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Action Project: Develop a Teaching and Learning Center for Faculty and Staff

Charge and Members

Action Project Team

Barb Kunkle, Cathy Mullins, Carol Sexton, Steve Rader, Jeff Bauer, Sam Coppoletti, Pete Duncan, Chris Nourse, Xiaodan Huang, George Trampe, Gayle Massie, Linda Nickel, Teresa Redoutey, Mary Tomlin, Djwana Spradlin

Charge to the Team

The goal of this project is to increase the opportunities for professional development for faculty and staff. Secondary goals include:

  • all university employees will find ways to enhance student learning through their contact with students and
  • faculty will adopt successful teaching strategies in their classrooms that are suited for their approach and their student's learning styles.

Much of the success of this project will be dependent upon effective and timely communication with faculty and staff to determine needs, plan programs and implement professional development activities.

The "Teaching and Learning Center" Action Project Team is composed of the existing University-wide Personnel Development Committee and several additional individuals and is charged with implementing this AQIP project over the next six months. A copy of the project description that was submitted to AQIP is attached for additional background information.

The Action Project Team is responsible for:

  • Finalizing the proposal for a Teaching and Learning Center which is currently in draft form and will be submitted to the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees. This step includes approval by campus constituency groups.

  • Planning for and beginning implementation of the SSU Teaching and Learning Center for fall 2006.

  • Communicating regularly with appropriate campus groups concerning AQIP Action Project #4.
    1. preparing information for campus-wide review,
    2. updating the Strategic Planning Committee on Action Team #4 progress,
    3. coordinating and meeting with the Director of Institutional Planning and other Action Project Team leaders, and
    4. obtaining input from campus offices involved in professional development and training.

  • Establishing the link between the Teaching and Learning Center and data-driven decision making. This should place a high priority on improving and documenting student learning.

  • Reporting on project progress and outcomes, including:
    1. minutes of all meetings, hearings, focus groups, etc.,
    2. preparation of a final report at the end of the project to be submitted to the Strategic Planning Committee,
    3. assistance in preparing annual AQIP updates, and
    4. participation in building the Shawnee State AQIP Systems Portfolio

Timeline

2006

January Finalize the proposal for the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning for approval by campus constituency groups and submission to the Board of Trustees
February–March March: Submission of preliminary recommendations for review by President, Cabinet, and Strategic Planning Committee
March–April Begin detailed planning for the Center's implementation including details of staffing, structure, and organization. Attention should be given to data collection regarding personnel development needs, programs, and outcomes
April Presentation to the Board of Trustees for approval of the Center, see Board Policy 2.09, attached.
April–May Preparation of physical location of the Center
June–August Preparation of Center structure, procedures, and first year plans
September Official opening of Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning
September–November Implementation of
December Completion of project with reporting to campus and AQIP

Project Description

Institution: Shawnee State University
Submitted: 2005-12-19

Timeline:

Planned project kickoff date: January 6, 2006
Target completion date: December 15, 2006
Actual completion date:

A. Give this Action Project a short title in 10 words or fewer:

Develop a Teaching and Learning Center for Faculty and Staff

B. Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:

The goal of this project is to increase the opportunities for professional development for faculty and staff. Secondary goals include:

  • all university employees will find ways to enhance student learning through their contact with students and
  • faculty will adopt successful teaching strategies in their classrooms that are suited for their approach and their student's learning styles.

Much of the success of this project will be dependent upon effective and timely communication with faculty and staff to determine needs, plan programs and implement professional development activities.

C. Identify the single AQIP Category which the Action Project will most affect or impact:

Category 1: Helping Students Learn

D. Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:

An active faculty development process that has utilized Faculty Learning Communities has demonstrated the potential of a Teaching and Learning Center that reaches all employees. Numerous groups had elements of this proposal in their Conversation Day ideas.

