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Making Relevance a Priority: Assessing the Needs of New Faculty Catherine Schryer & Donna Ellis Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo,

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Presentation on theme: "Making Relevance a Priority: Assessing the Needs of New Faculty Catherine Schryer & Donna Ellis Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Making Relevance a Priority: Assessing the Needs of New Faculty Catherine Schryer & Donna Ellis Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada 32 nd Annual POD Conference – October 24-28, 2007 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2 Session Plan In this session, you will: Learn about the challenges and needs expressed by new faculty members and department chairs at the University of Waterloo Learn about the challenges and needs expressed by new faculty members and department chairs at the University of Waterloo Engage in discussions to share ideas about new faculty programming and resources and about our research tools Engage in discussions to share ideas about new faculty programming and resources and about our research tools

3 Our Local Context University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada 24,000 undergraduate students, 3,000 graduate students, 1,000 faculty members 24,000 undergraduate students, 3,000 graduate students, 1,000 faculty members Comprehensive university Comprehensive university Typical tenure-track load is 40/40/20 BUT we are a research-intensive institution ($127 million in sponsored research awards in 2006/2007) (http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infoiap/docs/pi/PIReport_Final_2007_withC overPage.pdf) Typical tenure-track load is 40/40/20 BUT we are a research-intensive institution ($127 million in sponsored research awards in 2006/2007) (http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infoiap/docs/pi/PIReport_Final_2007_withC overPage.pdf)

4 New Faculty Support Pre-Study Started NF-specific programming in 2002 Started NF-specific programming in 2002 New hires = 60-100 each year New hires = 60-100 each year Components: Components: –September full-day event – orientation, lunch with Deans and Chairs, panel on success, BBQ with spouses at Presidents farm –Lunch & Learn events – on research funding sources, teaching & tenure, and course evaluations –Website & Binder – resources to help with teaching, research, service, and broader community –Individual services – course design, course evaluation analysis, classroom management, teaching observations, etc.

5 New Faculty Support Pre-Study Changes made before study: New position – WatPort recruitment and retention coordinator in Associate Provosts office New position – WatPort recruitment and retention coordinator in Associate Provosts office BBQ – moved to night before all-day event BBQ – moved to night before all-day event Small welcome lunches in January and May Small welcome lunches in January and May

6 New Faculty Study: Methods & Participants Received Office of Research Ethics clearance : Received Office of Research Ethics clearance : –Run 8 focus groups (total n=32) with new faculty hired over past 5 years (duration: 2 hours each) –Interview 11 department chairs – selected based on: number of NF hired in recent years, length of time in position, and representation across 6 Faculties (duration: 1 hour each)

7 New Faculty Study: Focus Group Questions What do you think are the characteristics of good teaching? What do you think are the characteristics of good teaching? What challenges did you face as a new teacher? What challenges did you face as a new teacher? What have you done to develop yourself as a teacher since coming to UW? What have you done to develop yourself as a teacher since coming to UW? –Who helped you and how? What resources did you access? What could UW do better in supporting you as a teacher? What could UW do better in supporting you as a teacher? What could the units supporting teaching development do better to help you? What could the units supporting teaching development do better to help you? What is the best advice you could give to NF? What is the best advice you could give to NF?

8 New Faculty Study: Chair Interview Questions What do you think are the characteristics of good teaching? What do you think are the characteristics of good teaching? What challenges do NF face in terms of teaching? What challenges do NF face in terms of teaching? What could we (UW generally) do better in terms of teaching support for NF? What could we (UW generally) do better in terms of teaching support for NF? What could the teaching centre do better? What could the teaching centre do better? What advice do you give to NF? What advice do you give to NF?

