By Naidelly Coelho News Editor
The Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, Scholarship, and Service (CELTSS) has funded faculty and librarian research, professional development and mentoring since 2007.
Education Professor and CELTSS Director May Hara said the center provides “extra support to faculty who are looking to get tenure and those who have been at FSU for a while and just need professional development.
“My position is designed to evaluate what faculty want and need for development and to arrange different opportunities for them to get that development,” she said.
History Department Chair and CELTSS Assistant Director Maria Bollettino said CELTSS supports faculty and librarians as they engage in scholarship, enhance their pedagogy, and become more effective advisors.
“It's not just we provide opportunities for mutual support and conversation around advancing one's practice, but we also provide funding for faculty and librarians to present their original research or their creative work,” she said.
CELTSS is overseen by the Office of Academic Affairs, which allocates money to CELTSS and that is distributed to faculty and librarians, Bollettino said.
Hara said faculty and librarians have to apply for the grants. There are three rounds of funding and the Funding Committee reviews each proposal. This happens three times per academic year.
Bollettino said, “One of our main functions is to provide [grants] and these are competitive grants. You don't just get them - faculty and librarians have to apply for these grants.
“We do want to fund the scholarly and creative work of faculty and librarians because faculty and librarians who are current in their fields are better instructors of students, and can better acquaint students with the cutting edge of disciplines, she added.
Bollettino said in the steering committees, there are representatives from every department, including the library and Education Technology Office.
CELTSS subcommittees include the Funding Committee, Scholarship Committee, Event Committee, Advising, Mentoring, External Committee, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, according to Framingham State’s website.
Funding is available in several categories: course release, conducting research and creative work, presenting research and creative work, teaching and learning, and attendance at conferences or other professional workshops, according to the website.
After the CELTSS Funding Subcommittee evaluates the proposals, all requests must be approved by the Office of Academic Affairs.
According to FSU’s website, each individual may receive up to a $1,500 maximum award, in each category, in each funding round.
Applications are found on the Framingham State website and deadlines are ordinarily in October, early December, and early March.
Communication, Media, and Performance Professor Audrey Kali said she is “thankful” for CELTSS as she has received many grants from the center.
She said the first grant she was awarded was an “Innovation in Teaching” grant that supplied her with a MacBook Pro to record students when delivering oral presentations.
Kali said she also went to Washington D.C. for her animal research and she received a grant from CELTSS to be able to travel.
She said many students are surprised when she talks about all the research she has conducted before.
Her most recent grant allowed her to conduct research on “The rhetoric of pesticide companies, and how they persuade people to use pesticides - hurting sustainability and biodiversity and the importance of insects on our planet.”
Through this grant, she was able to travel to North Carolina to speak with an entomologist and gather information for her research.
“What surprised me over the years is that I would often ask students what they think the role of faculty is on campus, and they would just say, ‘Teach,’” Kali said.
CELTSS also provides mentoring to faculty and librarians. Cara Pina, biology professor and CELTSS director of mentoring, said she usually has professional development days planned throughout the year that faculty can attend.
She said a survey that is conducted every year allows faculty and librarians to express their opinions on what they need from the center.
Cara said, “We try to have one per month, and so there's a pretty standard schedule for when it happens. But there are different topics depending on what exactly we're doing.
“For example, if we are having a panel of faculty, you talk about something that they happen to be an expert in, and we'll ask the panelists when is a good time, where you can all meet, and then we'll schedule the event then,” she said.
Cara said there is no individual mentoring taking place at the moment because there have not been any requests.
In the past, “We've had opportunities for people to sign up and say that they want individual mentoring and then we've had individual mentoring for them,” she said.
In the Spring semester, there is a “creative poster session” at which students have the opportunity to present their creative projects and research.
Bollettino said CELTSS organizes the student research and creative practice conference which happens every May.
“This opportunity is for students who have engaged in their research over the year to present that research to one another, to the larger Framingham State community, to the larger MetroWest community,” Bollettino said.
Domenic Scalzi, a junior, said this program is a great asset for professors because “professors should be able to provide students with the best education they can give.
“I did not know CELTSS was a thing - it’s a great thing,” he added.
Sarah Silva, a freshman, said she didn’t know about the opportunity students have to show their work.
“I look forward to being able to show my projects to everyone at some point.”
Kali said, “The quality of our University depends on the quality of our faculty. “
For more information about CELTSS, visit framingham.edu/centers-and-institutes/celtss