Influencer Strategies Toward Implementing a Network of Support and Development for Adjunct Faculty

Desired Results

Odessa College will leverage technology (especially Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate and other synchronous communication tools) to implement a network of support and professional development for Adjunct faculty.  Using synchronous and asynchronous communication tools, instructional leaders and faculty mentors will regularly communicate with part-time faculty to help them become acculturated to Odessa College. This will also provide a new layer of support for the adjunct faculty. Through synchronous technologies (Collaborate, Skype, FaceTime) adjunct faculty will have opportunities to participate in team meetings and professional learning communities, giving them a voice in planning and strategising to serve the students of Odessa College. Using Blackboard learn, professional development experiences will be developed that will provide the adjunct faculty with opportunities to strengthen their skills and abilities, and help them to better engage with their learners.

Key performance indicators that will be used to measure the efficacy of the network of support and professional development will include the following:

  1. Adjunct faculty participation in departmental/institutional meetings, using synchronous communication tools such as Blackboard Collaborate, Skype, FaceTime.
  2. Adjunct faculty participation in professional development activities using Blackboard Learn.
  3. Adjunct faculty satisfaction, attitudes, and perceptions, gauged through surveys administered through Blackboard.

Because part time faculty at Odessa College have never been required to participate in development activities, or in departmental/institutional meetings, no data exists to serve as a benchmark. Student success and completion in adjunct led courses will also be monitored. Additionally, an application will be developed that will allow adjunct faculty to track development and participation departmental/institutional meetings, to provide feedback on development activities, and offer suggestions for professional development opportunities they would like to see. Through the Faculty Support Studio, an organization shell in Blackboard Learn, adjunct faculty will have access to orientation and training tools currently not provided to them previously. Progress in training and development activities will be measured through Grade Center in this course shell; the adjuncts will also log their professional development (PD) activities in the Odessa College PD app. Through Faculty Support Studio, adjunct faculty will complete annual surveys to provide insight into faculty attitudes and into training activities they would like to have included.

Vital Behaviors To Be Changed

Part time faculty currently are not required to participate in departmental meetings, professional learning communities (PLCs), or professional development.

The vital behaviours to be changed include

  • Attitudes toward adjunct faculty:
    • Our part time faculty are a rapidly growing part of the instructional force at Odessa College. We need to set expectations that those part time instructors are held to the same standards as our full time faculty with regard to student completion and student success.
      Behaviour to be changed: Part time faculty will participate in professional development and departmental/institutional activities, which will help them improve their student completion and success rates.
    • Our instructional leaders and all of our faculty need to connect with the part time instructors to ensure that they feel connected to their learners and the institution.
      Behaviour to be changed: Part time faculty will be contributors to departmental and the institutional conversations.
  • Attitudes, perceptions, and satisfaction of adjunct faculty:
    • Our part time faculty are a vital part of the instructional force, and should have opportunities to contribute to the institution and to grow professionally.
      Behaviour to be changed: Part time faculty will participate in departmental meetings and PLCs, and in professional development opportunities.

Organisational Influencers

  • Dean of Teaching and Learning and team
  • Chief of Staff
  • Vice President of Instruction
  • OC Global Team (Instructional design and professional development)
  • Key faculty: Faculty who have demonstrated success in implementing new strategies and initiatives learned in professional development will be identified to serve as
    from each school, particularly those part time faculty who have chosen to participate in professional development opportunities offered by Odessa College, especially those who are currently participating in the Online Teaching and Learning Certification Program.

One of the major influencers at Odessa College is the President, who is very much a visionary and incredibly progressive. In the implementation of the Network of Support and Professional Development for Part Time Faculty, the key influencers will be Odessa College’s Chief of Staff. This position is largely responsible for all innovation and new development at Odessa College.

Currently, two adjunct faculty members at Odessa College are participating in the Online Teaching and Learning Certification Program. Both have expressed that they feel this experience (a series of six courses that spans the course of a year) has been very beneficial to them in the development and delivery of content for their online classes. They both have indicated that through this series of courses they have implemented strategies for improving instructor presence, and for engaging with their learners in the online environment. Sharing their stories and their success will help in recruiting additional adjunct faculty for that program, but also in demonstrating the value of the professional development experiences that will be available to the adjunct faculty.

We will use data from her courses to document the efficacy of this program. This will be used to influence other part time faculty to participate in development activities. These part time faculty members have agreed to assist in developing professional development experiences for other faculty, including adjunct faculty, which will help to influence other faculty members.

