Plenary Session at POD – Friday, October 28
Examining the Quality of Students’ Education from an Organizational Perspective
Dr. James Anderson, Chancellor, Fayetteville State University
Assumption: “Those people upstairs“ (college leadership) don’t understand what we (faculty developers) do, how hard we work, and how important it is…
Academic leaders need an evidence-based model, not an activity-based model – we as faculty developers must define a model of practice and show evidence of adoption of best practice.
Educational design should show alignment among all of:
- Institutional goals
- Division and department goals
- General education goals
- Course goals
- Co-curricular goals (also alliances with external entities)
How does faculty development in 2, 3, and 4 support 1 and 5? We must be able to describe how our faculty development efforts will enhance campus-wide initiatives. University priorities guide direction and resource support for faculty professional development.
If we want students to think critically (for example, within a philosophy major), then we must give practice in making and articulating arguments. We also must incorporate writing and speaking outcomes with critical thinking – how else can you know if students are thinking more critically? At the department level , we may make this change without additional resources.
Bigger issues involve more resources, larger concept maps, “panoramic view.”
- FSU developed sustainability program with city, utility company, chamber, and Ft. Bragg.
- NC State developed Inquiry-Guided Learning; three cognitive outcomes included critical thinking, active learning, and student responsibility for learning.
Discussing diversity (or any other topic!) as a scholarly activity requires that we:
- Provide an Intellectually compelling and conceptually sound model
- Incorporate research as a frame of reference
- Develop an assessment plan
- Generate a culture of evidence
- Present results for public scrutiny
- Promote organizational change and innovation.
Potential faculty development projects:
- Teaching for Retention and Diversity – see both student outcomes and support services. Poor grades in gateway courses has a relationship with diversity – check the demographics of students with poor grades.
- Technology transfer and diversity (including gender differences)
From the leader’s viewpoint, creating faculty stars (by providing resources to develop evidence-based models) has a multiplier effect for the institution.
Anderson sees entrepreneurship as a GLO/ILO – demonstrates by en entrepreneurial response to the rising cost of technology-enhanced learning, especially through Blackboard. FSU is also providing an entrepreneurship degree that is self-funded through a ventures competition, leadership institute, business incubator, veterans’ business center, and SBTDC.
Question: Does your college really provide a student-centered learning environment (as demonstrated by clear outcomes, front loaded engaging activities, ongoing assessment, well-trained faculty and staff)? Are less effective teachers paid the same as more effective teachers? If yes, what is the incentive for excellence? Anderson believes in “purposely creating inequities” and rewarding results with money and release time.
Another question: Is there differential performance among diverse students in foundation courses? If so, consider research on minority retention (Sedlacek) and assess not only academic, but also other outcomes.
Academic outcomes might include overall grades, course type grades, retention, grad rates, time to degree, changes in academic interest, and/or transfers to 4-year institutions. However, these account for only 30% of variance among students. Other outcomes account for 70% of variance: academic and social adjustments, attitudes toward learning, expectation for success, academic self esteem, utilization of supports, and other non-cognitive factors.
Takeaways: Anderson makes a strong case for an “evidence-based” culture – including funding (and pay?) based on evidence. CTE needs to assess and report change as a result of learning activities, not just the activities themselves.
To find/read: Learning Environment Preferences Survey (Perry scheme), CLA (College Learning Assessment), and Sedlacek research on minority retention.