Service

INFO
photo by Cydney Scott

Service is expected of all faculty members, and it should be balanced with the other things that you do. Whenever possible, service should provide collateral benefits for professional development. The descriptions below highlight some of these collateral benefits.

A few words of advice: If you feel that you are being asked to do too much, seek advice before agreeing to take on another responsibility. If you already suspect that your scholarly or creative output is suffering because of your service activities, then that is almost certainly true. Conversely, if you feel that you have time and energy to contribute to service but no one has asked, make opportunities for yourself using some of the suggestions below, or talk with your Chair or mentor.

Opportunities within your school or college: Serving on dissertation committees is a way to be a steward of your discipline and can bring you into collegial contact with other faculty across your school or field. Serving as the director of graduate studies for your department brings you into contact with the best and the brightest among the graduate students. Serving on school-wide curriculum and planning committees helps you make connections outside your own department among those who will eventually decide on your suitability for promotion, or who may become collaborators on other projects. Serving on search committees allows you to shape the future of your department or school and think strategically about your unit.

University-wide service: Representing your school or college on the Faculty Council brings you into contact with colleagues across Boston University and gives you a voice in representing the faculty in discussions with the administration. Serving on a Faculty Council committee accomplishes the same purpose but allows you to work in a focused area of interest and does not require election to the Faculty Council. Numerous University-wide committees and task forces are formed, do their work, and are dissolved – let your Chair and Dean know if you are interested in this kind of service to contribute to University initiatives and build relationships with colleagues in other schools.

Reviewing and editorial work in your discipline: If your discipline includes academic journals, juried competitions, or competitive funding opportunities, agreeing to serve as a reviewer is an excellent way to become familiar with the cutting-edge work in your field and provides evidence that your reputation as an expert in your discipline extends beyond Boston University. Participating in a critical discussion of the work of others may be the stimulus you need to improve the quality and scope of your own work.

Professional organizations and meetings: Many professional organizations are eager for faculty to volunteer to work on initiatives and plan meetings. Volunteer to organize a plenary session at a conference and you will likely create a speaking opportunity for yourself and have a ready way to interact with leaders in your field.