9 New Faculty Study: Activity for You Before revealing the results for most theme areas, we will ask you to predict the key responses from NF and Chairs Before revealing the results for most theme areas, we will ask you to predict the key responses from NF and Chairs Each side of the room will have a role to play (NF or Chair) – quick brainstorm before the results Each side of the room will have a role to play (NF or Chair) – quick brainstorm before the results

10 What are the Characteristics of Effective Teaching? Personal character traits – inborn characteristics, e.g., enthusiasm Personal character traits – inborn characteristics, e.g., enthusiasm Course characteristics – teachable skills e.g., syllabus organization Course characteristics – teachable skills e.g., syllabus organization Learning – students actually learned Learning – students actually learned

11 Characteristics: Personality Traits Chair – enthusiasm, organization Chair – enthusiasm, organization If you have people that are enthusiastic teachers they may make mistakes, but if they work hard, they will overcome those (C9) If you have people that are enthusiastic teachers they may make mistakes, but if they work hard, they will overcome those (C9) the notion that it is cute or eccentric (to be disorganized) is not acceptable (C9) the notion that it is cute or eccentric (to be disorganized) is not acceptable (C9) New Faculty New Faculty –enthusiasm (FG 1a,2b,3b,4b) –approachable (FG1a,4b) –fair but flexible (FG1b,4b)

12 Characteristics: Course Related Chair – planning, organization Chair – planning, organization –So when I am talking about being prepared, I am talking about both big picture prepared and having the mechanics of day-to-day down (C10) New Faculty – planning, organization, clear expectations, meaningful assignments, gaining students trust, ensuring they know why they are learning New Faculty – planning, organization, clear expectations, meaningful assignments, gaining students trust, ensuring they know why they are learning Learning. Effective teaching means that students learn Learning. Effective teaching means that students learn

13 Characteristics: They learned! Chairs 6/11 Chairs 6/11 –good teaching inspires students to apply themselves to the material, so that there is not an element of duress in self-motivated learning. (C6) New Faculty – understand where students are at, facilitate questions, convince students that they are intelligent and can contribute to field New Faculty – understand where students are at, facilitate questions, convince students that they are intelligent and can contribute to field

14 What are the Challenges? Lack of teaching experience Lack of teaching experience Lack of local knowledge Lack of local knowledge Students – cause problems Students – cause problems Research-teaching balance (or lack thereof) Research-teaching balance (or lack thereof) Infrastructure Infrastructure

15 Challenge: Lack of Experience or Local Knowledge Lack of experience – Chairs concern 6/11 Lack of experience – Chairs concern 6/11 –Rarely do we have people with real teaching experience (C4) Hardly mentioned by New Faculty Hardly mentioned by New Faculty Need for local knowledge – huge concern for NF – level of students, dealing with student problems, knowing who to go to for help without being a pest, knowing how course fits in curriculum, figuring out technologies Need for local knowledge – huge concern for NF – level of students, dealing with student problems, knowing who to go to for help without being a pest, knowing how course fits in curriculum, figuring out technologies

16 Challenge: Students Chairs preoccupation: ill-prepared, demanding students Chairs preoccupation: ill-prepared, demanding students –they have to deal with what is popularly referred to as the Millennial Generation which some of us prefer to describe as the Im Entitled Generation. (C6) New faculty – almost no concern New faculty – almost no concern

17 Challenge: Research-Teaching Balance Chairs Chairs –biggest challenge is the competition between research and teaching (C11) – institution does not value teaching…teaching is secondary (C3) New Faculty New Faculty –UW does not value good teaching, although theres lots of talk – not much incentive to be a great teacher – but there is to be good

18 Challenge: Infrastructure Chairs are aware about class size, poor rooms, insufficient technology Chairs are aware about class size, poor rooms, insufficient technology –lousy classrooms (C1) overheated poor sight lines (C6) New Faculty – all of the above plus – poorly trained TAs, poor support re: academic integrity (plagiarism), little access to past course resources New Faculty – all of the above plus – poorly trained TAs, poor support re: academic integrity (plagiarism), little access to past course resources

