League for Innovation in the Community College tag:www.league.org,2014:/blog/ Mango 1.4.3 Innovative Educators Webinar Schedule urn:uuid:626C5677-1422-1766-9AF40708EB9E56F2 2014-08-01T01:08:13Z 2014-08-26T11:08:00Z <p>View the current schedule of upcoming webinars from League partner Innovative Educators.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><strong>September 2014</strong></p> <p>9 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3215.htm">Strategies For Developing &amp; Maintaining A Robust Student Ambassador Program</a><br /><br /> 10 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/2174.htm">Keeping LGBTQ Students Safe: 10 Strategies For Reducing Targeted Violence On Campus</a><br /><br /> 10 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3227.htm">How To Develop &amp; Implement A Summer Bridge Program For First-Generation College Students</a><br /><br /> 11 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3232.htm">A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Quality Veterans Resource Center On Your Campus</a><br /><br /> 12 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3221.htm">Reflective Judgment: Teaching Students To Think Critically In A Time Of Information Overload</a><br /><br /> 16 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3223.htm">First-Year Students &amp; Libraries: Assessing The Impact Of Information Literacy</a><br /><br /> 16 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3233.htm">Enhancing Outcomes-Based Assessment For Student Affairs: A 3-Part Series - Part 1</a><br /><br /> 17 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3218.htm">Student Motivation: Practical Strategies That Will Increase Engagement, Learning &amp; Persistence</a><br /><br /> 17 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3219.htm">Adult Learners: Creating A Comprehensive Support Program To Address Needs &amp; Increase Retention</a><br /><br /> 18 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3212.htm">How To Manage, Supervise &amp; Energize Difficult Staff: A Proactive Approach - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 18 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3224.htm">Intrusive Academic Advising: An Effective Strategy To Increase Student Success</a><br /><br /> 19 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/2169.htm">It’s Complicated: How To Identify &amp; Resolve Unhealthy Relationship Issues In College</a><br /><br /> 23 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3205.htm">Training Front Office Staff: Handling Difficult &amp; Disruptive Behaviors - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 23 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3228.htm">Teach Students To Learn: Metacognition Is The Key</a><br /><br /> 24 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3203.htm">Managing Disruptive Classroom Behavior: Strategies For Creating A Safe &amp; Dynamic Learning Environment - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 24 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3225.htm">Supporting The Engagement, Learning &amp; Success of Students At-Risk - Part 1</a><br /><br /> 25 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3233.htm">Enhancing Outcomes-Based Assessment For Student Affairs: A 3-Part Series - Part 2</a><br /><br /> 26 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3220.htm">7 Common Title IX Mistakes: How To Train Faculty On Sexual Harassment Compliance - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 30 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3206.htm">Understanding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: How To Improve The Academic Success Of Student Veterans On Your Campus  Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 30 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3217.htm">The Violence Against Women Act: Developing Educational Programs For Compliance</a> </p> <p><strong>October 2014</strong></p> <p>1 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3225.htm">Supporting The Engagement, Learning &amp; Success of Students At-Risk - Part 2</a><br /><br /> 2 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3229.htm">Addressing The Unique Needs Of Undocumented Students: How Recent Policy Changes Affect College Access - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 2 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3222.htm">Developing Effective Pre-Assessment Activities To Increase Student Success</a><br /><br /> 7 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3211.htm">Investigating The Drunken Hook-Up: Policy Development Concerning Sexual Assault, Incapacitation &amp; Risk Management</a><br /><br /> 7 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3230.htm">Providing Comprehensive Student Support Services Online</a><br /><br /> 8 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3233.htm">Enhancing Outcomes-Based Assessment For Student Affairs: A 3-Part Series - Part 3</a><br /><br /> 9 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/2199.htm">Responsive Leadership: Developing An Intentional Strategy That Addresses Future Challenges &amp; Succession Planning - Flexible Date</a><br /><br /> 10 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3234.htm">Strategic Enrollment Management: Developing &amp; Implementing An Integrated, Results-Driven Plan - Part 1</a><br /><br /> 22 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3231.htm">How Faculty Can Manage Difficult Conversations With Students</a><br /><br /> 24 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3234.htm">Strategic Enrollment Management: Developing &amp; Implementing An Integrated, Results-Driven Plan - Part 2</a></p> <p><strong>December 2014</strong></p> <p>10 <a href="http://www.innovativeeducators.org/product_p/3229.htm">Addressing The Unique Needs Of Undocumented Students: How Recent Policy Changes Affect College Access - Flexible Date</a></p> Adaptability and Authenticity as a Product of Courage urn:uuid:878A35FC-1422-1766-9A82FA283E6444EF 2014-08-01T06:08:33Z 2014-08-26T02:08:00Z <p>Adaptability and authenticity are essential traits for leaders in the ever changing landscape of the 21st century.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/leadership_abstracts.gif" alt="Leadership Abstract" /></p> <p>August 2014, Volume 27, Number 8</p> <p><em>By Michael Rivera</em></p> <p>Thousands of books have been written on the topic of leadership. To wade through the volumes of information, research, and insights on the topic would be a monumental task, and to separate the quality theory from the rest would be equally daunting. In addition, the ever changing landscape of the 21st century requires that we constantly evaluate and adapt our thinking about what constitutes strong leadership. We have developed an overwhelming acceptance of our past definitions of good leadership and an over reliance on static models that reflected the older and slower business environment of the 19th and 20th centuries. This can no longer be our standard. Our definition of good leadership must evolve just as quickly as the shifting 21st century landscape. We must begin thinking about leadership in a much more situational way, one in which good leadership is defined as much by the character of the leader—the virtues of his heart and mind—as by the possibilities and realities that create this new situational context. We must design a road map for leadership based on adaptability and authenticity, for in the absence of these behaviors we cannot hope to change.</p> <p>Global development and increased international interdependence have brought our business and social environments to the point where change is now the new watchword. This change is often synonymous with progress, but it does not happen by chance. As leaders, we must be prepared to brave this road of continuous change, because it is our strong leadership that facilitates progressive changes. The task of those in leadership is to move something from what it is to what it could be and to do so in a timely fashion. The creation of a guiding vision is the responsibility of a leader, and that vision is the future that could, or should, be. The risk lies in the actions taken to make a vision a reality (Bender, 1997). Those actions require courage.</p> <p>Two recurring themes that experienced leaders describe when explaining what traits are required to be a strong leader in the 21st century are adaptability and authenticity; both result from leaders drawing on inner courage. These traits derive from the major paradigm shift that leadership has undergone in the recent past; a shift from a strong top-down perspective to one that recognizes the value of all members of an organization and draws on the leader’s <em>authenticity</em> to motivate members and <em>adaptability</em> to synthesize multiple perspectives to achieve the best outcome. These traits require openness, others-centeredness, and an acknowledgement that all members provide value to the team. Research has shown that these leadership traits enhance morale and improve outcomes. However, it takes a special leader to be able to cultivate these traits within herself in addition to the visionary and decision-making roles that are a given in her position. In short, the ability to adapt to changes in the team, new ideas, or even changes in the market and the ability to be an open and authentic leader with others requires a deep inner courage—courage to let down walls that traditionally separate the hierarchy of an organization and courage to open oneself to new and better ideas and methods. In the absence of courage, a leader will be simply unable to respond to constantly shifting realities and new possibilities, to take the risks required in order to facilitate meaningful change. The absence of courage leads to both the absence of adaptive behavior and the failure to create and nurture the authentic and transparent relationships necessary to successfully move something from the desired to the actualized.</p> <p>Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities as it is the quality that guarantees all others.” The single most important quality that will determine the success or shortcomings of any effort will be a leader’s ability to act courageously and guide his or her vision through the inevitable challenges that will appear. Leaders will require courage in order to stand firm, even in the face of opposition, on a position that they know to be right or true. They will require courage to achieve the vision and its predetermined goals even in the face of challenges. They will require courage in order to be the lone voice that defends what is right. More often than not, though, such courage is not easily summoned. It can come slowly, and it might need to be drawn out of us, for when we find ourselves in a position to act courageously we are usually confronting something outside of our predetermined comfort zones. It is courage that will help leaders accomplish the smaller pieces, the everyday actions and decisions that will ultimately accumulate into a change effort. </p> <p>The need for courage is often due to the presence of fear. Peter Bender’s book, <em>Leadership from Within</em> (1997), defines fear as being a negative vision of the future. If we become too overwhelmed with negative visions, they can block any positive visions and feelings from our awareness (Bender, 1997). We need to summon courage in order to push past these feelings, as a negative vision is seldom, if ever, the vision we want to pursue. However, the fear of taking risks often impacts decision making. It is typically low achievers who avoid risks due to fear and who hold back from making courageous decisions in pursuit of a positive vision. High achievers, on the other hand, see the potential results and thus do not succumb to the more imminent fear of risk, and as a result, they are more likely to pursue their courageous vision. In other words, to be adaptive and authentic leaders, it is important that we accept and take risks. Taking risks ensures the presence of courage. Bender (1997) further describes risk taking as the creation of actions that will produce results. Improved results, then, are the evidence that courageous risks produced the desired outcomes. By taking risks, we also elevate our sense of self-efficacy and, over a period of time, we increase the probability of success (Bender, 1997).