Issues to Consider: Changing Long-Standing Notions
Teaching the content of my subject area takes all my energy. Who wants even more to do?
No one! We’re already on overload. IDEAS is not about more. It’s about acknowledging the needs of our students and the depth and breadth of our capacities to help them. Most of us are pretty capable—even beyond our areas of specialty. It’s about learning strategies and instructional design that integrate basic skills into the existing curriculum. O.K., it asks us to be better multitaskers. But it’s not entirely altruistic. The infusion of basic academic skills practice throughout our courses becomes an important vehicle by which our students learn the content of our subject areas.
How can my campus develop IDEAS? Who will make it happen?
Well, maybe you. Remember, IDEAS began as a grassroots initiative. Talk to your colleagues. Find out who concurs with the mission of IDEAS and would be open to making some changes. New faculty are especially eager for ideas to support their pedagogy. Begin with these faculty members. Take it slow. Consider your own campus, its strengths, its organization, its existing vehicles for faculty development and the potential for new ones. You can follow the model described here, include some portions of it, and/or develop your own. Most assuredly, the support of an administrator or campus leader who offers a framework from which to start shaping IDEAS is an important piece.
Funding is so tight. How can we afford to have IDEAS?
Given the current state of the economy, one of the benefits of the IDEAS faculty development initiative is that, potentially, it can be achieved on a shoestring. Remember, the energy behind the Consortium, the college-wide workshops, the facilitators and participants of the Faculty Learning Community, and even the site Web master, are meant to come from the talent and expertise of your own faculty.
Seasoned faculty and newer members alike abound with expertise and the need to connect with one another. Indeed, it is wonderful to invite erudite outside speakers to present at symposia. And, it always helps to announce those ever-enticing words, “Lunch will be served.” However, the IDEAS paradigm can comfortably exist as an in-house configuration. It is brought about primarily by the exuberance of intelligent and dedicated faculty. You may be surprised how much people will do when the IDEAS are meaningful and practical.