How Faculty Teaching Load, Employment Status Affect Student Performance
Some years ago, Witt Salley, EdD, director of online education at Clemson University, was working for a community college in Missouri. The college had a growing online presence, and it was handling this demand by allowing faculty who were willing to teach online to do so as an overload. This policy made online instruction very attractive to the faculty and allowed the institution to meet its growing demand. Unfortunately, some of the students were beginning to suffer. “Assignments were going ungraded and discussion boards were ignored,” says Melanie Shaw, PhD, online faculty success coordinator at Clemson. The college hired adjunct faculty to teach online to lighten the load on full-time faculty, but the full-time faculty responded negatively, citing concerns about the quality of instruction from the adjuncts. So Salley undertook a study to examine how faculty workload and status impacted student success. The results shed some light on this important issue.
Leading throughout the Organizational Life Cycle
According to organizational life cycle theory, institutions and units within institutions progress through a sequence of stages—inception, growth, maturity, and decline or revitalization. Understanding the challenges specific to each stage can help leaders be more effective. Although inevitable, progression through these stages can be upsetting to those who are averse to change, but “if you can convince them that this is a natural progression, it may allay their fears or concerns,” says Claire Phillips, dean of instruction at Lone Star College–CyFair.
New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times: Process Revisited and Lessons Learned
In lean financial times, colleges and universities need to ask themselves whether to take a conservative approach to new program development or to scan aggressively for growth markets, seeking opportunities to invest in the future. In the case of University of Mount Union (UMU), we took a more aggressive approach toward investing in the future, and the investments are paying off.
Navigating Campus Minefields through Mindful Leadership
If asked to define the term “minefield,” most people would recite something similar: an area set with explosive devices or land mines. All would agree that minefields connote a sense of risk and danger. As a faculty member in higher education for over 30 years and a faculty developer for more than 18 of those years, I’ve noticed the first-person focus of many faculty, staff, and administrators has created minefields on some campuses that are just as dangerous. These mines often result from an unconscious shift from “we” to “I” and a perceived threat to “what’s mine.” These potential dangers include apathy and faculty burnout as well as the breakdown of our campus cultures.
Managing Student Complaints
Knowing how to handle student complaints is an essential skill for department chairs. In an interview with Academic Leader, Patricia Markunas, chair of the Psychology Department at Salem State University, offered advice on minimizing the number of complaints and managing those that do make it to the department chair.
Transition to Administration: From Autonomy to Hierarchy
Being a successful faculty member is not a predictor of success as an administrator. In addition to the need to develop a new set of skills, the transition from faculty member to administrator requires a different mind-set. And perhaps the most challenging aspect of this transition is the shift from autonomy to the constraints of a hierarchy.
Leading Change Amid Opposition
When Amanda Gingery Hostalka became chair of art and visual communication design at Stevenson University, one of her priorities was to make sure that learning outcomes for every track and major aligned with the department’s and institution’s missions. The importance of this task was heightened by the department’s upcoming move into a new building.
Putting Assessment in Its Place
What can you do with four minutes?
You can close the report and check the clock, update your to-do list, sort through your mail, or respond to a minor e-mail query. There are many important tasks you can do in four minutes. And if you don’t do them now, you’ll just have to find another four minutes later. Of course, none of this matters if you have plenty of time and too little to do, but most institutions have finite resources and must be deliberate in how they use them. Program assessment presents a special challenge to resource allocation, requiring a similarly deliberate approach.
How Much Does Instruction in Your Program Cost?
To manage resources effectively, it’s important to know how much it costs to teach students in your programs. Instructional costs vary from program to program based on class size, faculty salaries, equipment, and technology. And not all programs will generate enough revenue to cover costs. That’s OK as long as those high-cost programs are balanced with “cash cows,” programs that generate more revenue than expenses. Instructional cost data can play an important role in strategic planning.
Six Ways to Ensure a Smooth Chair Transition
Faculty members often become chairs under less-than-ideal circumstances or for the wrong reasons. An underprepared faculty member or one with an axe to grind can wreak havoc and lead to frequent department chair turnover. Recognizing this all-too-common cycle, Gian Pagnucci, chair of the English Department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and Ethan Krase, chair of the English Department at Winona State University, offer the following recommendations to help smooth chair transitions and promote a well-functioning department.