The Dean of Teaching and Learning will be a critical force in influencing the faculty, both full time and part time.This position has been instrumental in changing the instructional culture with regard to developing and measuring outcomes at the course level, the program level, and the institutional level, and has worked to instill a culture of open communication and support for the departments and full-time faculty. This will be expanded to include adjunct faculty through this project. Additionally, this position has led the development of a full-time faculty mentoring program that pairs seasoned faculty members with new faculty, to help them navigate their first year at Odessa College. Faculty mentors are selected based on several criteria, including their participation in development activities and professional learning communities, their success and completion rates, and their general attitude. The mentoring program will be expanded to include adjunct faculty mentees to ensure that the adjuncts are immersed in a network of support and development.

The OC Global Team, consisting of two instructional design/educational technologists will assist in developing engaging development experiences for all faculty that can be delivered through Blackboard Learn, the learning management system (LMS). This team will work with the Teaching and Learning team to develop professional development activities that will provide opportunities for all faculty to learn about new tools and new strategies, and to apply those strategies in their own courses so that they can authentically connect the experiences with the needs of their learners.

Finally, the Vice President of Instruction will enforce the requirements for adjunct faculty. Working with the Dean of Teaching and Learning and Chief of Staff, the Vice President of Instruction will help to emphasise the importance of participating in a plan of support and development for part time instructors.

 

Sources of Influence

Source 1: Personal Motivation Source 2: Personal Ability
How will part time faculty be personally motivated to participate in professional development and departmental / institutional meetings?
Using data and anecdotal evidence from adjunct faculty that have chosen to participate in long-term professional development activities, other part time faculty will see the benefits of participating in the sustained development activities. Surveys will be administered to allow part time faculty to identify training activities they feel will benefit them most, giving them a voice in the process. 
How will opportunities for part time faculty be provided so that they are not prohibitive based on time and distance?

Departmental/institutional meetings will be offered at varied times, and will be made available via synchronous technology, to ensure that remote part time faculty have opportunities to participate in the meetings, giving them a voice in departmental and institutional processes.

Professional Development activities will be implemented in shorter formats and delivered digitally through Blackboard Learn, offering part time faculty opportunities to participate  at any time, without being prohibitively time intensive.

Source 3: Social Motivation Source 4: Social Ability
Who will serve as models to ensure that part time faculty are encouraged to participate in meetings and development activities?

Full time faculty mentors will be selected based on key factors, including attitudes toward development, participation in development activities, and student success. These mentors will serve to help socially motivate the part time faculty, modeling the effects of development on their own courses.

How will mentors and other influencers help the part time faculty through development activities?

Mentors will maintain contact with the part time faculty through asynchronous technologies including email and discussion forums in the Faculty Support Studio, and through synchronous technologies including Blackboard Collaborate, Skype and/or FaceTime. Through this regular contact, the mentors will assist with coaching and guiding the part time faculty through development activities.

Source 5: Structural Motivation Source 6: Structural Ability
What external motivators will be used to encourage participation?

Pay for adjunct faculty will increase from $1,600 per three-hour course to $1,800 per three-hour course (with some variation for specific courses); as part of the change to this tiered pay system, part time faculty will be required to participate in certain basic training activities, such as Blackboard 101 and Quality Course Components to ensure that they understand the LMS and the Odessa College expectations for course quality. A three-tiered pay structure will be implemented to encourage participation in various activities, with the base pay of $1,800 per three-hours course, and increases for those who participate in additional training activities and departmental meetings, and an additional increase for those part time faculty who participate in further development activities, including developing and/or delivery of professional development activities.

How will Odessa College ensure that part time faculty have the tools they need to be successful in this initiative?

 

Part time faculty who are remote teach their courses through Blackboard Learn, the LMS used by Odessa College. Opportunities for participation in departmental and institutional meetings, and in professional development activities will be created in the Blackboard LMS, to ensure that the part time faculty can participate. Employing the delivery of training activities through the LMS provides the additional benefit of allowing the part time faculty to have a student experience, helping them to better understand how their students move through the courses the part time faculty are delivering.

 


References

Harapnuik, D. (2016). 4 Effective ways to find and test vital behaviors [Blog]. It’s about learning: Creating significant learning environments. Retrieved from http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6253

Meier, J. (n.d.). Crucial moments [Blog]. Sources of Insight: Better insights, better results. Retrieved from http://sourcesofinsight.com/crucial-moments/

Meier, J. D. (n.d.). Vital Behaviors [Blog]. Retrieved from http://sourcesofinsight.com/vital-behaviors/

Patterson, K., & Grenny, J. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change, Second Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.