college faculty development
The past 10 years have witnessed some massive growing pains in education. Nearly all aspects at all levels have been touched by efforts to reform in an attempt to create meaningful learning opportunities for today’s students. New tools, skills, approaches, and media have redefined the way we create those experiences, and educators who don’t learn and engage in them will see themselves become increasingly irrelevant. In short, faculty development now more than ever is necessary to an institution’s viability.
Your institution may have department meetings and may even have communities of practice, but does it have faculty learning communities (FLCs)? An effective FLC can positively impact its members’ engagement in and involvement with both their discipline and their institution.
The well-known three-legged stool of academic life—teaching, research, and service—has been assumed to cover the main responsibilities of faculty in academic communities. But is there a missing leg that would add strength and stability to the stool? I propose there is. It’s professional faculty development, and I would also propose that faculty committed to teaching should be its most articulate advocates.
Last week somebody asked about my goals for this blog. I gave a rather generic answer and realized I hadn’t thought about goals since we first started the blog.
It’s an issue many colleges and universities are facing today: How do you expand research capacity while still preserving an institution’s traditional emphasis on effective teaching? How is it possible to improve your reputation in one of these areas without abandoning your reputation in the other? How can you expand your mission in an environment of increasingly strained budgets, greater competition among institutions (including public, private, for-profit, and virtual universities), and rigorous accountability? And how do you balance the expectation of so many legislatures and governing boards that you demonstrate student success with their simultaneous expectation that you obtain more and more external funding from sponsored research and the frequent pursuit of grants?
I’m just back from The Teaching Professor Conference. Part of what makes the event so successful is the way it confronts faculty with how much there is to learn about teaching and learning, and how much of that learning can be achieved by working with one another. Each year I am inspired by the insights participants bring to the conference and share freely with others.
Professional development is essential for maintaining and developing the skills of higher education employees. Beyond educating students, colleges also have to keep faculty and administrators continually updated with the latest technology, changes in enrollment characteristics, and larger societal issue so that they can help students be more successful.
I’ve been reading pedagogical literature for a long time and so I don’t often come upon a topic I haven’t seen before. But this week I came across one — it was an article on conversation in an international faculty development journal.
Editor’s Note: In yesterday’s article, the authors introduced steps for overcoming some of the administrative challenges when working with part-time faculty. Here, in part two of the article, they outline strategies for overcoming some of the pedagogical challenges.
Academic leaders can have a tremendous effect on faculty satisfaction and productivity. Part of the responsibility of being an academic leader is to provide appropriate guidelines and support to foster faculty productivity throughout their careers, says Susan Robison, a psychology professor at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In an interview with Academic Leader, she offered the following advice on how to support faculty: