Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement Grant
While attending the DREAM 2016 conference in Atlanta, GA, I learned that we were eligible to apply for this grant. In Spring 2016, I helped recruit interested faculty and get their ideas so that grant writer Marta Burnet and I could write the application with helpful input from Al Roth and Jodi Novotny. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we were one of 6 colleges to receive the $160,000 grant out of 80 applicants in the country.
As part of the grant, I went with a team of faculty to the Teaching and Learning National Institute in Olympia, WA for 4.5 days over the summer. Our team met with the other grant awardee colleges and developed a 2-year action plan. When we returned, we split into 3 subteams based on our 3 major projects. I am the lead of the subteam focused on developing a group mentoring program for faculty.
During Fall 2016, our subteam met 3 times and discussed our goals and timeline, researched different types of faculty mentoring models, and wrote questions for a faculty survey. During Winter and Spring 2017, we plan to analyze the survey results, recruit mentoring group facilitators, and hold a training session for the facilitators. We plan to pilot the first mentoring groups in Fall 2017.
Workload Task Force
The Workload Task Force came out of the most recent union negotiations, which I was a part of. The task force’s goal is to reevaluate faculty workload and salary schedules and create a proposal that is reflective of the different types of faculty roles on campus, is more equitable towards adjunct faculty, and eliminates the need for many of the Special Assignment Memos that are currently being paid for work that is regular and ongoing.
The Workload Task Force meets every Tuesday afternoon, and we are getting close to creating a final proposal. We’ve developed a general workload model, defined specific duties for different categories of faculty and discussed a few proposals for changes to the adjunct faculty pay scale. We are also discussing the possibility of department chair positions in some areas on campus.
College Council is one of the governance councils on campus and meets once a month. We’ve been engaged in interesting conversations about what shared governance is and what specific tasks the council should take on. We recently added some new student members and brainstormed possible projects the council could take on this year. It is likely that the council will be involved in monitoring the strategic planning process and key indicators. This is my 3rd year serving on the College Council, which has a term limit of 3 years. I am interested in continuing involvement with shared governance, and will most likely apply to join the Learning Council or Diversity and Equity Council when my term is up.
Data Integrity Group (DIG)
DIG is my favorite committee on campus. It’s full of geeky people and interesting conversations and we tend to get through plenty of specific agenda items every meeting. Recently, we’ve been working to create a summary sheet of key data about programs and classes that will be given to faculty annually so that they can get a quick picture of their own enrollment and student retention broken down demographically, and how it compares to the program average across the college. I see data about my students and classes as an enabling and motivating force to help me focus my efforts in ways that really matter and avoid spending too much effort on activities that aren’t yielding results for students.
Guided Pathways Steering Committee
Guided Pathways is a model based on four essential practices: clarifying student pathways to end goals, helping students to choose and enter a pathway, helping students to stay on the path, and ensuring that students are learning. A large group at RTC has been meeting regularly internally and with Rob Johnstone, who was recommended to us by the Gates Foundation, to redesign some aspects of the student entry process and programs in alignment with Guided Pathways. Vice President of Instruction Angel Reyna led a team that developed an action plan related to Guided Pathways at the Teaching and Learning National Institute this summer. The grant team I was a part of at the same institute communicated regularly with the guided pathways team, and I’ve been attending the steering committee meetings and providing input related to General Education and the Pre-nursing DTA students. A major goal is to integrate general education requirements throughout program curricula rather than front-loading or backloading them to help more students complete degrees rather than certificates and qualify for better pay at graduation.