Center for Teaching and Learning launches Take a Faculty Member to Lunch program
Centre is famous for the way it promotes strong, close relationships between faculty and students, and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is working to strengthen this connection with a new program: Take a Faculty Member to Lunch.
In essence, the program subsidizes professor meals at Cowan for students who are interested in meeting with a professor outside of class. This setting is slightly more casual than an office or classroom and also helps students who have particularly busy schedules fit in time with their professors.
The new program furthers the CTL’s mission of encouraging conversation, experimentation and research that contribute to a dynamic academic community at Centre. Taking a faculty member to lunch is a way of continuing a particularly interesting conversation begun in class, getting to know professors better or simply exploring internship, research or post-graduate opportunities with an instructor.
“On any given day you can walk into Cowan and see faculty and students interacting, whether it’s while waiting for a sandwich or sitting at a table together,” says Sarah Lashley, director of the CTL and assistant professor of environmental studies. “We wanted to incentivize and encourage this kind of activity.”
Lashley is interested in promoting these types of personal, extended conversations between students and professors.
“For students, it’s an opportunity to ask questions about class content, to ask for academic and career guidance or to learn about the interests, research and pathways of their faculty,” she explains. “For faculty, it’s an opportunity to engage students in conversation about their future plans and to share their expertise and experience.”
Beyond facilitating conversations outside of the classroom, Lashley hopes the faculty lunches provide job training and real-world experience as well.
“It’s important that students practice mealtime conversations and etiquette,” she explains. “It’s vital that they feel confident interacting professionally with others—especially potential future employers—in a variety of settings, including over a meal.”
Lashley adds that students’ ability to pay for faculty lunches is an easy way for students to thank professors for their time and interest.
Interested students can pick up a Take a Faculty Member to Lunch voucher from the CTL during regular hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch, 12:00–1:00 p.m.). Students must present their ID to receive up to two vouchers, which are only valid at Cowan Dining Commons. The number of lunch vouchers available each term is limited—they will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
By Mariel Smith