19 What have New Faculty done? Collected and used formative and summative feedback on teaching Collected and used formative and summative feedback on teaching Used teaching centre resources (workshops, observations, CUT) Used teaching centre resources (workshops, observations, CUT) Sought help from colleagues (attended others lectures, had mentor) BUT didnt want others to know OR colleagues didnt always know how to fix problems Sought help from colleagues (attended others lectures, had mentor) BUT didnt want others to know OR colleagues didnt always know how to fix problems Gave themselves some time Gave themselves some time

20 What Support Should UW Offer? Clearly establish UWs priorities regarding teaching Clearly establish UWs priorities regarding teaching Provide teaching support Provide teaching support Improve university infrastructure Improve university infrastructure Provide local knowledge – mostly Chairs mention this here Provide local knowledge – mostly Chairs mention this here …how is the university going to overcome this conflict between teaching and research? (C11)

21 Support from UW: Priorities Regarding Teaching Chairs are aware of the conflict between teaching and research at the university level, many use a ramp-up model for teaching loads, and some recommend peer review of teaching and better rewards for excellent teaching Chairs are aware of the conflict between teaching and research at the university level, many use a ramp-up model for teaching loads, and some recommend peer review of teaching and better rewards for excellent teaching New Faculty were most focused on the teaching loads: Communicate to students what faculty have to do (FG3b) New Faculty were most focused on the teaching loads: Communicate to students what faculty have to do (FG3b)

22 Support from UW: Teaching Support Chairs Chairs –We have to support them on the teaching side (C1) – need departmental resources and programming yet unsure they can provide this –Teaching centre assistance (i.e., course design workshops) BUT better in conjunction with department to increase impact New Faculty New Faculty –Agree with Chairs: want a lecture coach and department help with teaching development

23 Support from UW: Local Resources Both Chairs and New Faculty mentioned inadequate classrooms and scheduling difficulties Both Chairs and New Faculty mentioned inadequate classrooms and scheduling difficulties Chairs added what New Faculty need to understand about the students (backgrounds and Co-op) Chairs added what New Faculty need to understand about the students (backgrounds and Co-op) New Faculty added concerns about TA training New Faculty added concerns about TA training

24 What Support Should Teaching Centre Offer? Provide programming for new faculty – held jointly with departments Provide programming for new faculty – held jointly with departments Identify or coordinate learning resources Identify or coordinate learning resources Assist with interpreting evaluations of teaching Assist with interpreting evaluations of teaching Increase awareness of what Centre offers – especially with Chairs! Increase awareness of what Centre offers – especially with Chairs!

25 Support from Teaching Centre: Programming Chairs mostly recommended programming done in conjunction with departments (workshops, discussions, open classrooms) Chairs mostly recommended programming done in conjunction with departments (workshops, discussions, open classrooms) …focus on bringing new faculty together with people who have a proven excellence in teaching and a proven love of teaching… (C7) New Faculty wanted more specific orientation information and specific workshops (teaching large classes, academic integrity, getting tenure) New Faculty wanted more specific orientation information and specific workshops (teaching large classes, academic integrity, getting tenure)

26 Support from Teaching Centre: Learning Resources Chairs and New Faculty primarily focused on getting assistance with technological tools (CMS, repositories) plus having access to past exams Chairs and New Faculty primarily focused on getting assistance with technological tools (CMS, repositories) plus having access to past exams Chairs more focused on the investment of time needed to innovate with new technologies = resentment Chairs more focused on the investment of time needed to innovate with new technologies = resentment you learn some software, its just going to change in two years…what they want to do is teach (C7)

27 Support from Teaching Centre: Teaching Evaluations Only mentioned for this question by New Faculty (Chairs talked about peer review in previous question) Only mentioned for this question by New Faculty (Chairs talked about peer review in previous question) –UW should consider using a different evaluation form and different evidence –Teaching centre (versus senior faculty) should coordinate peer observations or even do faculty observations – seen as more objective