E. List the organizational areas - institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units - most affected by or involved in this Action Project:

The groups on campus most affected by and involved in this Action Project will be the Office of Human Resources, the Provost's Office and the Faculty Development Committee, and the Deans' Offices for the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

F. Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:

This project will require effective communication with all segments of campus to identify professional development needs, inform the campus about professional development opportunities, and assess the effectiveness of professional development and staff training activity. The project will also require planning to coordinate the activities of a Teaching and Learning Center with all groups on campus.

G. Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion):

This project will attempt to build on work that has been done creating faculty learning communities and other professional development opportunities for faculty and staff. The goal of creating a Teaching and Learning Center will require much discussion from all groups across campus, careful design to assure support and success, and planning for implementation and monitoring the Center. It is anticipated that much of the planning and discussion can occur during the winter and spring quarters with a proposal for the Center coming forward in late spring or early fall.

H. Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing:

An Action Project Team of 6-8 members will be formed to provide the detailed planning, implementation, and assessment of the Scheduling Action Project. The university's Strategic Planning Committee will provide an oversight and coordination role with the Action Projects. Administrative responsibility for monitoring and assisting the Action Project progress will be with the Associate Provost/Director of Institutional Planning.

I. Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals:

  1. Faculty and staff satisfaction surveys concerning support for professional development. We have baseline data from the Vital Focus Survey completed in February 2005.
  2. Number and percentage of employees that participate in faculty/staff development activities.
  3. Evaluations of faculty/staff development sessions.
  4. Increased student satisfaction in areas targeted with faculty/staff development initiatives (possible advising, financial aid, friendliness of campus, etc.)


J. Other information (e.g., publicity, sponsor or champion, etc.):

An institutional concern and need identified during the Vital Focus and Conversation Day was improved communication on campus. This project will consciously model good communications by regularly informing the campus community about progress through multiple communication approaches including, web postings, emails, newsletters, and reports to governance groups (faculty, administrators, staff and students). The project will also seek input from campus groups by a variety of means that may include surveys, focus groups, meetings with key individuals, open meetings, and requests for information.

Meeting Minutes

January 6, 2006

Members Present: Barbara Kunkle, Chair; Cathy Mullins, Carol Sexton, Steven Rader, Jeff Bauer, Sam Coppoletti, Pete Duncan, Chris Nourse, Xiaodan Huang, George Trampe, Gayle Massie, Teresa Redoutey.

Members Absent: Linda Nickel, Mary Tomlin, Djwana Spradlin

The Action Project Team convened at the invitation of President Morris at a Strategic Planning Committee meeting and Action Project kick-off event. The Project Team combines the membership of the University Personnel Development Committee, including the membership of the Faculty Affairs & Development Committee of the University Faculty Senate, with additional faculty recommended by the President.

Team members discussed the status of the project to create a Teaching and Learning Center, the charge to the committee, and plans for proceeding. Three task areas were tentatively agreed to in order to move the project forward in a timely manner:

  1. Work on needs assessment, to include questioning the various constituencies on development needs and gaining support through visits to governing bodies;
  2. Work on plans for the Center's structure, policies, procedures, and programming;
  3. Work on data, outcome measures, and assessments appropriate to the Center's programming.

Other points made in discussion that the team will include in their task areas include

  • Expanding needs assessment to include what constituencies are currently doing in professional development—with the operative question Who is doing What?
  • Including adjunct faculty in needs assessment and program planning
  • Developing a notebook or portfolio of relevant statistics on student learning and satisfaction and on faculty learning and satisfaction, to include appropriate assessment tools or instruments for the Center's programming.

January 13, 2006

Members Present: Barbara Kunkle, Chair; Cathy Mullins, Steven Rader, Jeff Bauer, Sam Coppoletti, Pete Duncan, Chris Nourse, Xiaodan Huang, George Trampe, Linda Nickel, Teresa Redoutey, Djwana Spradlin.

Members Absent: Gayle Massie, Carol Sexton

Guest: Dave Todt

Mary Tomlin has resigned from the committee.