</p> <p>According to C.S. Lewis, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” To confirm this, we need look no further than the industry’s leading voice on change. In 1996, John Kotter published <em>Leading Change</em>, which is widely accepted as some of the best foundational research on successful change, providing an eight step model for leading change. However, instead of just looking at the eight-stage process of leading change as a whole, or dissecting its series of individual steps, we can also look at the process through a lens of courage, one that demonstrates how and why courage is such an important prerequisite for adaptive and authentic leadership. At all eight stages, from establishing a sense of urgency to anchoring new approaches in the culture, the absence of courage will likely slow the process to a halt. Stage one requires an examination of the market and competitive realities, along with identifying and discussing crises while looking for opportunities (Kotter, 1996). This requires that leaders possess a high level of both honesty and transparency—key qualities of authentic leadership—in order to accept and adapt to challenges and changes. The subsequent stages of change leadership—assembling a guiding coalition, the development of a vision and strategy, and empowering broad-based action—require a leader of strong character who is able to combine authentic open leadership with visionary adaptive strategy.</p> <p>In 2001, business researcher Jim Collins released his well-known work, <em>Good to Great</em>, on successful leadership, a book that quickly became a must read for anyone seeking to understand what exemplary leadership should involve. A separate monograph, <em>Good to Great and the Social Sectors</em> (2005), followed as a supplement, and offered its own specific definition of authentic and adaptive leaders. Collins called such persons Level 5 Leaders, proposing that leadership is not about being soft or purely inclusive. It is also not simply about building consensus. “The whole point of Level 5,” he wrote, “is to make sure the <em>right</em> decisions happen—no matter how difficult or painful—for the long-term greatness of the institution and the achievement of its mission, independent of consensus or popularity” (Collins, 2005). This truth, offered by one of the leading voices on the subject of exceptional leadership, can itself be interpreted as a meaningful definition of what courage looks like. Level 5 Leaders possess the courage necessary to pursue even the most difficult adaptive work, not for superficial reasons, but out of an authentic sense of virtue that manifests itself in devotion to the organization and its mission.</p> <p>The 21st century leader will be navigating a landscape that is changing more rapidly than ever before. The realities of leadership in the 21st century will require new approaches in order to find success and meaning. Change will be so constant as to become the new normal, and only adaptable and authentic leaders will be capable of guiding their organizations through that unpredictable environment. Meaningful decision making will be the product of both the mind and the heart, as leaders learn to decipher a new, situational context while remaining grounded in their own strengths and genuine ideals. In order to navigate this new world with success, the 21st century leader must have the courage to drive adaptation and the courage to be authentic.</p> <table border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td><span style="font-family: arial; font-size:9px;"> <p>References</p> <p>Bender, P. U. (1997). <em>Leadership from within</em>. New York: Stoddard Publishing.</p> <p>Collins, J. (2001). <em>Good to great</em>. New York: Harper Collins Publishing.</p> <p>Collins, J. (2005). <em>Good to great and the social sectors</em>. New York: Harper Collins Publishing.</p> <p>Kotter, J. P. (1996). <em>Leading change</em>. Boston: Harvard Business Press.</p> </span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Michael Rivera is the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at Montgomery County Community College.</em></p> <p><em>Opinions expressed in</em><em> </em>Leadership Abstracts<em> </em><em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> Faculty Orientations Toward Instructional Reform urn:uuid:8787CE65-1422-1766-9AD2DA4F435D99FE 2014-08-01T06:08:10Z 2014-08-26T02:08:00Z <p>Untitled Document </p> <p>Understanding faculty orientations toward instructional reform can help leaders effectively address concerns and needs during the implementation process and beyond.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/learning_abstracts.gif" alt="Learning Abstract" /></p> <p>August 2014, Volume 17, Number 8<strong></strong></p> <p><em>By </em><em>Susan Bickerstaff and the Scaling Innovation Team</em></p> <p>Some of the most promising developmental education innovations require that instructors significantly change their classroom practice. For example, instructors may be asked to teach to a more heterogeneous group of students, prepare students for statistics rather than algebra, or attend more explicitly to students’ nonacademic needs. Cultivating such behavioral change is difficult, and usually falls upon the leaders who are working to launch or scale a new approach. These leaders report that generating faculty buy-in is among the most challenging aspects of reform implementation. </p> <p>Regardless of whether a college is launching a homegrown pilot or adopting a state mandated policy at full scale, bringing colleagues on board and supporting them during the change process is essential to the success of an initiative. Without faculty members’ willingness to reflect on their classroom practice and tailor their teaching strategies to a new curriculum or course structure, any reforms involving instructional improvement are vulnerable to lackluster implementation and possible derailment. </p> <p>Implementing successful instructional reform, therefore, requires both convincing faculty members that the innovation is worthwhile, and providing resources to bolster their confidence and  help them successfully carry it out in the classroom. Understanding the orientations that faculty members have toward the reform can help leaders effectively address their concerns and needs during the implementation process and beyond.</p> <p><strong>Three Orientations Toward Instructional Reform</strong></p> <p>Over the course of CCRC’s <a href="http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/research-project/scaling-innovation.html" target="_blank">Scaling Innovation project</a>, we visited colleges that were embarking on developmental education reforms and interviewed numerous developmental education instructors and faculty leaders. From this research, we identified three orientations toward reform: ready to act, ambivalent, and reluctant to change. We found that these categories were both fluid (subject to change over time) and contextual (formulated in reaction to the specific proposed reform). Within each of these broad categories, a variety of perspectives was represented. </p> <p><strong>Ready to Act</strong></p> <p>The first category, those who were ready to act, was comprised of the faculty members who were most likely to play a role in launching or leading the reform in its early stages. Individuals that fell in this group shared a willingness to be early adopters, but they also brought differing levels of knowledge, experience, comfort, and confidence to the new approach. </p> <p>Some faculty members were ready to act because the proposed reform aligned with their teaching philosophy and resembled their current classroom practice. In other cases, instructors wholeheartedly embraced the philosophy but needed significant support to successfully enact the reform. A third group of early adopters opted to participate in the reform for reasons that were unconnected to the reform principles, such as perceived benefits to their work life.</p> <p><strong>Ambivalent</strong></p> <p>Faculty who fell into the second category, ambivalent, were neither active proponents nor opponents of the reform. Our research indicates that the ambivalence expressed by faculty in this group often stemmed from sources unrelated to the reform itself.</p> <p>For instance, some faculty members were reluctant simply because their time was already consumed by participation in other professional activities. Others, often adjuncts, felt they did not have the time and energy to adopt a new approach. Some ambivalent stakeholders were awaiting evidence of the reform’s effectiveness and were likely to become ready to act once positive outcomes were established. Still others seemed to be uncertain about their ability to improve outcomes for students using the reform model. </p> <p>Even some who were already participating in a reform displayed this ambivalence, often to the detriment of effective implementation. One faculty member, for example, reported that it was only after he had already taught a student-centered math class for three semesters, and attended an in-depth professional development event, that he finally “got” the theory of action behind the reform. Until this self-described transformative moment, he continued to rely on lecture rather than the recommended student-centered strategies.</p> <p><strong>Reluctant to Change</strong></p> <p>The final category in our typology was comprised of faculty members who were reluctant to change. Individuals with this orientation differed from their ambivalent colleagues in their active resistance to the reform. Reform leaders reported spending significant energy responding to this group, sometimes referred to as the vocal minority. Leaders often assumed that faculty in this group were uniformly resistant to any form of change. In fact, our data suggest more complex factors were almost always in play.</p> <p>The rationale for reluctance sometimes stemmed from satisfaction with the status quo or skepticism about the necessity for improvement. In developmental education, for example, some instructors were only aware of pass rates for individual courses and unaware of low rates of student persistence to and through college-level courses (Hern, 2010). On the other hand, some faculty members recognized that problems existed but felt that the solutions to these problems lay outside their classrooms: in academic or student services, for example, or within the students themselves. </p> <p>Alternatively, a number of reluctant faculty members believed that instructional change was warranted but were opposed to the chosen approach. For example, some math instructors believed deeply that students needed to learn algebra and thus were resistant to the implementation of a pre-statistics pathway. Similarly, many of the instructors resistant to reforms that accelerate students’ progress through developmental education were convinced that students need more instructional time to be successful. </p> <p>Often faculty members’ reluctance could be traced to discomfort with a reform’s conception of classroom roles. For instance, if instructors believed their role was to deliver knowledge for student consumption, reforms that asked them to facilitate student discovery or attend to students’ nonacademic needs seemed incompatible. </p> <p>It is important to note that orientations toward reform were not inherent to the individual but formulated in reaction to specifics of the proposed change. For example, we encountered one faculty member who was reluctant to eliminate levels of developmental reading and writing coursework because she felt one semester was not enough to prepare students for college-level English. However, she was enthusiastic about integrating reading and writing courses because it aligned with her teaching philosophy. Similarly, we found that if instructors began to see a likely payoff to the proposed change and felt supported in adopting the approach, even the most reluctant faculty members could become ready to act.