28 Chair Advice Have the right attitude Have the right attitude –So being a good teacher is determined by your enthusiasm (c1) Consult with your senior colleagues Consult with your senior colleagues –Dont let things festersee the chair… (C9) Put a higher priority on research, but dont neglect teaching Put a higher priority on research, but dont neglect teaching –for the next 5 years your job is to get tenure (C6) Know your material and be organized Know your material and be organized

29 New Faculty Advice Try to be a good teacher but not great Try to be a good teacher but not great Get help – colleagues, open classrooms Get help – colleagues, open classrooms Seek clarity in expectations Seek clarity in expectations Research is what matters Research is what matters Scads of specific advice Scads of specific advice –Be prepared, be aware of student problems and how to deal with them, pay attention to course evaluations, vary assessment measures

30 General Implications Many chairs believe that effective teaching is related to personality; more NF see teaching as a set of strategies that enhance learning Many chairs believe that effective teaching is related to personality; more NF see teaching as a set of strategies that enhance learning Many Chairs point to a lack of general teaching experience as a key challenge; whereas NF point to a lack of specific, local knowledge being available to them Many Chairs point to a lack of general teaching experience as a key challenge; whereas NF point to a lack of specific, local knowledge being available to them NF see millennial students as less problematic NF see millennial students as less problematic NF receive mixed messages about value of teaching, but mostly hear that they should not prioritize teaching NF receive mixed messages about value of teaching, but mostly hear that they should not prioritize teaching Chairs offer general advice; NF offer specific advice – NF are quite teaching-savvy – culture clash? Chairs offer general advice; NF offer specific advice – NF are quite teaching-savvy – culture clash?

31 Implications for Teaching Centre NF and Chairs want more department-specific programming – feel faculty will receive the message more willingly – but its unclear who will offer it NF and Chairs want more department-specific programming – feel faculty will receive the message more willingly – but its unclear who will offer it Chairs do not have a clear sense of what the teaching centre offers, so not able to promote us accurately Chairs do not have a clear sense of what the teaching centre offers, so not able to promote us accurately NF may not be confident that colleagues can help them – should teaching centre help depts set up systems for peer review, sharing of resources, etc? NF may not be confident that colleagues can help them – should teaching centre help depts set up systems for peer review, sharing of resources, etc? How much can teaching centre step in when value of teaching isnt on par with research? How much can teaching centre step in when value of teaching isnt on par with research?

32 Discussion Time! Discussion of Results: Discussion of Results: –What 1-2 ideas would you suggest that our teaching centre use to respond to these results (e.g., programming, resources, organizational development strategies, etc.)? Discussion of Methods: Discussion of Methods: –What 1-2 questions would you add to or delete from the research tools used and why?

33 UWs Initial Responses Hired two new instructional developers – faculty programming and consultations Hired two new instructional developers – faculty programming and consultations Replaced orientation in Sept with 2 workshops (academic integrity and course management) Replaced orientation in Sept with 2 workshops (academic integrity and course management) Added NF listserv and socials Added NF listserv and socials Changing L&L topic areas: understanding students, assessing student learning Changing L&L topic areas: understanding students, assessing student learning Providing more department-specific workshops through curriculum projects Providing more department-specific workshops through curriculum projects

34 Selected References: Austin, A. E. (2002). Creating a bridge to the future: Preparing new faculty to face changing expectations in a shifting context. Review of Higher Education 26(2):119-144. Boice, R. (2000). The new faculty member: Supporting and fostering professional development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Menges, R.J. & Associates. (1991). Faculty in new jobs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Sorcinelli, M.D. & Austin, A. E. (Eds.) (1992). Developing new and junior faculty. New Directios for Teaching and Learning. No 50. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Whit, E.J. (1991). Hit the ground running:Experiences of new faculty in a school of education. Review of Higher Education. 14(2): 177-197

35 Our Contact Information Catherine Schryer, Director, Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo cschryer@uwaterloo.ca Donna Ellis, Associate Director, Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo donnae@uwaterloo.ca


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