The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Barbara Kunkle.
Discussion began on the team's charge, and how best to address the three task areas identified at the first meeting. It was determined that the team's first priority should be to conduct a needs assessment to find out what the campus thinks is needed.
Barb reviewed several handouts including the draft for the Center for Teaching and Learning and information from the Professional Organizational Development Network for Higher Education (POD).

Discussion resumed on how to collect large amounts of data to identify the needs for professional development on campus. Ideas discussed include;
the development of a survey instrument, re-examining the results of Constellation – Vital Focus and Conversation Day (Cathy Mullins will get a summary), and data on who is involved in Learning Communities on campus. Chris Nourse, Sam Coppoletti and Xiaodan Huang will develop a draft of a survey for needs assessment. Steve Rader, Pete Duncan, and Jeff Bauer will look at our comparative institutions (not just Ohio institutions) to gather information about teaching and learning centers/staff development at those colleges and universities.

Other points of discussion:

  • Team members discussed the true purpose of the Center and were reminded that the AQIP focus for this project is "helping students learn."
  • Questions were raised about the center becoming a campus-wide professional development center, broadening the definition of "teaching and learning."
  • Encouraging adjunct faculty participation was also discussed.

 Annual Update Report to AQIP

Note: The AQIP explanation of each question is italicized at the bottom of the question.

1. Describe the past year's accomplishments and the current status of this Action Project.

Although the importance of faculty and staff development was recognized before Shawnee State joined AQIP, the Vital Focus survey and Conversation Day used to begin the AQIP process highlighted the need for a more structured approach to faculty, and personnel, development. Active faculty learning communities associated with the Ohio Teaching Enhancement Program, interdepartmental development efforts, and an active University-Wide Personnel Development Committee, which had organized a successful workshop series lasting a full academic year, expressed the hope that a more structured approach to faculty and staff development could take place at Shawnee. In fact, several ad hoc committees were already working on development of a Teaching and Learning Center.

The AQIP Team appointed to move the project forward was expanded to include members of the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee along with several staff members interested in professional development to form the AQIP Action Project Team charged with proposing, creating and establishing a Shawnee State Teaching and Learning Center. Action Project Four on Developing a Teaching and Learning Center for Faculty and Staff at Shawnee State University has a large team of fifteen members (eight faculty and seven staff) who met monthly during the winter and spring quarters and once during the summer following the Action Project Kick-off event on January 6, 2006. In January, the team divided into three subcommittees: group 1 looked at other centers in Ohio and around the nation; group 2 developed an instrument for conducting needs assessment for faculty development; and group 3 looked at possible programming and an organizational plan for the new center.

Group 1 shared information about other centers with the whole team. The team discussed names and audiences for the proposed center based on what they were seeing on university websites. They agreed that the adding of the word "Learning" to center names was common and consonant with current educational paradigms. The team also noted that virtually none of the centers they observed included staff or other personnel in their audiences. The team agreed that including non-faculty in events and providing some staff training would work in Shawnee's culture, as long as the Center's commitment to excellence in teaching and learning remained the primary goal.

The needs assessment group (group 2) developed a variety of questions and questionnaires, one of which was chosen for distribution to faculty prior to the end of spring quarter.

The top three items of 42 development needs identified by faculty were:

  • Principles of effective teaching and learning
  • Adobe Software Packages
  • Academic advising and counseling skills

The assignment for the third group was the focus of the summer meeting on June 28:

At its meeting of June 28, the team formulated a recommendation that the existing University-Wide Personnel Committee become the TLC's Advisory Committee and that its members be invited to serve along with the Action Team until December 2006, when the team's charge should be completed. The team also recommended that the TLC and its Director would operate directly under the Office of the Provost. The Provost asked the team to email their response to his choice for a director for the TLC, thus involving team members in the selection process before the appointment was made in July. In addition, the team suggested specific workshops, several of which would be conducted by action team members themselves (Wellness Workshop as beginning of a series; a workshop specifically for adjuncts; a three-part workshop on grant-writing; Information Literacy workshops in partnership with the library; and a workshop on teaching the senior seminar paper). The team agreed that a series of workshops would complement the four or five faculty learning communities, meeting throughout the school year, being planned for 2006-2007.

