Southeast's biology faculty members are participating in strategic professional development to incorporate more technology-based, research-rich resources into their courses and teaching techniques.
Faculty Development Key Personnel
The university is utilizing two key resources to carry out Title III Project faculty development activities.
- The Center for Scholarship in Teaching Learning (CSTL) is an institutional resource for campus wide improvement of teaching effectiveness. For the Title III Project, CSTL is:
- Sponsoring faculty development trainings with outside consultants.
- Connecting faculty implementers with internal programs of support for pedagogical innovation, e.g., the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Fellows Program and the University Technology Committee.
- The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is a national leader in undergraduate biology education reform, headquartered at Beloit College in Wisconsin. BioQUEST has been contracted by the university to:
- Conduct an intensive 3-day faculty development workshop in the project's first year.
- Provide follow-up consulting to biology facutly members throughout the project period.
- Assist with assessment of instructor effectiveness beginning in the project's fourth year.
Title III Professional Development Workshops in Spring 2010
On May 10, 2010, CSTL hosted the "Cyberlearning for Today’s Learners" workshop presented by Dr. Ethel Stanley, the director of BioQUEST. At this workshop, faculty participants from across campus explored cyberlearning tools such as Gapminder and Worldmapper.
During May 11-13, 2010, Dr. Ethel Stanley and Dr. Sam Donovan, a faculty developer with BioQUEST, co-facilitated the "Minding the Gap" workshop for members of Southeast’s biology faculty. The 3-day workshop focused on negotiating the gap between contemporary learning goals and biological science education. Participants considered the needs for quantitative thinking, inquiry-based pedagogies, global perspectives, collaborative problem solving and the growing role of cyberlearning in the classroom.
A workshop blog at http://bioquest.org/southeast_2010 provides additional information on these workshops as well as links to valuable Web-based, open source tools and resources. BioQUEST faculty developers are continuing to consult with Southeast's biology faculty through the online discussion group, C3 Cyberlearning Southest Group 2010.
Faculty Development Results
The university conducted intensive faculty development at the start of the project to ensure faculty engagement and "buy-in." Approximately 93% (15 of 16) of fulltime biology faculty members and 85% (17 of 20) of the entire biology faculty participated in the 2010 Title III Project workshop facilitated by BioQUEST. A follow-up survey with participants found that:
50% of the respondents had used or planned to use one or more of the teaching techniques explored in the workshop, either in a project course redesign or other biology course.
- 75% of respondents reported that their ability to implement these teaching techniques was either very dependent (50% of respondents) or quite dependent (25% of respondents) on Title III-funded renovations and equipment upgrades.
The 2010 faculty development workshop generated a "ripple effect" in pedagogical innovation which strengthened the institution's capacity to acheive project course redsigning objectives. In the workshop, faculty participants began developing new inquiry modules for non-project courses (i.e. Biogeography, Cell Biology and Epidemiology) which subsequently became project courses due to changes in faculty membership or where courses would be taught.
Title III Project faculty implementers are benefiting from and contributing to several institutional initiatives which promote improvement in academic programs.
- Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellowship (SoTl) awards, which provide individual faculty members with institutional support for pedogogical innovation, were received by two faculty implementers of project course redsigns, one for redesign of Anatomy and Physiology I and the other for Human Biology.
- A Funding for Results (FFR) grant was awarded to the biology department's ichthyologist to support his course redesigning of Biogeography.
- An Information Technology Committee (ITC) grant was awarded to the biology department's zoologist to support his redesign of Animal Biology as a studio course.
- ITC grants for new tablet computers were awarded to biology faculty members to support their innovations in the teaching of Human Biology and Biological Science: A Process Approach, respectively.