</p> <p><strong>Moving From Reluctant to Ready</strong></p> <p>On the surface, ambivalence and reluctance can appear as apathy and obstructionism; however, our data suggest that these responses are often rational and legitimate. If reform leaders understand more about their colleagues’ orientations toward proposed changes, they will be in a better position to provide information, activities, and supports to increase the numbers of faculty who are ready and prepared to make changes in the classroom.</p> <p>Most of the varied perspectives from ambivalent and reluctant faculty can be grouped into two broad concerns: (1) faculty are unconvinced that the reform will be effective, and (2) faculty are uncertain whether they could successfully implement the approach. To address these concerns, reform leaders must make clear whatthe reform is designed to do and howit can be implemented in the classroom. To convey <em>the</em> <em>what, </em>reform leaders may need to make the case for change using data on the problem the reform is designed to address, clearly explain the reform’s theory of action, and present an array of evidence on the efficacy of the approach. To demonstrate <em>the</em> <em>how, </em>leaders can provide a concrete picture of implementation through videos of classroom practice, demonstration lessons, and sample course materials.</p> <p>Reform leaders in the Scaling Innovationproject listened carefully to uncover the source of faculty hesitation and provided targeted supports to move their colleagues from reluctance to readiness. For example, to counter critiques that particular teaching styles (such as project-based learning or the discovery approach) would be too challenging to implement in the developmental education context, reform leaders used videos of classrooms, curricular examples, and samples of student work to create what they called “a vision of the possible.” Additionally, some leaders shared testimonials from instructors who were initially reluctant—for example, because they were resistant to addressing students’ nonacademic needs or giving up lecture-based pedagogy—in order to demonstrate how beliefs can change through engagement.</p> <p>Institutional factors also play an important role in promoting readiness. Faculty members in departments that have adopted and then abandoned numerous reforms may be reluctant to engage in what they see as the latest fad. Departments with strong cultures of collaboration and experimentation may have more instructors who are ready to act. Departments and colleges can increase faculty buy-in by providing instructors with extra time to learn about, prepare for, and reflect on teaching a new course. Course released time, monetary incentives, or structured opportunities to focus on teaching (e.g., department meetings) all help to encourage willingness to engage in reform.</p> <p>The variety of perspectives on reform that we encountered in our research suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach is insufficient to achieve widespread buy-in among faculty. Instead, leaders need to meet with faculty, listen to their perspectives and concerns, and tap their experiences and expertise to develop varied learning and support structures that address underlying causes of ambivalence or resistance. </p> <p><strong>Moving Beyond Ready </strong></p> <p>Once a faculty member is ready to act, he or she may still need support to ensure optimal implementation. Thus, faculty engagement activities must go beyond efforts to broaden participation and also facilitate learning how to enact new instructional approaches. Our research indicates that inquiry groups, curriculum teams, course steering committees, and other structures that allow for ongoing conversations grounded in the specifics of teaching are valuable in helping faculty gain confidence and proficiency in the reform (Bickerstaff, Edgecombe, &amp; the Scaling Innovation Team, 2012).Institutional leaders and professional developers who are able to identify the different orientations toward reform among their colleagues are well positioned to strategically allocate engagement resources and attend to the needs of faculty as they change over time. </p> <table border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td><span style="font-family: arial; font-size:9px;"> <p>References</p> <p>Bickerstaff, S., Edgecombe, N., &amp; the Scaling Innovation Team. (2012). Pathways to faculty learning and pedagogical improvement. Inside Out, 1(3). Retrieved from <a href="http://www.scalinginnovation.org/pathways-to-faculty-learning-and-pedagogical-improvement/" target="_blank">http://www.scalinginnovation.org/pathways-to-faculty-learning-and-pedagogical-improvement/</a></p> <p>Hern, K. (with Snell, M.). (2010). Exponential attrition and the promise of acceleration in developmental English and math. Perspectives, June/July. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.rpgroup.org/sites/default/files/Hern Exponential Attrition.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.rpgroup.org/sites/default/files/Hern%20Exponential%20Attrition.pdf</a></p> </span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>Susan Bickerstaff is a Research Associate at the Community College Research Center, Teachers College, Columbia University.</em></p> <p><em>Opinions expressed in</em><em> </em>Learning Abstracts<em> </em><em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> Member Spotlight: 2013-2014 Year in Review urn:uuid:8DD9A244-1422-1766-9A04FC3E95C81A80 2014-07-31T12:07:08Z 2014-08-04T11:08:00Z The League for Innovation in the Community College <p>The League for Innovation recognized and highlighted many outstanding programs, events, and achievements by its Alliance member colleges in the Member Spotlight segment of our monthly newsletter–<em><a href="/publication/leagueconnections/" target="_blank"><em>League Connections</em></a></em>. Colleges showcased in this year's Member Spotlight included: </p> <ul> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-kirkwood-community-college">Kirkwood Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-wharton-county-junior-college">Wharton County Junior College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-bellevue-college">Bellevue College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-greenville-technical-college">Greenville Technical College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-delta-college">Delta College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-indian-river-state-college">Indian River State College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-front-range-community-college">Front Range Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-northern-lights-college">Northern Lights College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-december-kirkwood-community-college">Kirkwood Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-lone-star-college-system">Lone Star College System</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-yavapai-college">Yavapai College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-nebraska-indian-community-college-1">Nebraska Indian Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-houston-community-college">Houston Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-midland-college">Midland College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-bellevue-college-1">Bellevue College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-south-louisiana-community-college">South Louisiana Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/education-collaboration-to-meet-employer-needs">Greenville Technical College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/howard-community-college-step-up-program">Howard Community College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-new-mexico-state-university-alamogordo">New Mexico State University Alamogordo</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-local-children-fitted-for-free-glasses-at-see-to-succeed-event">San Jacinto College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-mchenry-county-college">McHenry County College</a></li> <li><a href="/blog/post.cfm/member-spotlight-peninsula-college">Peninsula College</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Member Spotlight submissions</strong><br /> Each month, the Member Spotlight section of <em>League Connections</em> highlights best practices, model programs, innovative projects, collaborative works, and more, taking place at League Alliance member colleges. If you are from a <a href="/membership/allimembers.cfm" target="_blank">League Alliance</a> member college, you may <strong>submit your Member Spotlight article <a href="/Membership/forms/memberspotlight/" target="_blank">here</a></strong>.</p> An In-Class Interaction Designed to Promote Student Understanding of Monetary Policy urn:uuid:8788FBA9-1422-1766-9ABF2685EDF10442 2014-07-30T06:07:28Z 2014-08-01T01:08:00Z <p>Untitled Document </p> <p>Active learning through teamwork and small group discussion promotes student understanding of monetary policy.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/showcase.gif" alt="Innovation Showcase" /></p> <p>August 2014, Volume 9, Number 8</p> <p><em>By<strong> </strong></em><em>Ribhi Daoud</em></p> <p>The Federal Reserve System conducts monetary policy to help stabilize fluctuations in the economy. It is geared toward altering money supply and interest rates so it can influence decisions pertaining to lending, borrowing, spending, and investing. These decisions have a direct impact on output, income, employment, and inflation rates. Monetary policy uses the following tools:</p> <ul> <li>Open market operations</li> <li>Reserve ratio</li> <li>Discount rate</li> <li>Federal funds rate</li> <li>Term Auction Facility</li> </ul> <p>Students should understand how the Federal Reserve Board (Fed), financial institutions, and the public act and interact, and how monetary policy works through influencing money supply, credit access, and interest rates to impact aggregate demand and the economy. Students who learn and understand concepts such as Reserve requirement, actual reserves, required reserves, excess reserves, money multiplier, federal funds rate, discount rate, prime rate, open market operations, Term Auction Facility, cyclical asymmetry, and the liquidity trap will be able to connect and relate their academic learning to real world reports, policies, and news pertaining to the economy.</p> <p>The following activity is designed to help students in economics courses understand how monetary tools are used by the Federal Reserve System to stabilize business cycles and fluctuations. Class participation and interaction promote cooperative and active learning through teamwork and small group discussion.</p> <p><strong>Context</strong></p> <p>Group activities and class participation promote cooperative and active learning. Research reveals that students learn better when they are engaged. This activity is appropriate for college and university students learning monetary policy; it is likely to be more effective if class size does not exceed 30 students.  <br /> <br /> In this activity, students learn and understand how financial institutions, investors, and borrowers react as the Fed enacts monetary tools in response to business and economic fluctuations. Monetary tools are utilized to influence money supply, interest rates, credit access, and portfolio decisions as factors affecting business cycle and economic outcomes. Students are exposed to concepts such as required and excess reserves, reserve ratio, federal funds rate, discount rate, open market operations, Term Auction Facility, and liquidity trap.