The team as a whole devoted two meetings to discussing and revising the draft of the Center proposal before submitting it to the Provost in late March. The Board of Trustees approved the TLC Proposal and established the Center at its April meeting. Programming and selection of a Director were addressed in June, with the Director's appointment made in early July. As of August 2006 the space has been completed and implementation of TLC programming is underway. The three-room complex for the Center's Activities is a newly remodeled space comprising a conference/training room (for about 12 people), a secretary's office, and a spacious director's office. Fall programming in the new TLC has been planned and is being implemented beginning in September.

In December 2005, the Chair of the Action Team, with the help of several technology-minded colleagues and Shawnee State's Grants Officer (a member of the AQIP Action Team) applied for a grant from the Ohio Learning Network to become a Learning Community Regional Center for Southeast Ohio. The Proposal was successful and the newly established TLC is now working in partnership with OLN as the OLN Southeast Ohio Regional Center. The Regional Center will administer small grants for sister institutions to develop professional learning communities exploring the critical relationship between technology and increased learning within regional classrooms and will host several meetings and institutes at Shawnee State.

Describe concrete achievements: meetings, data gathered and analyzed, plans made or
implemented, changes in processes, and measured results. If you haven't made much
progress, explain why you think things are moving slower than planned.

2. Describe how the institution involved people in work on this Action Project.

With recommendation from the university-wide Budget and Academic Quality Improvement Planning Committee (BAQIP), the President appointed members of the Action Project Team and provided a charge and timeline for the project. Dr. Barbara Kunkle, faculty member in English/Humanities and Chair of the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee, agreed to Chair the Action Project Team. The original Team was expanded to incorporate members of the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee (a Faculty Senate Committee) and of the University-Wide Personnel Development Committee. Motivation for the expanded committee was twofold: first, it increased the number of potential stakeholders and, thus, supporters of the new Center; second, it made use of committees already charged with faculty or personnel development, thus making use of experienced people and avoiding possible alienation that could result from creating a whole new structure.

Minutes of team meetings have been placed on the institution's AQIP web pages to make them widely available. The Action Team members have met formally and informally with numerous individuals and groups on campus as they collected information and data about faculty and staff development needs. A faculty survey was conducted. Information from peer institutions was helpful in examining how other campus structure Teaching and Learning Centers. Team members working on Action Project Four on Developing a Teaching and Learning Center for Faculty and Staff at Shawnee State made regular reports on their progress at the monthly meetings of BAQIP.

In addition, the team has worked to involve a wide range of campus constituents in planning and projects of the new Teaching and Learning Center. The team has recruited talented faculty or staff, some not previously involved in development activities, to play active roles in Center activities. Specific examples include the following:

The University Faculty Senate was asked, and voted unanimously to fund, attendance of two faculty members to the annual POD (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education) on October 26. They will be asked to share what they learned with the Center's Advisory Board and Director. An extra benefit is the potential creation new faculty developers.

A professor of botany has consented to take a group of faculty and staff on a nature hike in the Hocking Hills in October. This activity will meet an important objective of the TLC—fostering collegiality, while it gives participants an opportunity to see how a colleague conducts fieldtrips for our students.

An action team member was asked to accompany a librarian to an OhioLink Symposium on August 24, 2006 and to share what they learned at a Brownbag Lunch in the new Center during fall quarter.

The action team's chair, now the Director of the TLC, attended an orientation for new faculty and staff in early September. New faculty were given the TLCs first newsletter and invited to join Shawneesians, the faculty learning community for early-service faculty. They were also invited to come to the new center for confidential help, to find a mentor, or simply to enjoy the company of colleagues.

