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Working with Faculty

Faculty members at Illinois State University have multiple responsibilities. The three pillars of tenure-track faculty position are: teaching, service, and research. A faculty member teaching a full course load teaches 9 credit hours (usually 3 classes in a semester). Faculty are expected to conduct research, publish journal articles or book chapters, and present through national and international associations to advance their field of study. Finally, faculty are expected provide service to the University in the form of administrative tasks/projects and serving on committees or with professional associations. Non-tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, instructional professors, or other staff serving in a teaching role may not be expected to participate in research or service, but may have other administrative duties required in their position.

Most faculty are on a nine-month contract which means they work mid-August to mid-May. They do not have a traditional work schedule; rather they have a significant amount of flexibility regarding when they work. Faculty work more than full-time, including evenings, weekends and over breaks, including summer. A faculty schedule is guided by the academic calendar (when classes are in session) meaning that often community partnerships/projects are also expected to conform to the academic calendar. Illinois State University does offer summer classes; but many of those are online or in an accelerated format e.g. three or four weeks.


The relationship between the faculty member and the community partner is key to the success of any community engagement experience. Communication between faculty and community partners should occur before, during, and after the students' experience.

Community organizations and faculty should have equal voice in the design of the experience. Clear expectations should be laid out for all parties as well as a plan to maintain open and continuous contact throughout the relationship.

Clear communication can proactively avoid problems and resolve issues quickly should they arise. The mode and frequency of communication should be determined prior to service and laid out in the expectations. Emails, phone calls, faculty site visits, or meetings are all acceptable modes of communication.

Faculty may want to conduct a midpoint evaluation to address any issues or concerns and to keep the project on track.