Mission of the Mary Clare Development Center
The mission of the Mary Clare Development Center is to support faculty, promote excellence in teaching, and promote professional development opportunities. The Mary Clare Development Center offers a range of programs to enhance teaching and learning based on pedagogical theory and rich in creativity. The Mary Clare Development Center is a dedicated area that fosters interdisciplinary discussion where faculty can deliberately plan and assess. The Mary Clare Development Center provides training for new technological strategies used in the classroom, in online learning, and in distance learning.
The Mary Clare Development Center (MCDC) is guided by the Trocaire College 2020 Strategic Plan which places “student success” at the highest-level desirable outcome. To that end, the Mary Clare Development Center, under the guidance of the Coordinator, will work with faculty, staff, and leadership to reach for excellence and innovation in teaching and learning, inspire continued professional growth, and to foster a community of practice
focused on collegial collaboration and positive results.
- Connect faculty exemplary practitioners through scheduled events, workshops, action research teams, and opportunities to share successes.
- Engage faculty with research-proven, creative, and innovative solutions to both common and unique challenges in higher education, including the purposeful use of technology tools for teaching and learning.
- Model best practices and an inclusive and differentiated environment so that all are welcome and willing to grow as informed practitioners.
- Inspire faculty to embrace continued growth.
Stop by and visit the MCDC in Main Campus room #460!
Faculty Development Plan and Rationale
It is the mission of The Mary Clare Development Center to support faculty in their pursuit of a rich and satisfying career at Trocaire College. The Mary Clare Development Center will work towards dynamic faculty development. Research shows that faculty retention and longevity is an important component to student satisfaction and that administrators should use professional development as a tool for faculty retention rather a driver of student satisfaction” (Kane, Shaw, Pank, Salley, & Snider, 2016, p. 113). This requires a dynamic approach to faculty development which not only focuses on student satisfaction and assessment data, but also focuses on improvement. By utilizing research-based best practices, focused action research projects, and existing data on assessment and satisfaction, we can move towards a paradigm of improvement, which will offer us actionable information for professional growth (Roscoe, 2017). This shift will serve a more focused and practical application in the classroom which will directly impact student success.
Faculty Development Organization
The organization of The Mary Clare Development Center is as follows:
Faculty development at Trocaire College is directly connected to the Strategic Plan and focused on student success. In order to live the vision to transform lives, our goal in The Mary Clare Development Center is to directly and positively impact faculty and student success through:
- Focused faculty development workshops on pedagogy and teaching strategies for student success, retention, and personal and professional growth.
- An organized and robust opportunity for collegial collaboration with the goal of continued professional growth and career advancement, creativity and experimentation, and success.
- 1:1 faculty development meetings to address “just in time” needs and individual professional growth plans.
- Group, department, committee workshops focused on whole-group needs.
- Guest speakers and experts in the field to enrich and address specific topics as needed.
- Focused faculty development initiatives tied directly to practice in the form of action research groups (see Act Up! section).
- Faculty presentations on progress, action research results, conference take-aways, etc.
Faculty Development via The Mary Clare Development Center (MCDC) will take several forms. One on one consultations will include both planned and drop-in appointments. In some ways, this addresses “just in time teaching” noted as effective in the research (McGee, Stokes & Nadolsky, 2016; Cupita & Andrea, 2016). Supplementing this, the MCDC will also offer monthly “Food for Thought” presentations/discussions on a chosen thematic topic (for example, using the writing process for large projects, how to engage students in critical thinking, rubric design and use, etc.). These may be offered in the mornings (light breakfast included), afternoons (lunch) or late afternoon or evenings (snacks provided) as a way to service all faculty.
The MCDC will also host and manage the Faculty Development Day(s) (typically in fall and spring) and offer speakers, discussions, break-out sessions, new faculty onboarding, etc. on a variety of topics related to teaching and learning. Mini-conferences will also be held throughout the year and may be presented by the Coordinator, staff, other faculty or experts outside the College.
