Higher Learning Commission

Eastern New Mexico University Faculty Investment Plan:
Building the Next Generation of First-Class Faculty

Eastern New Mexico University

Brief description of the Quality Initiative (Ql)

Eastern New Mexico University's Quality Initiative provides new tenure-track faculty 25% reassigned time during their first academic year at the institution in order to participate in workshops and activities that enhance their pedagogical readiness for teaching in traditional and on-line environments; prepare them to be effective student advisors; and to understand clearly the University's research expectations.

The proposed quality initiative project for Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) was developed through brainstorming sessions with the academic deans and the vice president for Academic Affairs. The goal was to invest in faculty, the University's most valuable resource, in · order to enhance student learning while expanding the skill set of faculty new to full-time teaching. The Faculty Investment Program is an orientation to the University, a series of professional development opportunities, and a strategy to retain new probationary (tenure-track) faculty.

The period of ENMU's Quality Initiative is five years. A pilot program (fall 2012) designed the workshops offered for this project. Beginning in 2013-14, ENMU's proposed QI will track new faculty performance against the baseline year (2012-13). Tracking of the cohorts will continue during the three years of the project, with a midpoint review of the entire project in 2016-17 for modification, continuation or termination. Workshops are delivered in areas most relevant to new faculty responsibilities:

Workshops are delivered in areas most relevant to new faculty responsibilities:

Classroom teaching - tips for structuring teaching to meet the needs of ENMU students Deliverables: Effective syllabi, effective instructional materials, development of learning outcomes and classroom assessments

Online teaching - an introduction to the learning management platform (Blackboard Learn 9) and its use, the technology that supports online learning, and strategies for engaging online students who are either place-bound or simply choose the greater flexibility of online learning.
Deliverables: Materials for building an online course, strategies for converting face-toface instructional methods to accommodate MediaSite and/or online delivery.

MediaSite is the University's lecture-capture system used in hybrid, blended and online learning environments. MediaSite allows faculty to record everything from brief lectures to entire class sessions to supplement static learning materials and assignments, while providing various dynamic discussion boards and promoting faculty interactions with students.

Research Strategies I-advice concerning setting a research agenda early in one's professional career and listings of assistance available through campus resources Deliverable: a preliminary (informal) research plan for the next four-five years, articulating benchmarks and timelines.

Preparing for the annual faculty evaluation cycle - information about the requirements of the faculty evaluation process, its purpose and philosophy, materials to be included, how to prepare a thoughtful self-evaluation of teaching, and how to present one's efforts during the first year of employment as succinctly and effectively as possible.
Deliverable: New faculty members prepare a review file in January of their first year of employment.

Research Strategies II-an introduction to the internal research grant opportunities for which new faculty may apply; additional information about collaboration, available regional and national grants, and assistance that is available from the University. Deliverable: refinement of informal research plan; submission of an internal research grant (funded by the Office of Academic Affairs)

Advising-an introduction to faculty advising responsibilities, including how students are placed in classes, general education and degree requirements, and information about other curriculum issues and university requirements relevant to student academic advising.
Deliverables: Normally, faculty will be assigned student advisees in their second year. Well before that, they will have knowledge of degree plans, will know how to find information about curriculum changes and requirements, and will have a working knowledge of their obligations to their student advisees.

Quality Matters (QM) Program-a hands-on introduction to MediaSite and the Quality Matters rubric--a set of 8 general standards and 41 specific standards used to evaluate the design of online and blended courses. The Rubric explains the application and relationship of the standards. A scoring system and set of online tools facilitate the evaluation by a team of reviewers. The Quality Matters rubric aligns critical course components--learning objectives, assessment and measurement, instructional materials, learner interaction and engagement, and course technology--to ensure that students achieve desired learning outcomes. Deliverable: New faculty members have the opportunity to record a short lecture via MediaSite and become familiar with the QM rubric. If their teaching assignment includes teaching with MediaSite, they will receive additional training in its use and the QM rubric.