The visibility of the TLC has undoubtedly benefited from its new partnership with the Ohio Learning Network. In fact, two front-page stories were devoted to the OLN regional center in the local newspaper. This attention is raising awareness of the Center and, hopefully, convincing faculty and staff that the Center is valuable to Shawnee State's Mission and to their own personal and professional goals.

AQIP wants Information about motivation and communication: how you kept this Project on the institution's priority list, how you maintained general awareness of the importance and progress of the Project, and how you kept those working on it directly active and motivated.

3. Describe your planned next steps for this Action Project.

The Faculty and Staff Development Action Project plans to oversee the implementation of the Teaching and Learning Center. The team has been charged with responsibility for monitoring the initial operation of the Center consistent with quality improvement methods of determining progress and success. Establishing and beginning the collection data on faculty and staff development and other Center Activities will be a major goal for the fall term. Developing assessment data on Center Activities will be important if we are to continue to address the needs of our constituents. The most serious challenge we will face will be assessing gains in student learning based on faculty do in the Center.

As we move the faculty learning community (FLC) program into the Center and more firmly into the core functioning and budgeting of the university, we need to firm up FLC objectives regarding teaching and learning. We need to move beyond achieving "good talk about good teaching" and good collegiality leading to an improved campus culture (both excellent objectives we are already achieving). Members of FLCs need to set more specific and achievable objectives for improving the learning environments of their students and then assess the gains they make as teachers and—more difficult—the gains their students make in quality or depth of learning. The same challenge applies to workshops, Brownbag Lunches, and other activities, although long-term change in quality of teaching or learning based on a one-time "inoculation" would be harder to achieve than work in more sustained arenas such as FLCs provide. If increased student learning is one of the measurements upon which the Center gauges its success, the assessment challenge is one that must be met.

In order to better address the assessment of FLC outcomes, the TLC Director and a colleague in journalism who studied one of our FLCs and developed an assessment tool as part of a graduate class, will apply for an Assessment Mini-Grant to refine the instrument and try it out on the current group of FLCs in Spring of 2007.

The Action Project is expected to be completed in December when all operational and management tasks of the Center are turned over to the Director and a campus advisory group.

Be specific about the next critical steps you are planning to move the Action Project ahead. If your planning is vague or there is no planning at this point, explain why.

4. Describe any "effective practice(s)" that resulted from your work on this Action Project.

This is an Action Project that achieved good results with the official creation of the Shawnee State University Teaching and Learning Center. Such a Center is common on university campuses. The unique aspect of this project is the use of an AQIP Action Project to create a new institutional structure that meets needs identified in the initial data gathering and analysis stages of AQIP participation.

The Center is building on work done by the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee and participants in faculty learning communities. The FLC program has thrived on our campus, with nearly one-third of the entire faculty participating in one or more group since 2001. The collegiality developed in these cross-disciplinary communities has inspired much collaboration—including team presentations at teaching and learning conferences; grant writing and implementation of development programs especially involving educational technology; improved teaching and learning; and the critical mass of interest that made the TLC a perceived need during the AQIP Conversation Day. Five years ago, a faculty member argued that FLCs would provide more "bang for the buck" than just about any other approach to faculty development. The prediction has proved to be true. Our faculty learning community program could be successfully adopted or adapted for other institutions.

With the technology grant from the Ohio Learning Network, the Center for Teaching and Learning is poised to make a regional contribution to faculty development in the area of technology use related to student learning. An innovative project related to the partnership with OLN but funded by Shawnee State University will be the creation of a multi-campus CyberTrek Faculty Learning Community. CyberTrek has been a popular FLC at Shawnee for several years providing knowledge and collegial support for technology use in the classroom. We plan to provide two southern Ohio schools with iMac computers set up to provide synchronous, real-time meetings with our peers.

Share practices (or processes, policies, procedures, or initiatives) that could be adopted or
adapted at other institutions. AQIP is most interested in practices that would give value
(better educational services, cost-savings, improved morale, more satisfied stakeholders, etc.) to another institution if they copied your innovation. If you believe that your work on this Project has little or no value for other institutions, explain why.

