Herding Cats: Differentiating Our Approaches to Faculty Support
Concurrent Session 9
It’s no secret that our faculty are just as unique as our students. We completed a major overhaul to rethink and differentiate our approaches to faculty support and training including innovation seminars, outreach sessions, round-tables discussions, self-paced support models, reactive methods, and more.
It’s no secret that our faculty are just as unique as our students. We completed a major overhaul to rethink and differentiate our approaches to faculty support and training including outreach sessions, round-tables discussions, self-paced support models, reactive methods, and more.
Our department has recently been reorganized and has come under new leadership, resulting in both new ideas and new approaches to our audience and key users, our faculty! With a population totaling over 1700 full time faculty and adjuncts, we are constantly revising our faculty support methods. It isn’t uncommon for faculty to gain another course short notice or to have to make major adjustments as the semester progresses. While no one approach is the answer, we have established a list of pros and cons for each approach following various trial and error periods. The nature of this conversation is to share our approaches, what worked and what failed, as well as our revisions processes.
Our approaches include:
School-Specific Initiatives – Recent partnerships have led to great success (and failures) to align faculty with goals and objectives specific to their school and content. Recent accomplishments include the MBA Innovation Seminar Series and Physician Assistant Program specific workshops. We also designed a course template for our faculty in our School of Professional Programs. This template was mandated by the Dean…but in our experience…led to more confusion than success that required a revision to this approach.
New Year, New Model Innovation Workshop – Our newest approach – Faculty are asked to set aside time for a 2 day workshop series (lunch included!) to refresh and revise their courses. We had a punny play on upgrading your “vehicle,” shifting into gear prior to the start of our fall semester.
Workshops – Both within the semester as well as August and January Institute – two jam-packed weeks a year to help get faculty on board and in gear. We now offer all workshops with a virtual attendance option.
Reactive Response – It is not uncommon to receive panicked calls throughout the week of faculty who require a more immediate response. This often demands immediate attention and is not the best opportunity for providing instruction…but devising a way to both solve the problem and provide guidance or documentation can be key to preventing reoccurrences.
Faculty Outreach – In partnership with each school, we have offered to meet with their faculty at a time that might be most convenient for them, often times during monthly faculty meetings. This approach had a few advantages…It put a name to a face as many of our faculty work with us over the phone but it also opened the door for questions, comments and even complaints. This adjustment to accessible support was key to building our relationships with faculty and each school.
Self-Paced Support and Documentation – We are constantly building our resources to aid faculty outside of our business hours. This allows for self-paced research and exploration as well as quick links to beautifully formatted support documents be able to email at a moment’s notice. Videos appeal to various learn preferences and perspectives, allowing faculty the choice when looking to implement a new tool.
Message of the Day – This bulletin board like format has recently been key to displaying quick gifs of functions and features that may not have otherwise been stumbled on!
Engagement will lend itself to attendees to share similar successes, new ideas and approaches, and their own lessons learned