The seven workshops of ENMU's proposed QI are presented during Saturday sessions during fall and spring semesters. During the session and over lunch, new faculty can ask presenters and other academic administrators present about any challenges they are facing in their classrooms or with any faculty assignment. In addition to the training they receive in the concentrated formats of the sessions, new faculty have the chance to bond with their college deans and first-year peers who serve as a support network and sounding board for their experiences. While workshops are key elements to the proposed QI, they are only a part of a year-long mentoring of new faculty to support their entry into the University community and to empower them to find their place in their classrooms, with their students and colleagues and in their profession.

Timeline for the Quality Initiative

Several workshops were piloted informally in fall 2012. The workshop sequence was then revised and evaluations and assessment of these workshops were added in fall 2013. Data is being collected in 2013-14 against the baseline year of2012-13 and individual and aggregate data will be compiled. Milestones or anticipated outcomes are indicated below. These milestones address individual faculty development goals and institutional goals as they relate to strong teaching performance by new faculty and to faculty retention. Sufficiency of the Initiative's Scope and Significance ENMU's proposed QI is relevant and significant for the institution and has the potential to impact the institution and its academic quality.

Sufficiency of the Initiative's Scope and Significance


ENMU's proposed QI is relevant and significant for the institution and has the potential to impact
the institution and its academic quality.

  • With 11-I 8 new (tenure track) faculty each year, and with a full-time tenure-track facu lty of approximately 165, in five years, this program has the potential to impact over one-half of Eastern New Mexico University's teaching faculty. (See Table 1 below)
  • The program will provide faculty participants with specialized professional development that directly addresses effective teaching pedagogy and strategies, the use of technology to enhance teaching effectiveness and student engagement, and aligns these with the needs of the students and programs of ENMU.
  • The program builds a supportive network for new faculty as they begin their research and professional lives.
  • While benefits in the classroom will be the most evident advantage to the institution, the stronger research agendas of new faculty will also encourage them to engage their students in their research, to see teaching as an area of research and to focus and integrate their professional research agendas to complement and strengthen their teaching careers.
  • Faculty turnover has a fiscal impact on the institution and disrupts the curriculum and management of academic departments. A program that integrates new faculty into the culture of the campus, gives new faculty a better understanding of the institution's expectations, provides them with tools for success, and mentors that success through their fust teaching year can positively affect retention and faculty productivity during the careers of those faculty.

Table 1 Participation in the Faculty Investment Program (FIP)

Fall 2012 2013 2014* 2015* 2016* 2017* Total
New Faculty 17 18 16 15 15 15 95
All Faculty 160 170 165 165 165 165 Increased degrees awarded by 52%
% Participants in FIP -- 11% 10% 9% 9% 9% 58%

Estimates

ENMU's proposed Ql aligns with the institution's mission and current operational or strategic priorities. It aligns with the institution's planning processes.


Work on the University's strategic plan for 2013-2018 began in fall2012, when this program was first being designed. Measures for the 2013-18 Strategic Plan were fmalized in spring/summer 2013. ENMU's Strategic Plan includes several objectives that address how this initiative is relevant and significant for the institution. Goal 1 (Quality Academic Programs) stresses the importance of setting rigorous student learning outcomes in all classes and for all programs.

Strategic Plan Goal I:
Quality Academic Programs
Faculty Investment Program Workshop Goals
1.1 Establish, measure and apply student learning outcomes to enhance students' education experience. Workshop 1 Introduce new faculty to the concept of student learning outcomes to student learning outcomes, effective enhance students' educational assessment strategies (including rubrics), experience. samples of effective materials, and guided practice designing learning materials
1.2 Support innovative pedagogy, effective technology and up-to-date curriculum that enhance student learning. Workshops 1, 2, and 7 Introduce new faculty to Blackboard (the institution's learning managment system) and MediaSite (lecture-capture software and system)
1.3 Support basic and applied research, scholarship and creative activity for faculty. Workshops 3 and 5 Introduce new faculty to strategies for developing a research agenda, using the resources of the University
1.5 Assist advisors to help students meet degree requirements in a timely fashion. Workshop 6 Acquaint new faculty with the basics of advising students in their academic area, as well as provide an overview of student general education and graduation requirements.
Strategic Plan Goal 4:
A 21st centur university
Faculty Investment Program Workshop Goals
4.1 Recruit, retain and support the needs of a diverse student body and work force at Eastern New Mexico University. Entire program and follow-up The campus values diversity in learners, learning styles and approaches to learning
4.2 Use institutional and other data and feedback to meet the needs of students, staff, and faculty of a 21st century university
  • Provide staff training through frontline training, management information exchanges, and workshops to maintain high faculty/employee efficiency and keep faculty/employees current with technology updates
Entire program and follow-up. The Office of Academic Affairs provides periodic workshops for faculty in the use of the Learning Platform (Blackboard Learn 9), and for Banner, the university's management system. General Faculty meetins (montly or every six weeks) allow faculty to air concerns, ask questions or raise issues with the Administration.


