Taking on new challenges is nothing new for Distinguished Service Professor of Education Dennis Showers. Over his 31-year career at Geneseo, he has served in numerous leadership roles for SUNY, the college, the Ella Cline Shear School of Education and the local community. Now, he can add one more to the list, having been named Faculty Fellow by Provost Stacey Robertson.
Robertson first announced the new Faculty Fellow Program in early October. The professional and leadership development opportunity allows a full-time, tenured faculty member or lecturer to work closely with the provost and the academic affairs team on strategic initiatives, primarily those focused on the creation of new programs that draw on the college’s strengths across the disciplines.
The half-time position, which carries an adjustment to teaching load, offers the opportunity for developing advanced academic leadership skills; increased knowledge of higher education processes (“What happens behind the curtain,” says Robertson); a robust and widespread network of colleagues across the campus and region; and a completed project that contributes to the success of the Geneseo.
“Dennis is spectacularly well placed to provide outstanding leadership around academic program development,” Robertson said. “We are so fortunate to have such a skilled, wise, creative new partner in the provost’s office.”
Showers’ appointment begins in January and is expected to run through summer 2018 with the possibility of extension through spring 2019. “I am excited to be joining the provost’s office in a capacity where I can use my experience and knowledge in key academic projects that also provide me opportunities to grow and develop professionally,” he said.
With more than 40 years of teaching and administrative experience at public high schools, Penn State University and Geneseo, Showers sees the Faculty Fellow role as a strong fit. “Curriculum is my life’s work,” he said, “and I look forward to sharing my background, skills and personal relationships to be effective in this endeavor.”
In addition to his many contributions in the classroom, he has also served the college in multiple ways, including seven years as presiding officer of the faculty chairing College Senate. He brings a successful record of national- and state-funded grant activities totaling more than $1.6 million, and currently serves as co-principal investigator for the National Science Foundation Noyce Scholarship Program, which addresses the STEM need for high school physics teachers.
A science educator and world traveler, Showers has pursued innovative models for interdisciplinary and inter-institutional programming, most recently helping to set up the student teaching experience in Thailand that will begin in spring 2018. Last summer, he spent several weeks in Beijing training Chinese teachers in interdisciplinary approaches to instruction.
Among his honors and awards, Showers held the Dr. Spenser J. Roemer Supported Professorship (2103-2016), and was recognized with the Fred and Joan Brown Family Faculty Incentive Award for his service in developing new teachers in the Ella Cline Shear School of Education (2008), the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service (2005) and the Xerox Center for Multicultural Teacher Education Award of Excellence (2004).
Showers earned a bachelor of science and Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University, and a master’s of education from Clarion State College.
— By Tony Hoppa