Nine Steps to Support Faculty

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Volume 6 Issue 10: June 25, 2018

The Center for Innovative Learning and Teaching (CILT) was established at the beginning of this year to fulfill the goals of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. As Director of the CILT, Dr. Jim O’Connor, Professor and Founding Dean Emeritus of the College of Education and Health Sciences, has put a series of nine steps into motion that will achieve the center’s goal of providing support for new and current faculty. To meet the vision of the Strategic Plan, for which Dr. O’Connor was Committee Chair, CILT support will especially help those who come with primarily clinical experience to develop and increase their understanding of pedagogy. By working to create a critical mass of faculty who have upgraded their knowledge of student education, the Center for Innovative Learning and Teaching is laying down the pathways for TUC’s growth and improvement.

1. Perform a Campus Needs Assessment Report

The first step of the CILT has been to engage in a listening tour across TUC and TUN to learn and assess the unique pedagogical needs of each academic program. The tour has also gathered insight from other universities, including UC Berkeley, Sonoma State, and San Francisco State, to gain an appreciation for their scopes of work. The needs assessment is nearing completion, having been conducted from January to July 1st of this year.

2. Establish the Center Advisory Committee

The CILT is also establishing an advisory committee composed of faculty across TUC’s programs, ensuring that all programs receive representation.

3. Develop a Center for Innovative Learning Website

The Center is in the process of developing a new website to provide ideas, expertise, and evidence-based best practices for higher education. The site will help faculty to develop strategies for designing classes with best practices for teaching and assessments, all focused on improving the quality of student learning.

4. Mentoring and Resources for New Faculty

A wealth of pedagogical resources will be made available to TUC’s new faculty, including direct mentoring, ensuring that those who come from the medical world are able to fully apply their knowledge to leading the classroom.

“We want faculty to feel welcomed and unthreatened to come to us to improve their teaching and get feedback on ideas they might try,” says Dr. O’Connor.

5. Effective Peer Formative Evaluations

The CILT will support annual, mandatory peer observation, providing faculty the opportunity to observe and provide feedback to their peers on how teaching can be improved. With a focus on effective peer formative evaluations, faculty can learn how to give the best feedback to improve student learning outcomes.

6. Collect Course Syllabi Electronically

In the move from paper to electronic syllabi, gathering syllabi across programs will identify objectives and ensure that important pedagogical elements are not overlooked.

“The more active students are engaged, the more likely they are to be motivated rather than passive receptors of information,” says Dr. O’Connor. “You do this by giving them choices on how to demonstrate their knowledge and ensuring that students feel connected with other students.”

7. Pedagogically Support Interprofessional Education Across Campus

By collecting and offering pedagogical information, the CILT will support leadership for the campus interprofessional education initiatives that already take place across TUC’s programs.

8. Oversee and Support the Campus Transition from BlackBoard to Canvas

In the shift from one student learning platform to another, The Center is seizing the opportunity to improve quality of faculty pedagogy, helping learning become more active and discussion-based while reducing the reliance on lecture and Powerpoint. The Center also encourages students to watch videos of lectures beforehand so that discussion and clarifications can be made in class.

9. The Implementation of Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Courses in Effective Teaching Practices for Faculty

Through Canvas, faculty can enroll into a 29-unit program, culminating in a Certificate of in Effective College Instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices prepares college educators to implement all of the essential practices shown to improve student outcomes.

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