Michigan Colleges Pool Resources to Enhance Faculty Development

Article excerpt

Michigan Colleges Pool Resources to Enhance Faculty Development

It would be an understatement to say that critics of postsecondary education have pointed to the need for improving the quality of instruction in many of today's colleges and universities. Critics of higher education are demanding an analysis of college teaching, its quality and its standards.

Yet it is often difficult, if not impossible, for individual colleges and universities to meet needs in the area of faculty instructional development by designing and producing cost-effective materials on their own. The consortium approach is one solution.

Eighteen of the 29 community colleges in Michigan currently belong to such a consortium. In partnership with The University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D), charter members of this consortium are: Macomb Community College, Monroe County Community College, Mott Community College, Oakland Community College, Schoolcraft College and Washtenaw Community College.

Other Michigan colleges that support the consortium are: Bay de Noc, Delta, Gogebic, Henry Ford, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kellogg, Kirtland, Lake Michigan, Lansing, Mid-Michigan and Southwestern.

University Collaboration

Since many colleges and universities are employing a large number of part-time faculty to accommodate rising student enrollments, there is a recognized need to produce cost-effective faculty development materials. The Michigan consortium's primary purpose is to combine the resources necessary for funding the development and production of such materials.

The Michigan Colleges' Consortium for Faculty Development (MCCFD) began when a faculty member from the School of Education at UM-D met with representatives from three community colleges (Monroe, Oakland and Scholcraft).

They discussed ways in which UM-D could serve community colleges by facilitating workshops for a target audience of part-time or adjunct faculty. Targeted instructors were highly credentialed in their respective fields of specialization but often did not have experience in college teaching and classroom management.

From such a pragmatic beginning, the consortium has expanded its efforts over the past two years to encompass a variety of activities. The key result is that it has produced a series of faculty development modules (six videotapes and six monographs).

Each addresses one of the following topics: course goals and objectives; the first-day process; planning the lesson; planning instruction for higher levels of thought; cultural communication; and assessing classroom evaluation methods.

Conversation Pieces

The six professionally filmed videotapes in the College Teaching Series have been developed for the purpose of stimulating group discussion among faculty on the various topics within each module. …