ENMU's proposed QI is particularly significant and relevant at this time because it addresses concerns about faculty retention and strengthens the institutional faculty and the academic core.

 

Institutional Outcomes - Improving Teaching and Learning

Retention Based on better understanding of expectations that they face, new faculty will be retained at a higher rate than previous years(baseline, 2012-13)
Teaching Success/Student Satisfaction Based on aggregated teaching evaluations, new faculty will meet Satisfaction or exceed the University teaching average (student satisfaction of faculty teaching) by the end of their first teaching year.
Faculty Satisfaction with professional development New faculty will report satisfaction with the guidance and professional development information provided in their workshops and with their informal interactions with presenters and academic leaders.
New Faculty integration into campus community New faculty will be able to demonstrate their integration into the the campus community ENMU academic community through interactions with students and student organizations, membership on department or college committees, creation of new courses, revising of curriculum where appropriate, or other collaborative efforts in the department and college.

Clarity of the Initiative's Purpose

Purposes and goals for the initiative.

The purpose of the initiative is to positively impact-student learning and the full University experience for students by enhancing the professionalism and expertise of faculty new to fulltime teaching. The Faculty Investment Program provides new faculty with an orientation to the University, a series of professional development opportunities and a comprehensive retention strategy for new probationary (tenure-track) faculty.

The institution will evaluate progress, make adjustments, and determine what has been accomplished in this proposed QI by tracking both quantitative and qualitative measures of progress and success. Quantitative measures appear in the table below.

2012-2013
(baseline)
Year 1
2013-2014
Year 2
2014-2015
Year 3 2015-2016 Summative
Assessment
Number of faculty 17        
Faculty Retained to 3rd year 10*        
Teaching evaluations (average) 1st semester 4.25        
Teaching evaluations (average) 2nd semester 4.26        
Teaching evaluations (average) 3rd semester 4.44        
Research plan prepared None        
Presentations given          
lntemaJ/Extemal grants submitted 3 Internal        
lntemal/Extemal grants funded 3 Internal        
"Mets expectations" during 1st teaching year 10        

Qualitative measures will be collected in a number of ways: new faculty evaluations and comments about their training and experiences, observations of the workshop leaders and college deans, and focus group meetings with new faculty. New faculty from the first year of the program will also be encouraged to offer input about enhancing the professional development workshops, additional opportunities for professional development, and to provide informal mentoring to the new faculty coming after them.

Assessment and Evaluation

Following each workshop, a survey is administered to faculty participants to gauge their mastery of the content presented and their satisfaction with the training. Faculty are also asked what other areas of professional development they need. This information is used to inform the organization of next year's Faculty Investment Program but can also allow presenters to build in follow-up information at the next session to address concerns or questions that persist.

During the spring semester, the following follow-up activities will occur:

  • Assessment by chairs of efficacy of teaching delivery.
  • Response from the Faculty Evaluation Committee to review files of the new faculty.
  • Student evaluations.
  • New faculty integration into mainstream faculty development opportunities, including
    service on University, college and department committee, additional advising or research
    interest workshops, etc.

During the second year of their employment, participants will have the opportunity to meet with the next group of new faculty to share their experiences.

