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Faculty Council launches Ask Me, I Care initiative

August 20, 2014

New Faculty Council initiative designed to increase interaction between faculty and students beginning at Ram Welcome.

Faculty and administrators greeting parents and students during Ram Welcome this year have a new way to start a conversation. Buttons that invite students to “Ask Me, I Care” will be seen on lapels across campus.

“They’re designed to be an ice-breaker, to increase interaction between faculty and students,” said Mary Stromberger, associate professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences and the new Chair of Faculty Council. “We want students to feel comfortable talking to their teachers, to feel that CSU is their home.”

Stromberger said the “Ask Me, I Care” initiative grew out of a Faculty Council retreat at the end of June, where University Distinguished Teaching Scholar Stephanie Clemons, Chair of the Committee on Teaching and Learning, pointed out that while new students might be hesitant to start a conversation with a professor, many academics are naturally introverted and equally reluctant to reach out.

“The lightbulb just went off for me when she said that,” Stromberger said. “We came up with the buttons as a way to spread the message that faculty care about our students and want to be engaged with them.”

Ready for Ram Welcome

Stromberger and Clemons took the idea to Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Kathleen Pickering, who endorsed the idea of having the buttons ready for Ram Welcome.

Five hundred buttons in three different designs were distributed the week before classes started; an additional 500 will be provided to department representatives at the Sept. 2 Faculty Council meeting to take back to their units. One third of the buttons can be worn by non-faculty members of the Ram family as well.

“We hope faculty, especially those teaching freshman classes, will wear them for the first few weeks of class, and ideally all year, so students get the message right off the bat that the faculty are concerned about them and want them to succeed,” Stromberger said.

The We Care campaign will continue throughout the year as part of Stromberger’s desire to make the Faculty Council more proactive and engaged in student success at CSU.

If you would like a button, contact Stromberger via email or phone at 491-1942.