</p> <p>Students are organized into three teams of similar size. Team 1 represents the Fed; Team 2 represents financial institutions; and Team 3 represents the public, representing borrowers, consumers, and investors. Teams are provided with information concerning the state of a hypothetical economy, and each team proceeds according to roles outlined below.</p> <p><strong>Team Roles</strong></p> <p><strong><em>Team 1</em></strong> researches the structure, functions, and policies of the Fed and prepares a short written report of their findings. In the report, the team also proposes the appropriate policy the Fed should undertake to help stabilize and restore a healthy economic condition. The report specifies the monetary tools to be used by the Fed and the likely outcomes. Also, this team speculates on the reactions of the other two teams.</p> <p>Team 1 should address the following questions, along with others identified by team members or the instructor:</p> <ul> <li>What is the current or projected state of the economy?</li> <li>What is the appropriate monetary policy for current or projected economic conditions?</li> <li>What monetary tools should be used and how should they be used?</li> <li>What outcomes are expected from implementing such policy?</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Team 2</em></strong> conducts research and writes a short report on the structure, functions, and roles of financial institutions in the economy. This report specifies how financial institutions would react to the policy enacted by Team 1. Team 2 also outlines the connection between financial institutions and the Fed within the framework of monetary policy.</p> <p>Team 2 should address the following questions, along with others identified by team members or the instructor:</p> <ul> <li>What is the current or projected state of the economy?</li> <li>What policies is or will the Fed undertake to address the issues facing the economy?</li> <li>How should or must financial institutions react to the Fed’s policies?</li> <li>How will the Fed’s policies impact financial institutions’ lending and credit policies?</li> <li>In what ways may financial institutions’ strategies conflict with the Fed’s strategies and policies?</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>Team 3</em></strong> investigates and writes a short report on how the public may react to the Fed policy, as well as reactions to the incentives provided by financial institutions. This team will explore the factors that impact public borrowing, spending, saving, and investing in capital projects.</p> <p>Team 3 should address the following questions, along with others identified by team members or the instructor:</p> <ul> <li>How does this group understand the current and projected state of the economy?</li> <li>What policies are being undertaken by the Fed?</li> <li>What are socioeconomic factors impacting decisions pertaining to borrowing, spending, investing, and saving?</li> <li>How is consumption, saving, and investing likely to impact the economy?</li> <li>In what ways may consumption, saving, and capital investments conflict with monetary policy?</li> </ul> <p><strong>Class Discussion</strong></p> <p>Teams are provided a deadline for completion of their reports, and a date is set for a class discussion of the findings. On the day for class discussion, students are divided into small groups comprised of members from each team (e.g., a small group of six would have two representatives from each team). In their small groups, all members present their respective team reports and discuss the perspectives of the various teams. By the end of the activity, each student will have exposure and understanding of the structure, components, and dynamics of monetary policy.</p> <p><strong>Assessment</strong></p> <p>To assess student learning and the impact of the activity, the instructor may use the following methods or devise other assessment options:</p> <ul> <li>Students can prepare group reports on what they have done and learned.</li> <li>Students can write individual reports on their specific roles and experiences in interacting within teams and groups, and what they have learned about monetary policy.  </li> </ul> <p><strong>Teaching Notes</strong></p> <ul> <li>The instructor may assign teams and groups the task of researching the state of the economy in the real world, or may propose a hypothetical economy having a recession or perhaps encountering demand-pull inflation.</li> <li>The instructor should decide what sources and references teams and groups may use.</li> <li>The instructor should provide teams and groups with timelines and deadlines for the activity.</li> <li>The instructor should provide teams and groups with guidelines for in-class as well as out-of-class group interactions.</li> <li>The instructor should design and inform students of the assessment process and the criteria by which they will be graded and receive credit for the activity.</li> <li>Before groups begin their work, the instructor should ensure that all students understand all components and steps the groups will perform to complete the activity.</li> </ul> <p><em>Ribhi Daoud is a professor of economics at Sinclair Community College, OH.</em></p> <p><em>Opinions expressed in</em> Innovation Showcase <em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> Communities, Educators in Six Regions Join Effort to Develop “Breakthrough” Schools urn:uuid:87848EDE-1422-1766-9ADECFE803F63DB2 2014-07-30T06:07:24Z 2014-08-01T01:08:00Z The League for Innovation in the Community College <p align="center"><img src="/publication/leagueconnections/images/2014-08_nglclogo.jpg" alt="" width="567" height="50" /></p> <p><em>Local organizations to apply $25M in grants to accelerate student progress through personalized learning</em></p> <p>Six community-based education organizations across the U.S. have been selected to participate in a new $25 million effort launched by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), intended to establish regional hubs of K-12 innovation. The <em>Regional</em> <em>Funds</em> <em>for</em> <em>Breakthrough</em> <em>Schools</em>––a first?of?its?kind national initiative that supports “breakthrough” schools to accelerate student progress––will grant funding to local educators whose approaches incorporate leading principles of personalized, blended, and competency-based learning. </p> <p>NGLC defines breakthrough schools as those charged with generating rigorous outcomes for all students: at least 1.5 years of growth annually in math and English/language arts—an ambitious but necessary goal for students who are behind in specific subject areas or grade levels—a 90 percent high school graduation rate, and at least 80 percent of students meeting college readiness benchmarks and enrolling in college.</p> <p>All six partner organizations were selected through competitive, national application processes by NGLC and the initiative’s funders: the Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, and the Michael &amp; Susan Dell Foundation. Funding models vary across the sites, but each regional partner will be investing between $1.8M and $3M in local design teams to generate new or Conversion schools, with a mix of national and in some regions, locally--?raised funding. Some partners are working closely with single, big city school districts; others are working with multiple districts and larger regions. Each partner is aiming to enable design teams of innovative educators to open at least three (and in some cases many more) new or redesigned breakthrough model schools by fall of 2016.</p> <p>The six partner organizations include:</p> <ul> <li>CityBridge Foundation, Washington, D.C.;</li> <li>The Colorado Education Initiative, representing a coalition of three Colorado school districts and the Colorado Department of Education;</li> <li>LEAP Innovations, Chicago, Ill.;</li> <li>New Schools for New Orleans; in partnership with the Louisiana Recovery School District and the Orleans Parish School Board, Educate Now!, and 4.0 Schools;</li> <li>New England Secondary School Consortium, coordinated by the Great Schools Partnership;</li> <li>Rogers Family Foundation, Oakland, Calif.</li> </ul> <p>Leaders from each site will work with NGLC and its national network of 80 breakthrough model schools (funded with $23 million in grants awarded since 2012). A breakthrough school combines student-centered, personalized, blended, and competency-based learning approaches with high expectations for student achievement, all sustainable on public funding. In personalized learning settings, learning experiences are designed by teachers and students to address individual skills, gaps, interests and aspirations. Competency-based learning enables students to move at their own optimal pace and receive credit by demonstrating mastery of clearly defined expectations before moving on. Blended learning integrates teacher-led, in-person instruction with online learning and the use of technology-enabled tools in group- oriented and individual work. All of these strategies are at least partly managed by the student, and enabled by the seamless integration of technology.</p> <p>“Our nation’s K-12 schools are the pathway to the future,” said Diana Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE. “The Regional Funds for Breakthrough Schools initiative demonstrates how we are optimizing the impact of information technology by creating meaningful solutions to some of our most pressing educational challenges. By encouraging and supporting innovation like this on a grassroots level––in terms of novel instructional methods, new technologies, and student success outcomes––we are strengthening education as a whole.”</p> <p>The Regional Funds partner organizations were selected based on several criteria, including: clear leadership consensus supporting their vision of next generation learning; a high-capacity local organization to direct the work; a supportive policy environment to enable fundamental redesign of learning models and school structures and practices; and innovative, pioneering educators ready to lead this groundbreaking work. </p> <p>NGLC is managed by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association working to advance higher education through the use of information technology, in conjunction with the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the League for Innovation in the Community College. Additional program support for the Regional Funds partner organizations will be provided by CEE-Trust. </p> <p><a href="http://nextgenlearning.org/2014-regional-funds-breakthrough-schools" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more.</p> Member Spotlight: McHenry County College urn:uuid:B9EF5021-1422-1766-9AEED1D7CEFB0DDA 2014-07-01T01:07:03Z 2014-06-30T09:06:00Z <p>Partnerships and a proactive approach have helped McHenry County College tackle college and career readiness with promising results.<strong></strong></p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><strong>An Emergency in Higher Education: College Students Who Aren’t Ready for College</strong></p> <p>There’s a little-known crisis occurring across the nation; a problem not many are aware of or would expect. Unless you’re an educator. Specifically, a college educator facing a new class of freshmen. Because, it turns out that 66 percent (Complete College America, 2011), or about two-thirds, of your students, all of them recent high school graduates, are not going to be ready for what you are about to teach them.