A Summer to Remember: Leveraging the Power of the Group to Individualize Faculty Development

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Supporting faculty in the creation of resilient learning experiences will remain an ongoing goal for institutions of higher education, but how can we provide individualized support and still serve the number of instructors who need us? Learn how our Summer Institute provides an individualized, innovative approach to group-based faculty development.

Extended Abstract

In the spring of 2020, faculty professional development and support became an exercise in helping as many instructors as possible with the limited time and resources that were available. To meet the overwhelming demand for training and support, many institutions created online tutorials, self-paced training modules, and led large-scale workshops to help instructors succeed in the transition to remote teaching. The needs of the moment did not allow for as much individualized coaching and support as many would have liked to provide.

In the summer of 2021, our instructional design team offered its first annual Summer Institute for instructors who sought to strengthen and augment their online and hybrid course offerings. The institute was designed as an “academic incubator,” in which instructors could refine their goals for professional improvement and use university resources to help in reaching those goals. The resulting experience provided a group setting in which instructors could learn from and inspire one another while keeping focus on goals that were personally meaningful and valuable to them.

The Summer Institute began with a series of keynote speakers, institutional leaders and experts in their field, as well as a student panel. Following, faculty participants worked with their assigned instructional designer and course developer to create a fully ready to be taught course over 9 weeks of engagement. The Institute ended with a faculty showcase celebration. Because the Institute was meant to also be an opportunity to grow the university Community of Practice, faculty who successfully completed the Institute were also invited to become members of our Faculty Mentor Corps – a group of faculty representing disciplines across the university that serve as outreach to support distance teaching and learning good practices with peers.

Level of Participation

Attendees will hear from three instructors who successfully completed the Summer Institute. Organizers will share planning tips as well as share samples of work that were completed during the institute. Participants will be invited to ask questions or comment on each segment of the panel discussion as well as share out their own faculty professional development experiences and stories.

Session Goals

In this session, attendees will discuss innovative strategies for creating a series of transformative learning experiences for distance learning instructors. Presenters will address:

  • Institutional support
  • Attendee selection process
  • Expectations for completion
  • Goal refinement
  • Group learning experiences
  • Showcasing instructor work

At the conclusion of the session, attendees will be able to identify key considerations for planning and executing a Summer Institute faculty development initiative.