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Lessons Learned

Dean’s Perspective

  • Involve all appropriate administrative offices (finance, financial aid, registrar’s office, admissions, etc.) early in the discussion process. Although faculty members have primacy when it comes to the curriculum, I had no idea the amount of administrative support would be needed to make the changes we did. We didn’t do this and it caused hurt feelings and extra work for everyone. We might have avoided some of this had we had people in the room when we were discussing the basic core ideas of our new academic program.
  • Don’t be surprised if the conversation circles back around a few times. We designed a process that was very inclusive. Small groups developed proposals that were then sent on to larger groups, not for approval but for discussion and review.
  • We brought the proposal to the full faculty only after about 80% of the faculty had been involved in the discussion. We also always voted on the proposal piece by piece so that we could build consensus along the way.
  • Remember that curriculum change is also about building leadership capacity in faculty. We involved a number of faculty members who had not previously been involved in campus leadership. We now have dozens of faculty providing leadership all across our college.
  • The ultimate success of our project was due to the faculty and staff who pulled together to make it happen.

Faculty Development Director’s Perspective
Involve as many different faculty members in the process of planning the curriculum as possible. Many people understood the learning objectives and need for explicit instructions on the embedded skills prior to any specific faculty development programming.

Draw on internal talent to offer faculty development workshops. Inviting outside experts was not particularly helpful for us; because, those experts did not know enough about our specific learning objectives. Asking members of our own faculty, particularly those in the education department, to lead workshops was more effective.

Invite people from departments not traditionally associated with the skill to offer workshops. Have a math professor rather than an English professor share advice on teaching writing.

Pay instructors a small stipend to attend workshops the first day faculty members are off contract.  People who might not otherwise choose to attend faculty development workshops may be motivated by the stipend. This is not necessary over the long-term, but it is helpful when starting the program.