Cambrian College Teaching & Learning Innovation Hub

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Photo of a confusing maze from Pixabay licensed CC0

Finding Out What Faculty Want

Submitted by Amy Cliff, Faculty Developer in the Teaching & Learning Innovation Hub

Photo of a confusing maze from Pixabay licensed CC0
Photo of a confusing maze from Pixabay licensed CC0

Challenge: Faculty have been expressing interest in professional development (PD) but are not attending scheduled face-to-face sessions in the Hub. 

Finding a solution: Conducting faculty outreach through 1-to-1 informal coffee break style chats.

As the new seconded Faculty Developer in the Teaching and Learning Hub I started the 2018 academic year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I thought I was going to have a semester plan filled with different professional development sessions and the Hub team would seamlessly continue changing the academic lives of our college community.

I was wrong.

Well… I was half wrong… Okay, okay, ⅔ wrong.

How did I so easily forget that faculty are BUSY! Wow are we ever busy! I was there, doing the grind that faculty do. I should have realized that, just like our students, faculty need flexible and customizable learning opportunities.

The Hub team quickly realized that most faculty need PD in the moment and don’t have time to trek down to our space to partake in face-to-face PD sessions. Especially not during the time they are in contact with students. I remember feeling like if I even ventured down to the cafeteria for lunch that somehow I would fall too far behind. I often ended up eating at my desk, surrounded by all the marking I had to do.

So, instead of wallowing in the fact that our PD sessions are not being attended as much as we’d like, I took to the hallways. I am currently doing faculty outreach on a 1-to-1, or small group basis. I’ve started inviting faculty for a quick coffee break to pick their brain about what, where, how, and when they want to access PD during the year. Let’s not forget, they do want PD! We have feedback data that indicates their interest in it.

I have only had coffee chats with faculty from about 10 programs, but these conversations have been so meaningful to both myself and the faculty members. They have expressed that it is nice to have their voices heard and reminded that the Hub team is here to support them throughout the year and not just in the non-contact time.

It has also provided me with data and feedback that an online form just can’t capture. Although my eyes are not as bright and my tail not as bushy, I have newfound energy and am looking forward to some new directions that we are about to embark on. More to come as we continue to build on this new direction! 

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  • Donna Fry @fryed March 11, 2019 9:26 am

    It’s wonderful to see faculty needs at the centre of your work.

    I wonder what difference it would make to change the language to “professional learning” instead of “professional development”? By empowering faculty to own their learning, to seek what they need to meet student learning needs, you take steps toward becoming a true learning organization.

    This helps you shift from a culture where learning is provided, to an organization where learning is sought.

    It’s a very powerful shift.

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