Faculty Portfolio:  Professor Edie Gaythwaite


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Educational & Professional Background

Individual Learning Plan

Learning Outcome One

Learning Outcome Two

Learning Outcome Three

2 Year Reflection

Student Speeches


Dr. Edie Gaythwaite’s
2 Year Reflection

“Arriving at one point is the starting point to another”
- John Dewey

As I began to prepare my portfolio, I started reflecting on the past two years and thought it would be a good time to write down a few of my thoughts to share with you. It seems like yesterday when I walked onto the East campus to begin my journey through the tenure process. My first semester was a whirlwind as I was juggling with TLA seminars, teaching classes, working on the Master Course Shell for SPC1600 and becoming familiar with my new responsibilities. I remember feeling welcomed by everyone I met especially Della Paul, Denise Bell and Carmen Perez, and this made me very happy. I was also thrilled with the location of my office and being surrounded by friendly, helpful hallway mates.

Walking around meeting people during the first Welcome Back event in August 2007, I thought about all the things I wanted to accomplish and all the committees I wanted to be a part of. I remember being protected on that day by my TLA facilitators; Helen Clarke and Celine Kavalec-Miller.  I was suffering from the very common new teacher syndrome of wanting to “save the world” or at least be a part of the change. Thankfully, Helen and Celine were on hand to rescue me from myself.  Due to a hurricane, whose name I do not recall, the traditional welcome back day of 2008, was cancelled. However, Dr. Prather and Dr. Shugart did update the college on some of the happenings later in the term.

Then there was Learning Day, 2008. I thought how cool is this?! I learned a few new ways to manage group work and assessments. I also had a chance to play with some clay that turned into a bowl or something resembling a bowl or dish. (Okay, some fired piece of clay that was painted!) I had my vitals checked and was rewarded with free toothpaste and a mini-massage. What a day!

Learning Day 2009, was just as cool. I jumped for joy when I saw IRB certification on the agenda. I had been trying to get recertified for a year and finally, the stars were aligned and on my side. Next on the agenda was Harry Potter. Oh my, I could not pass up an opportunity to talk about the Harry Potter series with other enthusiasts. After all I spent an entire weekend making a quilt while listening to the final book (yea, okay you may consider that cheating but I say it is the productive way of reading a book) . The seminar did not disappoint and I even developed a teaching activity around the Harry Potter main characters after attending the seminar. A magical time for this muggle!

I learned a great deal about the tenure process during the first year. At times, I thought the ILP, the LO, the Essential Competencies and all the vernacular was going to cause my brain to explode but eventually it all came together. I am fortunate to be a part of the Class of 2010 or what I like to call "my cohort". The TLA seminars brought us together as individuals but the learning environment created by the TLA staff allowed for comradeship. TLA was a safe place to express ideas. Having the opportunity to learn beside a group of professionals who truly enjoy teaching and learning is, like the MasterCard commercial, priceless!

The tenure portfolio is "not a dissertation". Okay, maybe it is more like a thesis. Either way, it can be taxing. If someone were to ask me to make a Top 10 list to share with future tenure candidates, my pearls of wisdom (in no particular order) would be:  

  1. Keep all of your TLA handouts, notes and take the time to read those books you are offered. Trust me, when you start writing your ILP and creating your portfolio, you’ll be glad you did.
  2. When you attend a seminar, try to think about your LO’s, discipline or teaching in relationship to what the facilitator is teaching. Make notes and refer back to them. If possible, try one of the techniques you learned following the seminar in your class as soon as possible. This may help you articulate a LO method.
  3. Ask questions to colleagues, students, and even yourself. Questions help you formulate your LO’s. Your ideas may change as you learn more and talk to others but it is good to gain others' perspectives.
  4. Be a good listener. There is a lot of experience among your classmates and facilitators. Your students are directly impacted by your choices and their feedback can be insightful and creative.
  5. Share your ideas even when you do not know anything about the other person’s discipline. Your ideas apply.
  6. Seek help when needed. First, it makes the facilitators feel needed! Actually, the facilitators are similar to a lifesaver. They make you feel good and help you out of harm’s way so you can traverse the sometimes raging waters with ease and efficiency. Second, find the appropriate source to help you with your unique situation. It has been my experience that people enjoy helping you succeed.
  7. Build a social network with your class of members. It is great to share the experience with someone who is going through it with you. Brainstorm ideas together and show each other support. You will value the reciprocity.
  8. Don’t restrict your learning to the required TLA seminars. Think ahead on what other skills you may need to have in order to carry-out a learning outcome.
  9. Stay organized and journal your thoughts as you implement your ILP. This will help you when organizing and writing your portfolio.
  10. Say please and thank you, but above all have fun!

For me, the tenure process allowed me an opportunity to extend my area of research interest. I was able to approach the ILP and all learning outcomes from a social-cognitive perspective, specifically investigating or producing tools to advance self-regulation.

I did not arrive at this point alone. I owe a great deal of gratitude to many colleagues who helped me along the way. I want to thank my Dean, Della Paul, for supporting me every day in every way. I would like to thank my other committee members: Suzette Dohany, Kurt Overhiser and Bill Gombash for their support given to me throughout the tenure process. Michael McGuire and Rey Ortiz at the Valencia studio for always making my students feel relaxed in front of the camera. To my nephew, Daniel Cutler, for operating the studio camera and spending one of his spring break days from Louisiana State University Alexandria to help out his aunt. A big thank you goes out to Nemir Matos-Cintron for preparing the videos and teaching me SoftChalk in preparation for disseminating the video content. Thanks to all members of the Class of 2010 especially Marcele Cohen and to Barbara Walls for being knowledgeable and interesting. Where would I be without the TLA facilitators and the TLA staff, particularly Helen Clarke and Celine Kavalec-Miller.  I’ll be forever indebted to my "fighting Gator" sister, Lynece Cutler, who manages to home school and find time to learn, by reading the manuals to use all the software programs necessary to design Web sites. She did a fabulous job creating my Web page and working with me to get it up and running. I could not have done the electronic portfolio without her!

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