Faculty at the University of Michigan-Flint oversee curriculum and participate in all aspects of University life. As a regional campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, our smaller size at U of M-Flint makes active service essential.

One of the things I enjoy about the service facet of my professional life is that it affords many opportunities to collaborate with my colleagues in other Departments and Schools across the University of Michigan-Flint campus. Education is increasingly interdisciplinary and best practices in teaching today include collaboration between departments.

I contribute to the Department of History, the College of Arts and Sciences (where I have served on various committees, including the Executive Committee which advises the Dean) and many initiatives undertaken by the larger University over the last decade.  Serving for a year as Senior Faculty Advisor to the U of M-Flint Chancellor was a unique opportunity to observe the breadth of the University and chairing the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee (2007) has enabled me to appreciate the challenges facing senior administrators in higher education.  Other areas to which I’ve devoted considerable time include:

  • History Program assessment
  • Social Studies Teacher Certificate Program
  • University Strategic Plan
  • General Education
  • Initiation of student housing; campus residence halls
  • International Students
  • Mentorship of at risk students
  • Diversity and multiculturalism
  • Writing Across the Curriculum

Service also means involvement with the community surrounding the University of Michigan-Flint---being engaged with the civic life which is the context in which we all live and work. I have served on various boards and committees in Flint such as the Ballenger Eminent Persons Lecture Series, Flint Area Public Affairs Debates, the International Institute of Flint, and the Dom Polski Cultural Center of Flint. I have organized lectures for the community and many on campus as well.

In the larger picture, scholars exist in a world-wide academic community where we advance our fields of knowledge in various ways through research. As a scholar, I contribute to my field of Polish studies through organizations like the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.  I contribute book reviews to the journal Canadian and American Slavic Studies, serve as a manuscript reviewer for university presses, and assist other scholars in organizing conferences in my specialty. This deceptively utilitarian term, “service,” spans commitment to education, participation in civic life, and contribution to a field of knowledge.

Copyright 2007 © Theodosia Robertson

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