<br /><br /> What does this mean? It means that those students, instead of jumping feet first into freshman year, will spend extra hours and dollars taking remedial courses in math and English just to get them ready for college-level work. Certainly, it’s not unusual for some students to be lacking in some educational skills, but two-thirds? And of those students, how many of them are going to get discouraged and quit altogether?<br /><br /> According to state figures, only 14 percent of full-time community college students who begin college with developmental courses graduate in three years. And it’s not cheap for taxpayers either. In 2007, Illinois community colleges spent $120.8 million, and public universities spent $5.2 million, on remedial courses. Nationally, it costs over $1 billion to fund developmental education.<br /><br /> <a href="http://www.mchenry.edu/" target="_blank">McHenry County College</a> (MCC), an institution with approximately 7,000 students in Crystal Lake, IL, is facing the issue head on and fast becoming a model for other community colleges through innovative college and career readiness partnerships with local high schools that reduce the need for high school graduates to take developmental courses in college.<br /><br /> In McHenry County, the figure is not quite two-thirds, but is still “a scary number,” said Tony Capalbo, Associate Dean of College and Career Readiness at MCC. “When we all met in 2010 with our Board of Control, they were shocked to hear that number, and they said, ‘What are we going to do about this?’ So we devised our College and Career Readiness teams.”<br /><br /> The four teams are made up of high school counselors and MCC administrators, high school and college faculty in math and English, and high school and college administrators. A fifth team featuring STEM faculty and administrators is in the works. The teams meet at least once a semester, Capalbo said, adding that “faculty participation has been crucial, because they can go into more detail about actual class content and lesson plans to reach common academic goals.”<br /><br /> The program outline includes four objectives with corresponding action teams that address curriculum alignment, career goals, increased college and career access and awareness for students and parents, and intervention strategies for standardized testing. <br /><br /> Core tactics cover 15 initiatives including literacy workshops for instructors (“reading across the curriculum”), dual-credit expansion, and a new fourth-year high school math course aligned to the Common Core Standards. The teams are also implementing ACT prep and high-stakes testing strategies for placement tests, eighth grade summer math academies, and innovative outreach to parents focused on cultivating a college-going culture, and an understanding of college resources and the college process.<br /><br /> “Since 2010, it’s really made a difference—a positive impact on our high school students,” Capalbo said.</p> <p> The partnerships are paying off as more graduating students are allowed to skip the COMPASS placement exam and place into college-level courses, especially math. For example, 62 percent of high school graduates enrolled in developmental courses at MCC in 2010, compared to 48 percent in 2012.<br /><br /> MCC showcased their efforts in college and career readiness programming at the 2013 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Leadership Congress in Seattle. Event attendees included 1,500 community college trustees, presidents, and senior staff of community colleges from around the country. <br /><br /> The presentation, Ready or Not, Here We Come! Innovations in College and Career Readiness, highlighted MCC’s engagement with all 14 McHenry County high schools to decrease the need for high school graduates to take remedial math, reading, and writing courses in college. <br /><br /> "Every high school participates, because all of us have the same goal—to reduce the amount of developmental coursework that high school students need to take at the college level," Capalbo said.<br /><br /> "The key to this progress is the partnerships between the college and the high schools," Capalbo said. He added that early intervention, which includes MCC’s STEM-focused Kids and College program (some of these classes have a waiting list this summer) and dual-credit program for high school students, also strongly contribute to college and career readiness success.<br /><br /> "The partnership between Woodstock School District 200 and MCC enables us to work together to develop a seamless transition for our students to post-high school education and job preparation," said George Oslovich, Assistant Superintendent for Middle and High School Education at Woodstock Community Unit School District 200. "MCC now receives students from us who are better prepared to accept the rigor and challenges of a college level course.”<br /><br /> “I wish I could take all the credit,” Capalbo said, “but it takes a village, and it’s all the partnerships with our high school teachers and administrators, plus the superintendents and college instructors, and the administrators at the college…The support for this is coming from the top down, and that is key too. It takes a village, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”<br /><br /> <a href="http://www.mchenry.edu/board/13_14/presentations/112113collegereadiness.pdf" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more about MCC’s College and Career Readiness Initiative.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>Complete College America. (2011). Complete College America Illinois 2011. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from <a href="http://www.completecollege.org/docs/Illinois.pdf" target="_blank">http://www.completecollege.org/docs/Illinois.pdf</a></p> Gap Advising: Maintaining a Presence in Common Areas of the College During the Semester urn:uuid:B58CA0D7-1422-1766-9A890BC435C9AA65 2014-07-01T01:07:07Z 2014-06-30T09:06:00Z <p>Gap advising lowers students’ threshold for seeking help by making advisors visible and instantly accessible.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/learning_abstracts.gif" alt="Learning Abstract" /></p> <p>July 2014, Volume 17, Number 7</p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p><em>By </em><em>D. Brent Barnard</em><strong> </strong></p> <p>Many who serve in higher education have heard inspirational stories of groundskeepers and maintenance personnel befriending students, thereby forming strong relationships which boost retention and encourage students to persist. Why do these employees succeed in an area so at odds with their job descriptions? They succeed because they care, andbecause they work in public areas among the students. The rest of the staff care as well, but spend less time in campus common areas. </p> <p>Academic advisors belong to this latter group. They are typically stationed in offices rather than at open desks in the hallways and dining areas of the college, so students rarely come across them by chance. During the semester, they often frequent common areas only when they are on their way to a meeting or running some other errand. When they do appear in these locations, they may be swarmed by students at the very moment when there are other activities on their minds. Advisors, then, can tend to avoid these chance encounters, particularly when they are perceived as interruptions. </p> <p>Of course, advisors should be eager to engage students at anytime, anywhere. However, the situation surely calls for a more intentional approach. The solution? Gap advising, or intentionally placing advisors at tables set in spots where contact with students is inevitable at a time when exposure is maximized, such as during lunch or in the intervals—gaps—between classes.<br /> <br /> <strong>Gap Advising vs. Intrusive Advising<br /> </strong> <br /> A high percentage of students register for classes at the last minute. Thus, they see advisors at their busiest when they have very little time to delve deeply into student concerns. Of course, a common corrective has been intrusive advising. Advisors can call or email students during the semester to guide and inspire. Some schools even obligate students to visit advisors at this time. This approach definitely has its advantages, and normally students don’t do optional, but by its nature, intrusive advising involves contacting students when there is no felt need on the students’ part. This can lead to a less-than-ideal advising session, and the advisor-student relationship is not necessarily strengthened. Gap advising, on the other hand, provides students with a lighthearted advisor interface involving zero obligation. They approach advisors for fun or with felt needs, and if the advisors are good, a relationship is forged around the exchange. Thus, gap advising can round out advising offices which use intrusive advising.</p> <p><strong>Lowering the Threshold for Seeking Help</strong><br /> <br /> All students have a particular threshold which must be reached before they take the trouble to visit the advising office, sign in, and wait to bring a problem or question to the attention of a professional. With gap advising, this threshold drops precipitously because students can approach advisors on a whim, with no effort. As they pass by an advisor’s table in the hallway, they simply stop and talk. This is invaluable because many concerns which seem slight to them can, in actuality, be critical. At El Centro College’s West Campus, students have casually mentioned the classes they are taking and their intended major, and gap advisors have perceived that the two do not match. Other important questions are posed: “Oh I’ve been meaning to ask you…when is the last day to apply for graduation?” Another: “You know, it’s too late for me to pass two of the classes I’m taking. When is the last day to drop them?” Critical, time-sensitive questions are spontaneously brought to the attention to advisors only because they have purposefully made themselves visible and instantly accessible. </p> <p><strong>Other Advantages<br /> </strong> <br /> Gap advising also shows students how sincere the institution is in its desire to ensure the quality of the collegiate experience. It says to the student body that staff and administrators are not merely doing their duty—the bare minimum—and then hiding away in various departments behind closed doors; instead, college personnel are actively seeking contact with students and want to know how they are faring day by day. This is a message institutions cannot send too often. </p> <p>Additionally, gap advising helps the staff keep its collective finger on the pulse of the semester. If students primarily sit alone, never congregating or conversing with fellow students, this can indicate that the student body as a whole is isolated, needing more opportunities to interact. (Perhaps the Office of Student Life should be notified.) Conversely, gregarious students forming groups and interacting with each other can signify a college’s success in fostering relationships. Furthermore, if the hallways become steadily emptier as the semester progresses, this can convey the haunting absence of student engagement long before final grades are due. For these reasons, administrators may wish to join advisors at the tables to get a grounded sense of the state of the institution.