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Faculty Funding Guide

The New Faculty Funding Guide to Competing for Research Funding is now available (PDF version) at Tech’s library. The book is accessible through the Library’s catalog at: <link> .
Click on the link “Academic Research Funding Strategies” and this will take you to a library login where you will enter your username and password. You will then be taken to a webpage where you can download the book.

Delivering Excellent Course Content

Dear New Faculty and ECM-ers,
This Tomorrow’s Professor post, “Delivering Excellent Course Content from the Outset: Guiding Graduate Students and Young College Faculty through the Process of First‐Time Teaching” is highly relevant as you begin your careers and begin teaching a new class.  I hope you find it a valuable read with nuggets to include in your own teaching.

Best Regards,

Delivering Excellent Course Content from the Outset:
Guiding Graduate Students and Young College Faculty through the Process of First‐Time Teaching


So far, you have done a job. After several years of graduate school, your department has given you an opportunity to teach your very own college‐level course! Dig, if you will, this picture: your imagination in overdrive, you see yourself performing captivating oratories on every subject within your academic discipline. No one doubts the almost magical synergy between you and your eager students. They hang on your every word, applaud your insightful and witty comments, and commend you on exam day for a superbly crafted test that challenged their mastery of the material. Perhaps you even remind yourself of the scene from Dead Poets Society where students climb on desks to address “O Captain! My Captain!” Soon this will be you.


Now come back to reality. Teaching a college‐level class is no easy task. It requires a great deal of work and preparation just to organize a decent course, let alone make one that will have a lasting impression on students. Are you up to the challenge? Based on my years of experience in the classroom, here is a very brief guide to teaching your first college course. The advice is organized around the themes of first‐day issues, preparation, and balancing teaching and research.

The First Day

Maybe you are the type of individual who receives an offer to teach and begins preparing months ahead of time. If you are not this person, try to be. You will experience a noticeable increase in anxiety as the course changes from being weeks away to being days away. Assuming you have dealt with all the administrative issues, such as picking out a textbook and organizing a syllabus, your first challenge will be getting through the first day. There is no substitute for being organized and confident for that occasion. Being prepared means having a well‐detailed, understandable syllabus and a plan of action. Your first moments are important for setting the tone for the rest of the course.

You might not get through much material other than some introductions and a review of the syllabus. That is OK. There are two things I try to accomplish more than anything else on the first day: (1) impress upon the class how much I want to be there because I enjoy teaching and (2) demonstrate how dazzling the class will be for them. One thing I like to do is provide a glimpse into the future by selecting a few examples of the most intriguing topics and briefly exploring them. If you are successful, both you and your students will walk away from the first day feeling very positive about the course and excited for the rest of the semester.


We have all experienced good and bad teaching. Set your sights on being a good teacher while you are still early in your career. The best piece of advice I can give is, do not leave class preparation until the night before. As a graduate student, this might seem impossible, but make it a goal. The confidence and energy that comes with being prepared will lead to positive outcomes in the future.

Depending on class size, course content, and available technology, you will have to make choices about which strategies best fit your personality. Will you rely heavily on PowerPoint presentations? Or will you express a general bias toward minimalism? I suggest starting out simply, concentrating more on what you will be saying instead of spending time developing elaborate media presentations. In addition to impinging on your preparation time, you might find yourself depending too much on visual displays in class. An environment in which material is simply being read to the class often creates depressed, unfocused students.

Do not be afraid to borrow instructional styles from effective teachers from your past. A professor once told me your teaching style does not have to be completely invented by you. It is the combination of all the positive relationships with teachers you have had in the past. Think about these people and draw from them. Be sure to consult with others in your department who have taught the course in the past. They will prove an invaluable source for syllabus help, exam construction, and classroom activities.

