Title

Carefully crafted communities: Designing and leading a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for evaluation and assessment

Location

3031

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Panel

Start Date

13-1-2017 1:05 PM

End Date

13-1-2017 3:10 PM

Abstract

When you imagine a tenured faculty member in a large university from the department of engineering, an image of a scientist wearing a white coat working a lab might come to mind. Indeed, faculty, both tenured and untenured, spend time working on research related to their field, but many also spend time in the classroom teaching. Not every faculty member is taught how to teach and engage with (Chickering & Gamson, 1987). Faculty learning communities (FLCs) "provide a collaborative arena in which colleagues have the time and opportunity to reflect on teaching their discipline, their institution, and themselves" (Petrone & Ortquist-Ahrens, 2004). FLCs help move faculty out of the silos of their own research and instruction into a collaborative setting to achieve benchmarks, assessment goals, and evaluations. We hypothesized that engineering faculty would benefit from such a collaboration. Our design begins with a needs assessment of current students, recent graduates, and industry executives regarding the technical and human relations skills of program graduates. The FLC connects two main areas of need: the mapping of curriculum to reduce gaps in the design and implementation of skills and to improve instructional techniques in the classroom. In this way, the FLC took on a Utilization Focused Evaluation (UF-E) approach (Patton, 2008), with the elevator taking on the role of co-designer with the faculty members. Although this session shares reflections on the implementation of a FLC for a college engineering department, one can easily translate the applications to any higher academic setting.

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Jan 13th, 1:05 PM Jan 13th, 3:10 PM

Carefully crafted communities: Designing and leading a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) for evaluation and assessment

3031

When you imagine a tenured faculty member in a large university from the department of engineering, an image of a scientist wearing a white coat working a lab might come to mind. Indeed, faculty, both tenured and untenured, spend time working on research related to their field, but many also spend time in the classroom teaching. Not every faculty member is taught how to teach and engage with (Chickering & Gamson, 1987). Faculty learning communities (FLCs) "provide a collaborative arena in which colleagues have the time and opportunity to reflect on teaching their discipline, their institution, and themselves" (Petrone & Ortquist-Ahrens, 2004). FLCs help move faculty out of the silos of their own research and instruction into a collaborative setting to achieve benchmarks, assessment goals, and evaluations. We hypothesized that engineering faculty would benefit from such a collaboration. Our design begins with a needs assessment of current students, recent graduates, and industry executives regarding the technical and human relations skills of program graduates. The FLC connects two main areas of need: the mapping of curriculum to reduce gaps in the design and implementation of skills and to improve instructional techniques in the classroom. In this way, the FLC took on a Utilization Focused Evaluation (UF-E) approach (Patton, 2008), with the elevator taking on the role of co-designer with the faculty members. Although this session shares reflections on the implementation of a FLC for a college engineering department, one can easily translate the applications to any higher academic setting.