Faculty Development and The 2020 Strategic Plan
This plan directly connects to the 2020 Strategic Plan is several ways. In terms of “Best in Class”, faculty development may impact retention, graduation, and passing rates. High quality faculty and purposeful curriculum planning, implementation, and assessment also addresses “Market Agility” (possible increased enrollment). The graphic below indicates specifically how The Mary Clare Development Center goals and design aligns to the 2020 Strategic Plan:
Figure 2. How the Mary Clare Development Center structure fits into the 2020 Strategic Plan (2020 Strategic Plan, 2017).
Faculty Development and Action Research- “Act-Up!”
Action research will be implemented as an outreach tool to connect both faculty development and mentoring. While faculty at Trocaire College are not required to complete formal research, since most faculty, particularly those at a career college focused heavily on health care programs, enter higher education with little or no training in pedagogy, classroom management, effective teaching strategies, or how to utilize technology for increased learning and content literacy, there is value in utilizing an action research approach to faculty development (Lee, Cohn, Cohn, & Osterweil, 2016). The process of selecting a focus for improvement, identifying supporting theories, creating research questions, investigating and collecting data, analyzing and sharing (publishing formally or informally back to the group, mentor, etc.), then taking informed action, fits in well with The Mary Clare Development Center goal of informed and improved practice, as well as The Strategic Plan of Trocaire College. As indicated earlier, improved pedagogy can improve both “Best in Class” and “Market Agility” and may positively impact enrollment, retention, and even improved current and new program development. This also helps to address a common weakness noted in some Middle States studies, which is to explicitly and purposefully connect planning of individual departments, in this case the faculty development department, to the larger strategic plan (Faison, 2017). If we are to attain best in class status, market agility, revenue diversification, and presence and visibility (2020 Strategic Plan, 2017), utilizing an action plan approach will offer us an opportunity to examine data and take action to make a positive change directly with teaching and learning-the cornerstone of our mission, vision, and strategic plan. Titled “Act-Up!” the MCDC will facilitate action research partnering or small groups, help to focus areas for target, and help faculty with taking action on items for improvement as well as sharing and/or publishing initiatives.
Faculty typically reach out to both a faculty development coordinator and/or a colleague with a challenge around teaching and learning. This may be due to the faculty member wanting to implement a new strategy and lacking confidence or needing development for a successful approach (i.e. Integrating a new technology), or it may be a current classroom challenge that needs to be addressed (i.e. large class sizes or failing grades). Once a challenge is posed, the faculty member can work with the coordinator, or be paired with someone experiencing a similar challenge to plan a possible solution. While working through the “Plan, Do, Check, Act” process (based on Deming, 1986), whether with a faculty development professional, or a colleague, possible positive results may include both pedagogical knowledge and willingness to try new methodologies, and confidence (Pierce, 2016). Action research does not have to be formally presented or published, although some will choose to do so and this will also address “Presence and Visibility” and “Market Agility” in the 2020 Strategic Plan (2017). However, the proposed model of utilizing action research also offers an opportunity for outreach within the College or locally for informal presenting and growth. The Mary Clare Development Center will host such sharing opportunities and may invite outside professionals to participate as well as colleagues within the College.
How Faculty Development Fits into Action Research
An example of how an action research project may be borne out of faculty development and result in improved pedagogy and practice is as follows:
Figure 4. How action research fits into development.
Faculty Development Conclusion
The new direction of The Mary Clare Development Center has been purposefully organized n such as way as to have a far-reaching and positive impact on all stakeholders. The use of a multi-modal approach impacts faculty development, confidence, collaboration, and longevity Faculty will certainly benefit, but the end goal of student success and satisfaction is also addressed. While the approach most certainly impacts faculty and students, the larger goal is also to connect to the 2020 Strategic Plan (2017) and directly and positively impact excellence, presence and visibility, and market agility (2020 Strategic Plan, 2017).
Mary Clare Development Center