5. What challenges, if any, are you still facing in regards to this Action Project?

As mentioned above, the challenge of linking the operation of the Teaching and Learning Center to student learning will be difficult.

The team chair and a colleague are working on a survey instrument for measuring the success of the CyberTrek FLC, based on graduate work on FLCs the colleague had done. We expect to apply for an Assessment Mini-Grant and do this work January through December of 2007.

This is an opportunity to get constructive, actionable feedback and advice from our review process. Use this question to specify where your blocks, gaps, sticking points, or problems are. If you have already fashioned strategies to deal with any challenge you face, share both the challenge and your strategy for meeting it.

6. The optional question:

Regarding our assessment challenges: If you have resources that can help—and prevent us from 'reinventing the wheel,' we would appreciate the assistance. We have worked some with Classroom Assessment Techniques, are aware of the assessment instrument Milt Cox utilizes at Miami for FLCs, and have locally designed evaluation forms for workshops and events. We have a new Needs Assessment developed by members of the team that we have used already and expect to refine over time.

Approaches and instruments for measuring student learning gains based on a faculty member's development activities would be very helpful, as would approaches to measuring student, and faculty, satisfaction.

Contact: Dr. Barbara Kunkle, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center

Recommendations and Final Report

Proposal for the Shawnee State University
Teaching and Learning Center

I. Mission of the Center

The mission of the Teaching and Learning Center is to provide an enriched learning environment for development of faculty and staff in order to promote excellence in teaching and institutional service.

II. Goals of the Center

  • Foster excellence in teaching and learning
  • Provide resources and educational experiences on an ongoing basis to faculty and staff
  • Stimulate research and scholarship about teaching and learning at SSU
  • Align development and training needs explicitly with student learning and/or satisfaction
  • Increase collaboration and collegiality among faculty and staff
  • Provide leadership in the use of innovative technology as a resource for teaching and learning.
  • Assess the ongoing needs of faculty and staff, in terms of career enhancement as consistent with the SSU mission or strategic plan.

III. Administration of the Center

The Center will be staffed by a Director selected by the Provost in consultation with the Center Advisory Committee. The Director will report to the Provost, and will receive appropriate reassigned time from teaching in order to carry out the Center's functions. Clerical help will be provided commensurate with the level of activity as the Center grows. The Director may be removed by the Provost after consultation with the Center Advisory Committee, and returned to full faculty duties.

A. Center Advisory Committee

The University-Wide Personnel Development Committee will function as the Center Advisory Committee, assisting the Director with planning and advice for center operations, as well as campus-wide needs assessment.

B. Facilities and Budget

The University will provide appropriate office/work space as well as an operating budget, through the Office of the Provost. Equipment acquisition for enhanced teaching and learning will be coordinated through the Center. The Center will be expected to seek external grant funding to supplement its budget.

IV. Dissolution

The Provost may recommend dissolution of the Center effective the end of any regular academic term, with the approval of the President. The recommendation to dissolve the Center will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for appropriate action.

Background

This proposal to establish the Shawnee State University Teaching and Learning Center will provide formal recognition and the basis for continued growth of what is currently a successful but informally structured faculty development program.

The development of an "ambitious teaching and learning center to promote professional development among faculty and staff" has been identified as one of four Action Projects Shawnee State will undertake as part of our participation in AQIP, the Academic Quality Improvement Program that serves as the basis for our continued institutional accreditation.

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES SINCE 2000

Since 2000, a number of initiatives have sought to address the professional development needs of faculty, staff, and administrators at Shawnee. Efforts extending beyond the needs of single units, offices, or departments have been undertaken by the University-Wide Personnel Development Committee, the Faculty Affairs and Development Committee (UFS), and various ad hoc committees.

Faculty members have helped to train other faculty in technology use, leading to the appointment of a Director of Instructional Technologies to provide ongoing training in the Blackboard online course platform. Grants have provided training in new technologies, including Palm Pilots and the I Pods as instructional tools. Librarians have teamed with faculty to provide updated training in information literacy.

