Developing a Quality Improvement Process to Optimize Faculty Success

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Brief Abstract

Analysis examines the effectiveness of embedding quality improvement within the School of Nursing based on a data-rich faculty enrichment process that correlate skills with results.


Dr. Merillat's experience and skills represent a union between technology, education, and interaction design. In the course of her career she has played many different roles: programmer, systems analyst, business analyst, interaction designer, program manager, project manager, consultant, trainer, educator, instructional designer, researcher, author, and entrepreneur. The common thread running throughout has always been the challenge of how to successfully use and integrate the latest technology into an organization. Dr.Merillat is currently at Washburn University, Topeka, KS in the faculty role of Instructional Designer in the School of Nursing.

Extended Abstract

As part of a major shift to embed quality improvement processes within a School of Nursing at a medium-sized Midwestern university, a faculty enrichment program was designed across the classic faculty evaluation model of teaching, research, and service with the addition of technology.  A systematic plan was established using a Plan-Do-Study-Act design, which began with creating metrics or evaluating baseline skills (P) in the areas of teaching & learning best practices, learning management system skills (Desire-to-Learn, D2L), application of technology skills, and application of scholarship skills.  Learning opportunities based upon this baseline assessment data were identified, and targeted, customized professional development was provided to the faculty (D).  The next step in this quality improvement process was to correlate baseline assessment data with student course evaluations (S).  Results from the correlational analyses will be integrated into the existing faculty enrichment program (A) to enhance both faculty and student satisfaction with the teaching & learning process. 
Data was compiled for 68 courses from the Spring 2014 semester: 61 face-to-face and 7 online or practicum courses.  The courses were taught by 27 different instructors.  Correlational analysis was conducted between four course evaluation summary scores with the sub-scales from three of our assessment instruments.  The four course evaluation summary scores were for progress towards relevant objectives, perception of instructor as an excellent teacher, perception of course as an excellent course, and an overall summary score.  The three assessment instruments and sub-scales included:
• Teaching & Learning Skills Checklist – 97 items, 7 sub-scales
• Desire-to-Learn (D2L) Skills Checklist – 45 items, 5 sub-scales
• Technology Skills & Interest Checklist – 45 items, 10 sub-scales

This analysis did not include correlations with the Scholarship Skills Checklist because the sample size was too small.  

Overall, when students rated an instructor as an excellent teacher, that instructor self-reported a higher level of applying skills in these sub-scale areas: general skills with D2L, managing D2L content, using D2L reflection tools, and overall use of D2L.

Negative correlations were found when examining the other three course evaluation summary scores.  In reporting progress on relevant objectives, students scored the course lower while the instructors self-reported a higher level of skill using presentation tools and multimedia tools.  Similar correlations were found when students rated the course as an excellent course.  Students scored the course lower while the instructors self-reported a higher level of skill using presentation tools and multimedia tools.  When evaluating the summary score for the course, only the level of skill using multimedia tools was found to be negatively correlated.

When completing the checklists, faculty members were asked if they would like more information on specific items.  The instructor’s desire to learn more about teaching & learning best practices was positively correlated with students providing higher scores on progress on relevant objectives, perceiving the instructor as an excellent teacher, and the summary course score.

Based on these results, professional development will be optimized to ensure that all faculty members, especially new faculty and adjuncts, will be adequately trained to use the learning management system (D2L).