Creating a Wowing Welcome: Developing a Comprehensive and Engaging Onboarding and Orientation Experience for Online Practitioner Faculty

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

With a strong reliance of academic program success based on adjunct faculty, it is essential to create a robust learning community starting with an engaging onboarding and orientation experience. We developed a model for establishing a comprehensive adjunct faculty development community leading to increased engagement and commitment to the University. 


Jill Winnington has been Assistant Dean and Business Program Director at Gwynedd Mercy University since June 2015. She previously served as Director of Academic Affairs at University of Phoenix and as a Business Instructor at Wesley College. She earned her BA in Economics from the University of Delaware- Lerner College of Business and Economics, her MM in Management and MBA in Finance from Goldey-Beacom College, and her DBA from Wilmington University.
I am the Director of Online Learning and Innovative Technology at Gwynedd Mercy University where I provide instructional technology support to faculty, particularly in the area of online learning where I continually search for new technologies that will engage the online student. I spent a number of years as a Senior Instructional Designer at Montgomery County Community College providing classroom technology support for faculty. My strong interest in Internet2 led to a MAGPI Fellowship in 2010 and nomination to MCCC’s Innovation of the Year Award for my creation of the Virtual Education Collaboration. Prior to working in academia, I spent over 20 years in the business environment as a computer programmer, business analyst and, most recently, as an Instructional Designer for Ellucian. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Business from Immaculata University and my master’s degree in Instructional Systems from Penn State, where I also earned a Web Graphics Design certificate. I received my Master's in Business Administration (MBA) at Gwynedd Mercy University. My speaking experience includes presentations at a variety of conferences including STEMtech, an international convening focused on increasing student access, success, and completion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Adjunct lecturer and subject matter expert, and graduate of OLC's Instructional Designer Certificate program who seeks to make a difference in the lives of learners by teaching them how to relax and enjoy the learning experience. Since 2011, Stacey has been creating online courses in business and economics. Formerly a Licensed Massage Therapist, Stacey understands that the relaxation response is the antidote to stress and anxiety. Stacey has an MBA from California State University and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Delaware.

Extended Abstract

Many online programs have a basic certification requirement for their online faculty. Is this enough? Does it truly meet the professional development needs of your online adjunct faculty? Learn through an interactive session how our university is taking a strategic approach to building a comprehensive faculty development program that supports and engages online faculty from initial hire and beyond. Our program of robust faculty support has led to increased student satisfaction and retention with minimal investment of resources.

During the program development process the School of Graduate and Professionals Studies recognized the need to have an engaging and supportive culture for all adjunct faculty which would lead to academic program strength and growth. The process started with successful onboarding and orientation for each adjunct faculty.  Our presentation is offered with the unique perspectives of the Director of Online Learning, a Program Director and a very engaged instructor.

During this engaging session, share your experiences and gain new insights to support your faculty and by extension, your students' success.

 Key Points/ Learning Outcomes:                  

1. Evaluate the effectiveness of your current online faculty development program.

2. Recognize the impact faculty development and engagement has on student retention and satisfaction .

3. Discover strategies to incorporate adjunct and full time online faculty into the University community.

4. Develop a foundational plan for improving the quality of your own faculty development program.