Balancing Teaching and Research

Do not quit your day job! You are in graduate school to learn and do many things. Teaching might be one. At the same time, you are expected to be a productive researcher. All humans, including graduate students, face decisions about how to focus valuable time and energy. If you are fortunate enough to get the opportunity to teach a course in graduate school, you will wrestle with the trade‐off between teaching and research.

Do not focus all your time on teaching. It is easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of developing courses and finding new ways to engage students. If your teaching and research interests overlap, think about possibly combining the two. Students like to hear about the latest research, especially work that is coming from their own school. This way, your time spent doing good research can be parlayed into effective learning and discussion in the classroom.


If you have never taught before, how do you know you will love it and the class will too? Well, you do not know. But you are about to find out. If you are like me, you will want your initial attempt at teaching to be great and will not be happy if your students think the class is anything less than stellar. This is the only time in your life when you will be a “first‐time teacher.” Remember, nobody expects you to have a problem‐free semester, so do not expect this yourself. If things fail to go well the first time around, rest assured that they will only improve. The best way to have an effective and enjoyable semester is to plan ahead as much as possible. Students will get more out of the course and you will have less stress. Before you know it, your class will be thanking you for a great semester.

New Daycare Center

Good morning  – I wanted to share some good news we learned through WorkLife’s membership with the Great Start Collaborative. At our last meeting, it was announced that a new daycare center is opening in Hancock, Right Start UP. My understanding is that they are a non-profit, and the daycare is only the first step. I believe they are planning to expand services to include early childhood education as well.

They have a questionnaire for interested families to fill out, located here.

Please feel free to share this information with any who might be interested.

Ann Kitalong-Will

Call for Proposals: REF, PHF Mid-Career and Faculty Fellow

Submitted by: Natasha Chopp

The VPR office has released a request for proposals for the Research Excellence Fund, Portage Health Foundation Mid-Career, and Faculty Fellow Program. Please share this information those interested in pursuing any of these opportunities.

Research Excellence Fund Proposals

Proposals are being solicited for the Research Excellence Fund (REF) program, an internal award of the Office of the Vice President for Research.
Budgets are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 1 and proposals are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 8. Both must be submitted electronically per the guidelines.
For additional information, see Research Excellence Fund.
If you are interested in serving on an REF proposal review committee, email Natasha Chopp.
Portage Health Foundation Mid-Career
Proposals are being solicited for the Portage Health Foundation Mid-Career (PHF-MC) program, which is designed to support tenured faculty with an active NIH grant and/or consistent history of external funding with NIH or a related agency.
Budgets are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 1 and proposals are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, March 8. Both must be submitted electronically per the guidelines.
For additional Information, see Portage Health Foundation Research Awards.
Faculty Fellow
Applications are being solicited for the Faculty Fellow Program. The Faculty Fellow Program is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.
The Program expands familiarity with sponsored program administration and strategic planning among the faculty, develops leadership capacity among the faculty and improves sponsored programs administration and strategic planning through faculty input.
Applications are due no later than 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15 and must be submitted electronically per the guidelines.
For additional information, see Faculty Fellow Program.

Researcher’s success earning grants

Dear ECM Enthusiasts,
Rejection of proposals is hard, but…. you have at your disposal Michigan Tech’s Research Development team that can help to reduce rejections.  The article Granting Researches Success states:Many grant proposals are submitted without any kind of internal review. A new study suggests a major return on investment for institutions that help their researchers write better grants.  Read the full article here.
new study from Columbia University’s School of Nursing suggests that institutions benefit from helping researchers write better grants. Specifically, it found that pilot grant applications, that underwent an internal review, were twice as likely as non-reviewed applications to receive funding.

It’s “all about faculty engaging with their peers, being willing to obtain peer feedback and utilizing the services provided by an institution,”  said Nathan L. Vanderford, an assistant professor of toxicology and cancer biology at the University of Kentucky and assistant director for research at the campus’s Markey Cancer Center.

Adrienne R. Minerick, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Research & Innovation, College of Engineering
Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development
Professor, Chemical Engineering