Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Not Dean School: Leadership Development for Faculty Where They Are

Academic journal article The Journal of Faculty Development

Not Dean School: Leadership Development for Faculty Where They Are

Article excerpt

Leadership development for faculty too often is designed as training for administration, but faculty demonstrate leadership in the classroom, in their departments, college-wide, and beyond. To fully realize and leverage this leadership potential, colleges must design opportunities for faculty to hone their knowledge and skills as active participants in furthering institutional priorities-to improve teaching and learning and institutional effectiveness. The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) designed and implemented its Faculty Leadership Fellows Program in 2016-2017 to strengthen faculty leadership from multiple perspectives, including pedagogy, mentoring, and high impact practices-not assuming preparation for administration, but engaging faculty in their current role(s). This essay will provide an overview of the Leadership Fellows Program, which is informed by research on educational leadership (Aspen Institute, 2013; Shugart, 2013; Kotter, 1995), faculty development (Aspen Institute, 2014; Cooper & Pagotto, 2003), and positive organizational scholarship (Cameron & Dutton, 2003; Cameron, 2012; Worline & Dutton, 2017) as well as leadership competencies developed by the AACC (2013) and perspectives on educational equity (Malcom-Piqueux & Bensimon, 2015).

This body of research informed our program design process, the definition of guiding principles, and a conceptual framework for BMCC's faculty leadership development. The following guiding principles shaped program curriculum, implementation, and evaluation:

1. Students can learn anything under the right conditions. Rather than viewing poor preparation and students' life circumstances as insurmountable barriers, we must be deeply engaged in examining our own practices and developing theories that create the conditions under which all students can learn.

2. We must share responsibility for the quality of pedagogy at our college. Teaching must be public, not remain behind closed doors, in order for learning outcomes to significantly improve. There is overwhelming evidence that we can design for improved student success. When colleges have a culture based on student success, faculty consistently invent ways to improve student outcomes and share their inventions with their colleagues.

3. Significantly improving student success requires strong, visible and pervasive pedagogical leadership, such that the most effective practices are recognized and scaled. Put more directly, faculty are the mechanism for scaling success, so it is critical to engage faculty in leadership development from where they are, not just from formal leadership roles.

4. Developing a leadership identity is an intentional process that weaves personal and professional narratives, both individual and collective, based on history and the fictive future. Storytelling is essential to the development of leadership identity.

5. Successful colleges collaboratively design for success, a process that begins with dialogue and a collective understanding about what student success looks like in the classroom and across the institution. There must be inquiry into what's working and what needs attention-all driving a faculty culture of student success. Designing faculty leadership programming must follow this same collaborative design principle.

6. Building open and productive relationships across departments and disciplines, among tenured and untenured faculty, and among faculty and administrators is vital to creating a collaborative culture designed for student success, one that practices and celebrates teaching excellence, the review of evidence, and ongoing experimentation. We need to be able to have different kinds of conversations.

The BMCC Faculty Leadership Fellows Program included a week-long seminar in January 2017 and five follow-up sessions throughout the spring semester on specific topics generated by the participants. Fellows were nominated either by their department chair or by a member of the President's Cabinet. …

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