A “Spotlight-on-Faculty” Approach to Igniting Innovation and Supporting Innovative Hybrid, Blended and Online Course Models at Your University

Concurrent Session 7

Brief Abstract

Successful faculty development programs, flipped faculty development, faculty-centered/faculty-driven approached to supporting innovation, student-centered learning, design thinking, bottom-up inspiration vs. top-down mandates, cross-discipline collaboration, agile instructional design teams, a learning culture, transparency, sharing across departments and models, iterative cycle of innovation and development, cross-functional partnerships, faculty engagement, learning through mistakes, human-centered approaches to design, spotlight on faculty as driver, balancing efficiency/scale and creative expression, experiential learning, grass-roots vs. top-down driven change, human aspect of change management, organic and faculty-driven innovation and models, faculty and institutional narratives.


Sheryl Narahara Hathaway, PhD, is the Director, Instructional Technology Support Services, at California State University, Long Beach. Sheryl regularly consults with faculty, staff, administrators & students to find the best strategic blend of instructional technologies and methods to create dynamic and effective learning environments. She has presented her research nationally and internationally, as well as, published in the areas of performance improvement, educational technology and learning & development. In 2014, her presentation "Challenges and Best Practices in Support of Blended, Hybrid, Online and Technology-Enhanced Learning" was awarded the Online Learning Consortium's Best-in-Track for Institutional Leadership and Strategy. Her team recently was awarded the 2017 Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching for their Faculty Instructional Innovation Studio. Sheryl holds a B.S. in Community & Regional Development (University of California, Davis), a Masters in Education (San Francisco State University) and a PhD in Instructional Systems Technology (Indiana University.) Her professional interests are emerging technologies, media design, active and open learning. Her personal interests include oral history and folklore. She is the past Chair of the Instructional Design & Faculty Support (IDFS) Learning Community, whose UC system-wide membership addresses issues concerning the design | re-design of course content for multi-modal (digitally-infused | blended | online) delivery, as well as the challenges and methods of "best practice" faculty support.

Additional Authors

Therese DeSimone (MA, MBA) began her career as a K-8 Educator, interested in issues of gender and racial equality and ensuring success for all students regardless of economic background. Later, as an Instructional Designer for the largest critical-care nursing organization in the nation, she helped develop over 200 hours of self-paced and blended programming used in hundreds of hospitals nationwide. Currently, Therese enjoys serving as an Educational Consulting/Analyst to a variety of corporate clients, helping them design a blend of face-to-face and self-paced programs that engage learners and sharpen real-life skills. She regularly serves as an analyst and consultant to various educational institutions.

Extended Abstract

Explore how the matrixed “Flipped Faculty Engagement’ Team at UC Riverside built a successful faculty development program by positioning the faculty (not instructional design team) at the center and celebrating/showcasing innovating instructors and TAs.

Over a year, the presenter and her team connected instructors and TAs to each other, provided a vibrant community around which to engage and share ideas, and inspired some of the most innovative learning models seen on campus. A growing, campus-wide conversation and community of practice emerged and it has become a driving engine in the university meeting its strategic and long-term goals. Presenter shares how her team at UC Riverside built a successful faculty development program by positioning the faculty at the center of it, with innovating instructors and TAs as the focus and her team serving more of a support and consultative role.

Participants will emerge with an appreciation for how to harness the power of emotional and human impulses to create success; how to create lasting support for innovation by centering on, honoring and spotlighting faculty already doing amazing things and by tapping into most faculty member’s innate curiosity for what their peers are doing –both within and beyond their particular department – and what lessons might be gleaned.

NOTE: A large portion of this workshop will be spent actually modeling this “flipped faulty engagement” faculty-development program at UCR, enabling participants will actually experience it first-hand and as a faculty member would.  They will emerge with an experiential appreciation of how the program has such an impact even with a small staff and limited resources.

Among the questions and topics explored in this workshop are:

  • How do you grow an organic, faculty-grounded, experience-driven and sharing-based instructor and TA community that supports the richest learning options and optimal student outcomes –all with minimal support and funding, many questions and legal concerns, few existing models, and a siloed culture with little to no existing sharing across disciplines?

  • How do you entice “early-adopter” faculty (who on their own have already experimented with new learning models) to want to share their experiences – both successes and lessons learned – with other faculty from across campus?

  • How do you give them a platform and purpose; a confidence and sense of urgent need to reach out and help other faculty in different fields, class sizes and models? How do you strike a desire on their part to share across when t prevailing culture among instructors is more one of competitiveness than pooling resources? In turn, how do you capitalize on faculty’s innate curiosity about what other faculty are doing to spark the initial curiosity and participation in such events., their peers are doing to fuel interest and participation in innovative learning sessions?

  • Why ‘enhancing student learning’ (not increasing use of technology) should be the focus. Why the expectation that hybrid and online versions of courses ‘be as good as’ the traditional course sets the wrong tone as hybrid/online offers unique affordances changing the very nature of the learning that occurs.

  • Why actual, real life courses the best examples and teaching tools to engage newer, innovating faculty in rethinking their courses. Rather than your team presenting and lecturing, learn how and why the strong relevance/context of a fellow instructor is preferable and often more impactful that a generic lecture on best practices or models. Real faculty experiences are contextualized and highly relevant, making fellow faculty more captivating presenters/panelists and the most effective forces in changing culture, encouraging experimentation and building innovation into serving the needs of today’s student.

  • How do you encourage participation and share best practices while also honoring diversity, individuality and creativity? (Strategies around defining challenges; iterating; prototyping)

  • How do you create efficiencies of scale and bring light to best practices and useful technologies while still showing the wide diversity of course types and models? How do you build in the sense of safety necessary for lasting participation in such a community? Explore ways to share best practices, quality indicators, and useful tips while also affirming the diversity and uniqueness of each course and instructor. Learn how avoiding a one-size-fits-all mentality actually builds trust and grows participation by faculty.

  • How do you spark innovation and meet graduation requirements, the challenges of growing enrollment, the needs of both traditional and nontraditional students alike….all while keeping faculty engaged, inspired, supported and boldly willing to try new things despite cultural counter-currents, fear of trying new things, or uncertainty about legal, technical or other issues?

  • How do you engage the teaching community – from instructors to TAs- in honest discussion and sharing even if your team or institution doesn’t necessarily have all the answers worked out yet? How can you use the bold experimentation and experiences of early adopters to help newer faculty navigate their questions, discover best models, experiment safely and within the constraints of university regulations and guidelines?

  • How does making faculty the spotlight help build sense of safety, relevance and community?