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Innovations in Conversations About Teaching

Beyond the Workshop

Edited By Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones

Centers for teaching and learning all face the same dilemma: In a context where faculty are not required to partake in our services, how do we provide transformative learning experiences to which faculty willingly give their limited time? The answer, Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones propose, is to move away from a workshop model of faculty development and toward a model that supports the kinds of connections among faculty that lead to self-sustaining growth and development. This edited book provides a breadth of innovative alternatives to fixed-schedule faculty development workshops that faculty are rarely attending due to the increasing complexity of their professional lives. The audience for this book is higher education administrators, faculty, and staff responsible for faculty development related to teaching and learning. Each chapter provides a detailed description of a faculty development initiative in practice that provide opportunities for creativity, adaptability, and collaboration among faculty. Public, private, and community colleges, small and large, research-focused and teaching-focused institutions are represented. The editors have taken on this project because this is the resource they wish they had when they began their work as directors of the teaching lab at their institution.

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1. Introduction


Maria B. Hopkins and Rachel Bailey Jones

Together, in the fall of 2015, we, the editors of this volume and authors of this chapter, attended the Annual Assessment Conference at Drexel University. The conference theme that year was Building Academic Innovation & Renewal. At the time, both of us were (and continue to be) full-time faculty at Nazareth College in the School of Education. In addition to our faculty roles, we each had administrative re-assignments within the Division of Academic Affairs. Maria was the Coordinator of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, and Rachel was the Director of the Core Curriculum. We had traveled to Philadelphia in order to learn together about ways to strengthen our assessment work at Nazareth and how to support our faculty colleagues in these endeavors. As with most conferences to which we travel with colleagues, we found that the time away from campus provided valuable opportunities to brainstorm in a new setting and to begin to imagine how we might apply our conference learnings on the return home. At this particular conference, we began to “think big” and consider the ways we might advocate for an institutional response to our most pervasive challenges.

We each had our own dilemmas and obstacles in our administrative roles. However, at the core, they were the same and were reflected in Linda Suskie’s (2015) remarks at the conference as she outlined the “stubborn challenges” facing higher education:

1.Change is hard.

2.We have cultures...

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