Southeast's biology faculty members are participating in strategic professional development to incorporate more inquiry-based, technology-rich resources into their courses and teaching techniques.
The university is utilizing two key resources to carry out Title III Project faculty development activities.
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.
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.
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.
To assist with end-of-grant assessment, Dr. Ethel Stanley, now a BioQUEST Faculty Developer via EMBRLI Consulting and Dr. James Caldwell, an Assistant Professor in Southeast’s College of Business Department of Marketing and Management, co-facilitated focus group sessions with Southeast’s Title III faculty implementers on May 15, 2014.
In the focus groups, faculty were interviewed regarding their experience with the university’ Title III Strengthening Institution’s Project, from course redesigning to room designing/equipment purchasing to any broader impacts on their pedagogy and Southeast’s life science education program.
Dr. Ethel Stanley is preparing a written report of these faculty interviews which she will provide to the university in July.