The Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) elected Stacy Grooters, the executive director of Boston College’s Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), as its new president.
“I wouldn’t, in any way, feel ready to step into the presidency of the organization if I hadn’t had all of these years getting to learn from mentors and others in [POD] who I just have so much respect for,” Grooters said.
POD is the largest educational development organization in North America, and Grooters said it strives to increase the effectiveness of teaching at higher education institutions by providing professional consulting and training for teachers.
POD works with educational institutions to study curriculums and determine how effectively they educate students, while also working to ensure these institutions promote the well-being of their staff and students, Grooters said.
Grooters, who was elected in an internal vote within POD’s board of directors, said she will start her role as president in June, volunteering part-time in the position at POD in addition to serving as the CTE’s director.
“[POD supports] faculty, helping them get the resources and support they need so they can be the best teachers they can be,” Grooters said. “But it’s also about advocating at institutions to make sure that policies, structures, and resources are in place to help support the flourishing of education and teaching on the campus.”
Grooters said she has been a member of POD since 2006, when the organization offered her support and advice while she was the only on-campus educational developer at Stonehill College.
“POD was my community [and] where I went to brainstorm with people,” Grooters said. “At BC luckily the Center of Teaching Excellence is larger, so I have colleagues to turn to, but I still very much rely on the larger community for mentorship and advising as I think about my work.”
Grooters said that she became more involved with POD over the past few years. She eventually chaired its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the Awards Committee, which she said allowed her to contribute to POD’s advocacy for change and improvement.
Grooters has also served on POD’s board of directors twice, giving her in-depth experience on various POD committees that prepared her for her new role, she said.
“Being on the board was both satisfying for me in terms of just getting to contribute to the organization and in helping to shape its future and direction,” Grooters said.
She explained that her early work with POD, especially within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, had a large influence on her decision to run for president.
“One of the reasons I chose to go up for the [presidency] this year is that POD is currently in a moment where we’re doing some really deep and meaningful grappling with the question of what we want diversity, equity, and inclusion to mean in the organization,” Grooters said.
Now as the organization’s president, Grooters said she hopes to fulfill the organization’s core values of inclusion.
“I think it’s easy to kind of do the lip service and say that we’re really committed, but when it comes time to actually make change, that can be really hard,” Grooters said. “So I’m looking forward to the chance to help the organization figure out how to actually meet that challenge and hold itself accountable for the changes that we want to make.”
Featured Image Ben Schultz / Heights Staff