Leadership is not restricted to those in formal leadership positions. Rather, all faculty members in one way or another fill leadership roles and may eventually become formal leaders. Therefore, it’s important for them to develop their leadership abilities.
As an undergrad I had a hard time settling on a major so I sampled a lot of different courses during my first couple of years. I remember signing up for one course that looked perfect because it combined two of my interests — media and American politics. In addition to learning about the changing dynamics between the two from a historical perspective, I was excited to see how the professor would incorporate the current presidential election into the course.
We tend to think of interviews as processes that select suitable candidates for different jobs. But in many ways the purpose of interviews is to reject unsuitable candidates. After all, by the time a search reaches the stage of meeting a few finalists on campus, the institution is largely satisfied that everyone being interviewed is qualified for the job. The critical question now is, Which of these finalists is the best fit for the program and the institution?
Two researchers used end-of-course ratings data to generate a cohort of faculty whose ratings in the same course had significantly improved over a three-year period. They defined significant improvement as a 1.5-point increase on an 8-point scale. In this cohort, more than 50 percent of faculty had improved between 1.5 and 1.99 points, another 40 percent between 2.0 and 2.99 points, and the rest even more.
“Self-knowledge is the beginning of all knowledge,” writes C. Roland Christensen, one of the true masters of discussion teaching. He is referring to his development as a teacher—how he arrived at the techniques that made him so effective. Most teacher accounts of growth are not as instructive and insightful as this one. Best of all, the approach he used to develop his discussion leadership skills is one that can be used to develop many teaching skills.
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.
Part-time faculty make essential contributions to our programs. Their part-time status often limits their contact with other faculty and their knowledge about the program in which they are teaching. Program coordinators and directors often provide the only contact between the two, and so play a critical but challenging leadership role. However, coordinators may also tend to work in isolation from one another and may lack opportunities to share experiences and learn from one another.
Beginning college teachers benefit when they have an instructional mentor. That fact is well established; as is the fact that mentoring benefits those who mentor. The influx of new faculty over the past few years has caused mentoring programs to flourish. All kinds of activities have been proposed so that mentors and mentees can spend their time together profitably. Addressed less often are those instructional topics particularly beneficial for the experienced and less-experienced teachers to address. Here’s a list of possibilities.
Magna Publications, the leading provider of professional development resources for the higher education community, today issued a Call for Proposals for the 2011 Teaching Professor Conference to be held May 20-22 in Atlanta.