Invited to join the Ohio Teaching Enhancement Program (OTEP) by the Provost of Miami University in 2001, Provost Field asked Dr. Barbara Kunkle (Chair of the Faculty Development Committee) to participate on our behalf. This initiative has become the centerpiece of a faculty development program with ties to state, national, and even international programs. Beginning with a Faculty Learning Community for Early Service Faculty in 2001, Shawnee has expanded the program each year. During 2005-06, four faculty learning communities with a combined membership of some 35 faculty (more than 25 percent of the entire full-time faculty population) are engaged in a full year of bi-monthly seminar meetings to enhance their knowledge and skills for addressing the learning needs of our student population. In addition to an early service group, named "Shawneesians," the current FLCs include Cybertrek, which focuses on new technologies in higher education; GenEd FLC, which explores the changing meanings and cultural landscapes of general education; and the Women's Studies FLC, which explores particular issues affecting women as students and teachers in the university.

Other activities have included workshops for faculty and staff in areas such as the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Gender and Language, Sexual Harassment, and Diversity. Committees involved with faculty development have also brought experts to SSU to address training needs of faculty and staff. Carnegie scholar Craig Nelson lectured and conducted two intensive workshops about what teachers can do to help their students succeed. Organization guru Meggin McIntosh equipped faculty, staff, and administrators with the skills needed to "Keep Chaos at Bay" in our workspaces. Milt Cox (the "father" of the faculty learning community movement) came from Miami University to train faculty in developing a course mini-portfolio.

PLANNING

The plan for the Shawnee State University Teaching and Learning Center has been developed through consultation with the following groups and individuals: the Provost; an ad hoc committee of faculty and staff active in faculty development assigned by the University Faculty Senate to develop a proposal; members of faculty learning communities; the Associate Provost; members of the Strategic Planning Committee; AQIP Action Team #4. An important additional resource is a volume published by the POD Network (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education): A Guide to Faculty Development: Practical Advice, Examples, and Resources (2002), Ed. Kay Herr Gillespie.

RATIONALE

  1. The Center will enable faculty and staff to better address our mission to promote excellence in teaching and learning on our campus.
  2. An established structure allowing carefully targeted planning is consistent with the continuous improvement model embraced by AQIP, and will yield greater consistency and better focus on institutional goals.
  3. Shawnee is the only regional state university in Ohio currently without a faculty development center and a focused program of continuous training and development.
  4. There is widespread agreement among faculty and staff that a center is now needed as evidenced by support for the idea within the current AQIP process and by the recommendations of several ad hoc committees.
  5. Unlike K-12 educators, few higher education faculty members ever receive training in how to teach. Faculty members are experts in a discipline, but may or may not be expert at reaching today's undergraduate students in ways that will help them reach their potential.
  6. The rapidly expanding scholarship of teaching and learning is providing new knowledge about the different ways students learn, including at-risk students, and first-generation college students. A faculty development center will bring insights about improved methods of teaching drawn from this new research to our faculty.
  7. Research indicates that sustained development activities such as faculty learning communities produce a positive correlation to such factors as retention of new faculty, increased collegiality and esprit de corps, and reduction in feelings of isolation among participants.
  8. Sustained development activities such as faculty learning communities are cost-effective tools for broadening the teaching skills of faculty and keeping them abreast of new developments in higher education. Research documents positive impacts on student learning and retention when faculty members engage in sustained development activities such as those provided by faculty learning communities.
  9. Over time, the Teaching and Learning Center would be an investment not only in fulfilling Shawnee's mission, but in terms of the bottom line as new-faculty and student retention rates improve.
  10. Finally, studies reported by the POD Network (Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education) link improved student learning to the presence of an active center for teaching and learning.

Contact Information

Office of Institutional Effectiveness
Massie B-52
940 Second Street
Portsmouth, OH 45662

Phone: (740) 351-3688
Fax: (740) 351-3413

cshaffer@shawnee.edu

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