</p> <p>Most advisors who are stationed at a public table will not have the same resources, such as forms and manuals, they have when stationed in their offices. Moreover, they will not have the same privacy should sensitive subjects arise. However, another strength of gap advising is that it boosts office visits. Again and again, West Campus staff members have seen gap advising motivate students to immediately schedule advising appointments. These appointments might never have been made without the advisor-student relationships that were bolstered through gap advising. </p> <p><strong>Logistics<br /> </strong> <br /> Instituting such a policy is straightforward and requires no budget whatsoever. However, there are a few factors to bear in mind. Advisors selected for this role should be exceptional—friendly, with high energy and at the top of their game. Their role will be to engage passersby, greeting most of them, and conversing with those who stop. Good advisors can even introduce advisees to other students the advisors may know, particularly if the gap advising takes place in a dining area or other locale where students gather. This requires an interpersonal skill set that not everyone possesses, so gap advisors should be chosen with care. </p> <p><strong><em>Choose gap advisors with care</em></strong><strong>. </strong>Advisors at such posts should absolutely not allow themselves to be distracted by cell phones, laptops, books, etc. Eye contact with passing students is fundamental. There should also be signs at the advisors’ tables which say something like, “Got questions about college? Please ask!” Naturally, this will encourage students to ask questions outside the advisors’ realm of expertise, such as issues pertaining to the finer points of financial aid, but the session is still a success if advisors connect students to the resources they need.</p> <p><strong><em>Keep sessions short</em></strong><strong>. </strong>Gap advising should ideally take place in short bursts of about fifteen minutes. This allows advisors to maintain high energy for the entire time period. If the advisor is stationed at a post for a much longer period of time, the law of diminishing returns comes into play because few people can remain enthusiastic, happily greeting dozens of people, for hours at a time. One exception to this brief scheduling might be the lunch hour, but this should probably constitute the only exception. </p> <p><strong><em>Be attentive to gap-advising times and locations</em></strong><strong>. </strong>An advisor who is preparing to leave the office for a gap advising session may wish to forego the activity temporarily if a student stops by and asks for a one-on-advising session. High-quality, relational one-on-one advising sessions are always priority. It is also helpful to schedule gap advising during those particular intervals between classes when consequential numbers of students actually appear. If the schedule indicates that classes dismiss at a set time, but there never seem to be students around as expected, the gap-advising assignment should be altered so that advisors are not simply staring at walls in abandoned corridors. Assignments should also be modified if there is a marked decrease in attendance as the semester proceeds; halls which were bustling with students in September or February can become relatively abandoned in late November or April.</p> <p><strong><em>Create awareness of gap advising among other college personnel</em></strong><strong>. </strong>One unexpected challenge that can arise is that the advisors’ time can be monopolized by faculty and other staff members who stop by to chat. This is understandable; faculty members—particularly adjuncts—often work in a social vacuum and need to connect with the few colleagues they encounter. However, a gentle college memo might suggest to all personnel that conversations with on-duty gap advisors be kept relatively brief. </p> <p><strong><em>Be prepared to respond to a variety of student concerns</em></strong><strong>. </strong>Because gap advising makes advisors so accessible, they will hear students expressing dissatisfaction with instructors as well as college policies and procedures more often than they otherwise would. Opening lines of communication is an excellent practice, but advising offices should have a clear policy on how to handle such concerns so that advisors will know how to respond. </p> <p><strong>Maintaining a Presence<br /> </strong> <br /> Students’ exposure to advising can often swing on a pendulum—from high exposure prior to the semester to almost total obscurity during the semester. Intrusive advising may help, but it can lack the spontaneity which is characteristic of great relationships. Gap advising complements the intrusive approach, a cogent argument that institutions are 100 percent invested in students’ welfare. It is absolutely free, it further disseminates information that students need, and it strengthens the relationship between advisors and students. It can be administered spontaneously or with regimented organization. All in all, it constitutes an excellent addition to any administrator’s tool kit. </p> <p><em>D. Brent Barnard</em><em> is an Enrollment Specialist at El Centro College in Dallas, Texas. </em></p> <p><em>Opinions expressed in</em> Learning Abstracts <em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> Creating Administrative Teams: A Discussion With Community College Presidents urn:uuid:B5172C53-1422-1766-9AE10C0A6476AC63 2014-07-01T01:07:54Z 2014-06-30T09:06:00Z <p>Community college presidents discuss three facets of creating leadership teams.<strong> </strong></p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/leadership_abstracts.gif" alt="Leadership Abstract" /></p> <p>July 2014, Volume 27, Number 7</p> <p><em>By </em><em>Steve Nunez</em></p> <p>As community college budgets become tighter and accountability becomes more paramount, community college leaders are faced with some of the toughest challenges ever. At the same time, many of the most experienced leaders in higher education are planning to retire soon, leaving a leadership and experience void in colleges throughout the nation. In fact, some predict that up to 75 percent of community college presidents will retire within the next decade. Certainly, the creation of effective leadership teams that can navigate the difficult waters of leadership turnover, dwindling budgets, and increased accoutability is most critical to the survival of community colleges.</p> <p>In an effort to understand how community college leaders are dealing with these issues, the author interviewed five community college presidents in the fall of 2013. Most commonly, discussions centered on three facets of leadership: building effective leadership teams; providing leadership training to current team members; and hiring the right people to serve as administrative team members.</p> <p><strong>Building Effective Teams</strong></p> <p>The presidents were very concerned with building close-knit, trustworthy, hardworking teams. One said, “Without [effective] relationships, I can’t get anything else done.” He went on to indicate that when academic leaders think they make all of the decisions, it is a “big mistake.” Another said, “You are as good as your executive team.” In order to build effective teams, it’s important to “pay attention to the little things” in fostering those relationships, be accessible to everyone, and be open to others’ views. Building effective relationships is about “listening more and talking less,” which builds trust and team unity. As one president noted, “The most important stuff is people stuff, paper can wait.” </p> <p><strong>Providing Leadership Training</strong></p> <p>Providing leadership training and empowering employees is critical to creating and maintaining efficient leadership teams. One president indicated that he works individually with each of his team members to build their leadership skills and expects them to do the same with their own staff members. Therefore, leadership skills are passed down through the ranks. Other presidents host more formal leadership academies. These leadership academies often result in the discovery of new campus leaders, which may lead to their promotion. Other presidents encourage team members to expand their skills, knowledge, and networking by attending conferences and enrolling in graduate programs. Continuous professional development is critical to providing and maintaining leadership momentum.</p> <p><strong>Hiring the Right People</strong></p> <p>Certainly, hiring the right people is as important as enhancing the ones already there. In <em>Monday Morning Leadership</em> (2002), author David Cottrell emphasizes that good leaders must hire people who will fit with their leadership style, can articulate their vision, will work efficiently and effectively, and will be life-long learners. Cottrell states that in order to hire the right people, job interviews should be conducted multiple times to determine if the person is the best fit for the organization. Essentially, if an employee is important to the institution, then the hiring process should reflect this importance. Many of the community college presidents who were interviewed reiterated these thoughts in their own way.</p> <p>The presidents referred to using traditional techniques when hiring a new team member. Standard fare included using hiring committees composed of a wide swath of employee types (i.e., staff, faculty, and administration) to get a broad perspective on which candidate fits best with the institution. Conducting deep reference checks was another. However, the outliers proved to be more interesting than the norm.</p> <p>One president uses a lengthy interview process to evaluate candidates for his administrative team. The process includes a full day of on-campus interviews where the potential employee meets with the president, his leadership team, and others at the college, including faculty and staff. He concludes the interview process by taking each candidate out to dinner to observe interactions with other team members in a more social, less structured situation. Seeing candidates in a casual setting can be as enlightening as a formal interview, he said. Is the person collegial? Is the person polite to the wait staff? Is the person curious? Can this person fit in with the rest of the team? After the president has evaluated each candidate closely and has gathered feedback from others, he makes his choice about whom to hire. Cottrell (2002) believes that hiring the right people is one of the most important jobs of leaders and that the process should be laborious in order to find the right fit. This president is a clear practitioner of that creed. </p> <p>One president believes that a potential new team member must have an excellent understanding of the community college mission before he or she is hired. She is, therefore, clearly focused on finding not only the right skill set in the new team member, but also the right values. She builds teams and hires people by “looking for the values of the heart, looking for people who are compassionate, not here to equip their ego or résumé ,and [who] know that we are here to equip our students for life.” Certainly these attributes are needed traits of a community college leader who deals with students where they are and understands the transformative role of a community college.</p> <p>Other presidents were more focused on professional and cultural diversity. Teams should be a combination of new people, hired from outside the organization, and those who are promoted from within. Hiring from outside the organization is risky because, “if you don’t learn the culture [of an organization quickly], you can’t get things done,” but “new blood” brings fresh ideas and energy to an organization. Also of importance is hiring culturally diverse team members, as this creates cultural competence. “You may not be a member of an underrepresented group, but you need to work with, appreciate, and not just tolerate the diversity of the community,” said one president. The combination of mixing new and old blood and cultural diversity can create a unique melting pot that helps an institution respond more effectively to changing conditions.</p> <p>Another president, who expects his leadership team to be very action oriented, said he hires individuals who are “players.” He is looking for people who are decision makers and people of action and participation. Interview questions center on major decisions that they have made professionally. He also asks a number of questions about what activities, outside their main duties, they been involved in. Have they been involved in community outreach, strategic planning, or hiring other employees? He wants an individual who gets outside of his or her comfort zone, works within the institution as a whole, and can operate outside traditional silos. This would be especially true for team members working in small colleges where they are often required to wear many hats. These make the best leaders because they are willing to “get things done.”</p> <p>Community college presidents find administrative team building to be their most important responsibility. However, building a quality team is a twofold process. First, leaders already on campus must have regular leadership training and professional development. Second, vacancies in the organization must be filled with the highest quality individuals who fit with the personality and leadership style of the president and the culture of the institution. Building these effective teams should help community colleges navigate the difficult waters ahead. </p> <table border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td><span style="font-family: arial; font-size:9px;"> <p><strong>Resources</strong></p> <p>Cottrell, D. (2002). <em>Monday morning leadership: 8 mentoring sessions you can't afford to miss</em>. Dallas, TX: Cornerstone Leadership Institute.</p> <p><em>Steve Nunez is Dean of Instructional Research and Planning at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois.</em><br /> <em>Opinions expressed in</em><em> </em>Leadership Abstracts<em> </em><em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> </span></td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> </p> Simplifying Complexity in the Student Experience: A Tool to Help Colleges Devise and Implement Relatively Low-Cost Solutions urn:uuid:B51615B5-1422-1766-9A4263572C1AC6BA 2014-07-01T01:07:56Z 2014-06-30T09:06:00Z <p>The Community College Research Center releases a practitioner packet to help colleges support academic decision making on the part of students.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><img src="/publication/images/showcase.gif" alt="Innovation Showcase" /></p> <p>July 2014, Volume 9, Number 7</p> <p><em>By Shanna Smith Jaggars and Jeffrey Fletcher</em></p> <p>Community colleges serve a huge variety of students—traditional and nontraditional, daytime and evening, part-time and full-time, as well as career- and academic transfer-oriented. To meet the wide-ranging needs of their student population, they offer a complex variety of programs and courses. This vast range of choices can be confusing for students, and can result in students making unexamined decisions that may waste their time and money or divert them from a promising academic or career path. </p> <p>Community colleges want to better help students navigate the wide range of choices they face, yet because they operate within significant financial constraints,  they often have student-counselor ratios that exceed 1,000:1. In response to this dilemma, the <a href="http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/" target="_blank">Community College Research Center</a> (CCRC) has recently released a practitioner packet, <a href="http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/publications/simplifying-complexity-student-experience.html" target="_blank"><em>Simplifying Complexity in the Student Experience</em>.</a> This packet is designed to help colleges identify areas where students struggle due to excessive complexity in the process of intake, orientation, and course selection, and devise and implement relatively low-cost solutions that can improve the student experience.</p> <p>The practitioner packet is based on work CCRC conducted at and with Macomb Community College, a large comprehensive suburban community college outside of Detroit. In 2011, Macomb leaders—suspecting that overly complex intake and registration systems were hindering students from making optimal course, program, and transfer choices—embarked on a redesign effort to help simplify academic decision-making for students. </p> <p>The packet breaks down the process of exploratory research, reform implementation, and refinement so that other colleges can undertake similar redesigns. Part one describes data-gathering methods colleges can use to help them understand how students experience intake, orientation, registration, advising, and the overall process of academic decision-making. Part two illustrates how colleges can use these data to identify areas of confusion, and engage stakeholders in devising and implementing solutions. Part three explains how to evaluate redesigned processes and procedures in order to assess their impact and further refine them. Part four is an appendix that includes data collection and project management materials. Throughout the packet, Macomb Community College is referenced to demonstrate how this process played out in a real community college setting.</p> <p>CCRC hopes that this packet will give colleges both a vision of the possible, and the tools they need to embark on changes that can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the academic decision-making process for students. In a companion <a href="http://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/publications/redesigning-student-intake-information-provision-processes.html" target="_blank">report</a>, CCRC examines additional possibilities for low-cost improvements to help students navigate college, including simplifying program and transfer structures, more explicitly teaching students how to self-advise, and leveraging online e-advising tools to make advisors’ work more in-depth, effective, and efficient.</p> <p><em>Shanna Smith Jaggars is the Assistant Director and Jeffrey Fletcher is a Senior Research Assistant at Community College Research Center, Teachers College,<strong> </strong>Columbia University.</em></p> <p><em>Opinions expressed in</em><em> </em>Innovation Showcase<em> </em><em>are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the League for Innovation in the Community College.</em></p> PATHS Program Addresses Leadership Crisis in Higher Education urn:uuid:B51441F1-1422-1766-9AC634BFFCBAE46E 2014-07-01T01:07:48Z 2014-08-04T01:08:00Z The League for Innovation in the Community College <p>Open Doors Group (ODG), the League for Innovation in the Community College, and SoftChalk LLC are pleased to announce that registration is now open for PATHS, an eight-week online program designed to accelerate career paths for higher education professionals. PATHS will address the pending leadership crisis by providing a unique, career-boosting opportunity for college and university employees who have started their management careers or aspire to leadership positions.<br /> <br /> Designed and led by a cadre of successful leaders and other experts, PATHS will offer nine hours of self-paced online training from September 8 – October 21, 2014 plus a three-hour, <em>Live Highlight Session</em> webinar from 2pm-5pm EDT on Wednesday, September 24. The PATHS program will focus on what it takes to become a leader in today’s higher education environment. The curriculum will be presented in three modules: Becoming a Higher Education Leader, Mindful Leadership, and Evaluating the Landscape: Operating in a Changing Environment. In addition, an extensive mentor-matching program tailored to the career aspirations of each participant will be available for the first 50 people who register for PATHS by August 1st. "It is a privilege to work with ODG and SoftChalk on this vital, long-awaited program that will prove to be essential for aspirants in education to take on leadership roles," said Chris Hennessey, Marketing Director, League for Innovation in the Community College.<br /> <br /> Affordable and convenient, PATHS is egalitarian in admissions, and elitist in content and results. Visit the <a href="/paths/" target="_blank">http://www.league.org/paths/</a> website for more information.</p> <p><a href="http://www.prlog.org/12333266-paths-program-addresses-leadership-crisis-in-higher-education.html" target="_blank">Click here</a> to read the full article online.</p> Member Spotlight: Peninsula College urn:uuid:B512762C-1422-1766-9A0471A07C087067 2014-07-01T01:07:24Z 2014-06-30T10:06:00Z <p>Peninsula College leads the way in the development of composite recycling training.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><strong>Leading the Way in Training for Recycling Composites</strong></p> <p>The proliferation of composite materials used in our aerospace, transportation, infrastructure, and recreation sectors is creating a growing need for waste management and sustainable practices. Couple this with current and pending legislation, and it becomes clear why businesses need to focus on new recycling technologies. Although many companies have extensive research and development efforts underway, including both reclamation and re-use of composite materials, training people for careers that utilize recycling technologies is new for educational institutions.</p> <p> One college helping to lead the way is Peninsula College (PC) in Port Angeles, WA. Located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, PC has long been a forerunner in developing workforce training programs that meet local and regional industry needs. Thus, it is no surprise that PC should also be breaking new ground in the development of composite recycling training and working with industry and other educational partners to do so.</p> <p><img src="/publication/leagueconnections/images/2014-07_PeninsulaCollege_Pic1.jpg" alt="" hspace="8" vspace="8" width="321" align="left" />In partnership with the Center of Excellence (COE) for Marine Manufacturing and Technology at Skagit Valley College, also in Washington State, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), PC is engaged in a multiyear composite material recycling project focused on technical training. The training seeks to expose students to the challenges and opportunities involved in the reclamation and reuse of composite materials, coupling fabrication and design with lifecycle studies and research.</p> <p>With funding from COE, PC offered an introductory course on recycling composites during the 2012-2013 academic year. Dr. Brian Pillay, professor of materials science and engineering at UAB’s Materials Processing and Applications Development Center, traveled to Port Angeles to conduct a seminar with PC students during the spring quarter.  </p> <p>After the introductory seminar, PC instructor Norm Nelson took over the course and continues to collaborate with Dr. Pillay and UAB graduate students on course content.  Curriculum includes composite material lifecycle analysis, a survey of re-use innovations and university research, and a case study on an Olympic Peninsula company that is the largest domestic producer of snowboards and skis and an industry leader in the use of sustainable materials.  </p> <p>The initial course was the outgrowth of collaborative efforts by the American Composites Manufacturers Association and its Green Composites Council (GCC), which helped facilitate national conversations on composite recycling challenges. PC is a member of GCC and the only two-year institution on the council, providing it with a unique opportunity to align workforce training with current and future industry needs. </p> <p>Other partners include Janicki Industries (Sedro Woolly, WA), Angeles Composite Technologies Inc. (Port Angeles), and New World Yachts (Anacortes, WA). The port of Port Angeles also plays an important role as an advocate for economic development and a leader in the Advanced Composites Center initiative, a statewide partnership of business, government, and educational organizations focused on supporting the composites industry.  </p> <p>With continued funding from COE, PC offered an expanded course during spring quarter of 2014, which included multiple visits to industry manufacturing sites.  During these visits, PC students assessed waste stream production and collected scrap materials for analysis and processing in collaboration with UAB. By combining PC’s workforce training expertise with UAB’s research capabilities, students will continue to learn practical and theoretical issues and be exposed to engineering breakthroughs redefining work environments. This combination is invaluable for students seeking to understand where the industry is headed, while simultaneously seeking a place within it.  </p> <p>Contact instructor <a href="mailto:nnelson@pencol.edu">Norm Nelson</a> for additional information about PC’s <a href="http://pencol.edu/proftech/composites-technology" target="_blank">Composites Technology program</a>. </p> Community Colleges and Public Health: Prototype Curricular Models Available for Public Comment urn:uuid:5DF72BE4-1422-1766-9AE0CE6108A64659 2014-06-02T12:06:47Z 2014-06-05T10:06:00Z <p>From June 3 through July 15, 2014, a set of draft prototype curricular models for associate degree and certificate programs in public health will be available for vetting by community college and public health educators, public health professionals, and other interested parties.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p>A set of draft prototype curricular models for associate degree and certificate programs in public health is now available for vetting by community college and public health educators, public health professionals, and other interested parties. The models are intended to assist community college educators and their public health partners in developing courses and programs in public health for community college students seeking credentials and careers in public health. All are invited to review and comment on the draft models in an online process at <a href="/ccph/" target="_blank">www.league.org/ccph</a> through July 15. <br /><br /> Development of the prototype curricular models represents the second phase of the Community Colleges and Public Health (CC&amp;PH) Project, established by the <a href="http://www.asph.org/document.cfm?page=1184" target="_blank">Framing the Future: The Second 100 Years of Education for Public Health</a> Task Force convened by the <a href="http://www.aspph.org/" target="_blank">Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH)</a>. The League for Innovation in the Community College is leading the Community Colleges and Public Health Project in partnership with ASPPH.<br /><br /> In the project's first phase (2012-2013), an expert panel representing community colleges, public health programs at colleges and universities, and public health professions developed a report consisting of foundational and consensus statements and recommendations concerning the role of community colleges on the continuum of education for public health. The report was vetted among community college and public health educators and public health professionals, and feedback was incorporated into the revised interim report. See the Phase 1 Interim Report at <a href="/ccph/" target="_blank">www.league.org/ccph</a>. <br /><br /> In September 2014, the prototype curricular models will be submitted to the Task Force for possible inclusion in its final report, anticipated for release in advance of the 100-year anniversary of the famous Welch-Rose report that launched graduate education for public health in the U.S.<br /><br /> The prototype curricular models were developed in cooperation with organizations representing public health education and practice, including the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA), and Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP). The prototype curricular models will be revised based on feedback obtained through the current vetting process. <br /><br /> The second phase of the project is supported by a $45,000 grant awarded under a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) Grant Number 5U36OE000002.<br /> <br /> For additional information on the Community Colleges and Public Health Project, see <a href="/ccph/" target="_blank">www.league.org/ccph</a>.</p> New Website Could Help Millions of U.S. Students Attain Their College Degree urn:uuid:48A0566A-1422-1766-9A126567B528FD1C 2014-05-29T08:05:28Z 2014-05-30T08:05:00Z <p>Free NROC Project website offers a personalized learning experience for remedial math students.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p align="center"><img src="http://www.league.org/publication/leagueconnections/images/2014-06_Nroc_Edready.jpg" alt="" height="150" /></p> <p>Each year about half of U.S. high school graduates who begin college are forced to take remedial math before they can take college courses for credit. For most, this remediation requirement is unexpected and a substantial barrier to earning a college degree. Only 22% of students who face math remediation are able to finish college. EdReady.org, a free website for all learners, was launched this Spring to help solve this problem. EdReady is the brainchild of The NROC Project (NROC), a national, non-profit effort funded by the Bill &amp; Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and sustaining institutional members. Nearly six years of research and development guided by educators from leading academic institutions nationwide has led to the creation of a novel approach to math education that gives each student a personalized learning experience.</p> <p>“As we designed and built EdReady, we realized that when learning is tailored to the specific needs of the individual, the whole concept of ‘remediation’ becomes flawed,” explained Gary Lopez, Founder of The NROC Project. “Since EdReady creates a custom course of study using a student’s individual math learning needs in combination with the specific math requirements of the school or certificate they are pursuing, the learning experience is really the first step along the path to their college degree, not an unexpected hurdle to starting college.”</p> <p>Early evidence suggests that a personalized learning experience changes a student’s mindset about college math readiness. "The dropout rate for the traditional approach to math remediation was very high," said Judy Lowe, Assistant Vice President at Chattanooga State College. “With EdReady, students are inspired to stick with it, improve their math skills, and pursue their degrees.”</p> <p><a href="http://www.thenrocproject.org/press-release-edready-may-22/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to read the full article online.</p> <p><a href="http://www.thenrocproject.org/" target="_blank">Click here</a> to learn more about The NROC Project, a League for Innovation Platinum Corporate Partner. </p> Member Spotlight: New Mexico State University Alamogordo urn:uuid:3E5C3C3C-1422-1766-9AA9A1E16335DFF5 2014-05-27T08:05:33Z 2014-06-02T07:06:00Z <p>New Mexico State University Alamogordo ensures quality online course design with Quality Matters.</p> The League for Innovation in the Community College <p><strong>Quality Assurance of Online Classes</strong></p> <p>An anonymous person stated, “eLearning doesn't just ‘happen’! It requires careful planning and implementation.” <a href="http://nmsua.edu/" target="_blank">New Mexico State University Alamogordo </a> (NMSU-A) understands this statement and is working diligently to become an institution known for the quality of its online instruction. <br /> <br /> Online education began at NMSU-A in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, interest in online education began to grow among a small but significant percentage of the faculty, primarily as a means of providing greater access to students in NMSU-A’s 6,627 square mile service area. The number of courses offered online went from 14 (3.86 percent of course offerings) in spring 2004 to 195 (39.6 percent of course offerings) in spring 2012, and from 4.5 percent to 51.9 percent of total credit hours. With this snowball effect of online offerings, NMSU-A recognized that it was time to restructure its distance education program to ensure effectiveness and quality. <br /><br /> Best practices confirm that substantial professional development activities must be provided to help faculty acquire the level of instructional design skills necessary to develop quality online courses. Faculty must be given tools that will enable them to design, develop, and teach successful online courses. After reviewing best practices and exploring various methods, NMSU-A determined that the principles, standards, mission statement, and rubric of the <a href="https://www.qualitymatters.org/" target="_blank">Quality Matters™ Program </a> (QM) was the best option to achieve and maintain a high level of quality assurance for online classes. QM is a nationally known and respected program that is directly based on best practices and focuses on course design.<br /><br /> A NMSU-A online quality assurance plan was developed using Quality Matters as one of the foundations of restructure. A full-time faculty member was reassigned to oversee online education and to provide consistency in applying QM standards and NMSU-A online teaching protocols. This position, Director of Online Quality Assurance, remains a faculty position to instill the need for a peer focused review system.<br /><br /> An Online Quality Assurance Team, led by the Director of Online Quality Assurance and made up of QM certified faculty peer reviewers, leads internal course reviews according to QM standards, recommends policy changes pertaining to online education, and works closely to help train faculty who teach online courses. The team designed a template based on several QM standards that is now used by all faculty.</p> <p> NMSU-A is currently in the process of taking all existing courses through QM standards-based internal peer review process within a three-year period. Courses will be scheduled for review at the rate of at least one-third of existing courses each year. Before a new course can be taught online, the course design must be complete and approval given by the peer review team. Each semester, some of the courses approved by the internal review team are submitted for official QM peer review.<br /><br /> All faculty teaching online or hybrid courses have completed the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric course. New faculty members are trained in QM standards, online pedagogy, and the NMSU-A learning management system before teaching distance education courses.  <br /><br /> Professor Kathy Roark-Diehl believes utilizing QM standards is making a difference. </p> <blockquote> <p> As a faculty member, I have always been proud of my assignment design, but working through QM showed me that my instructions were not always as clear as I believed them to be. Gaining a better understanding of course navigation online has added new depth and clarity to the way I design all elements of a course, be it online or face-to-face. This new clarity is already paying off, making my role that of a facilitator of learning, and not facilitator of instructions.</p> </blockquote> <p> NMSU-A is excited about the opportunity to truly invest in the overall quality of online education. As the first year of the plan comes to a close, the effects can already be seen. A student in a Quality Matters-approved course stated, “In the last 3 years of college that I have had, I have never had such a well-structured organized course nor have I had such a prompt, efficient, and dedicated instructor.”  <br /><br /> NMSU-A is demonstrating that quality online education really does matter by working to improve student success with engaging, well-designed courses taught by caring and responsive faculty. <br /><br /> <a href="http://nmsua.edu/quality/" target="_blank">Click here </a> for more information about distance education at NMSU-A.<br /><br /> Contact: <a href="mailto:swheeler@nmsu.edu">Sherrell Wheeler</a>, Director of Online Quality Assurance, New Mexico State University Alamogordo, 575.439.3668. </p> <p> </p>