Milestones -- Anticipated Outcomes for First Year Participants (2013-2014)

Classroom teaching By June, 2014, new faculty evaluations by students will show improvement from first semester (fall2013) to second (spring 2014). New faculty averages will approach or equal the department average by their third semester of teaching (fall 2014).
Classroom teaching In spring 2014, student evaluations of new faculty will show "satisfactory" levels (3.5 or higher) for instructor "knowledgeable of content area"
Online teaching New faculty who are teaching online will have course materials and syllabus uploaded prior to the start of the semester of teaching (monitored by the office of Distance Education and Outreach).
Online teaching For new faculty who are teaching online courses, evaluations by students will show improvement from first semester of online teaching to the 2"d semester, approaching or equaling the department average by their third semester of teaching.
Research In their first annual performance submission (January 2014), new faculty will demonstrate a clear understanding of their research obligations as faculty members by including a plan of research.
Research Before the end of their first two years of teaching (May 20 15), new faculty members will have made at least one presentation at a regional or national conference, submitted one publication to a refereed journal, or submitted an internal research grant.
Advising New faculty will have the materials to conduct effective advising of students in their major. They will have a folder of materials for advising, expertise in accessing information online to assist student advises, and will be prepared to begin advising students during their 2nd tenure-track year (August 2014).
Quality Matters New faculty, whether or not they are teaching an online or a blended course, will make use of the QM rubric to conduct an information assessment of their own courses as part of their teaching self-reflection.
Quality Matters New faculty who are teaching online or blended courses will be encouraged to complete training in the QM rubric so that their course qualifies for QM certification .

Institutional Evidence of Commitment to and Capacity for Accomplishing the Initiative

ENMU's senior leadership is personally and institutionally committed to the proposed QI. The project was designed by the vice president and the deans. Deans and other administrators lead the new faculty workshops. In this year's workshops, two college deans, the graduate dean, the associate vice president for Academic Affairs, and two senior faculty members were workshop presenters. The vice president for Academic Affairs attends all the workshops, participates in them, and launches the event with a dinner for new faculty, spouses, and administrators, including the University president, during the new faculty orientation. Based on their initial planning commitment, their active involvement in the workshop presentations and their availability to the new faculty during this critical first year, administrators' commitment to the success of this initiative is very high.

The institutional commitment of quarter-time reassigned time to the new faculty in this program is a substantial financial commitment on the part of the University. While it places a strain on hiring departments to reassign or otherwise cover classes for the new faculty who have this temporary release, the benefits should far outweigh the department's temporary reduction of course offerings in fall and spring. Further, since this is a university initiative, all new faculty members have the opportunity to benefit from this program, not just the ones whose departments have the resources to allow new faculty the reassigned time.

Under discussion in ENMU's Office of Academic Affairs since 2012, ENMU's proposed QI has sufficient human, financial, technological, and other resources to complete the project within its timeline. The personnel who anange and present the workshops and conduct the assessments are already identified for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Data has been identified and earmarked for collection. Required technology (access to MediaSite, for example), is already available on campus. No extraordinary purchases or acquisitions are required to offer the workshops and training described in ENMU's proposed QI project.

From the start, ENMU's proposed QI project was designed to be an ongoing program of Academic Affairs to assist and retain new tenure-track faculty and to support them during their first year of full-time college teaching and research. The funding for this project (reassigned time for the first-year full-time tenure-track faculty) is a recurring budget line. Following three years of full implementation of the project, with three-year data on the first cohort year (12013- 14) cohort, two year data on the second cohort (2014-15) cohort, and partial-year data from the 2015-16 cohort, a comprehensive midpoint review of the project, the quantitative and qualitative data, and comments from administrators, faculty participants, and department chairs most involved will be prepared for a formative assessment of the project.

While data is still being collected and studied, it is anticipated that faculty progress on the various components of this training will vary. Therefore, science faculty may more quickly define their research agenda, while humanities faculty may more readily focus on innovative pedagogy and assessment strategies. Over time, however, and with consistent project implementation and institutional commitment, the University is confident that the New Faculty Investment Program will "invest" in all faculty, assist all students and student learning, and create a stronger and professionally mature faculty who will be more likely to stay at Eastern New Mexico University.

A final reason that this project has a high likelihood of success is that the designers anticipated potential obstacles when they assessed the institution's capacity to implement such a project. A careful study of course enrollment and rotation patterns showed that most departments had more flexibility in their scheduling than they realized, especially if rotations were carefully adhered to. While some departments could more easily handle the reassigned time of a new faculty members, resource funds were available for the departments that could not.

Acknowledging the fact that new faculty are not the only ones who need professional development, the Offices of Academic Affairs, Academic Services, and Enrollment Services have created a series of workshops, open to all faculty, to address advising, use of the Banner system, MediaSite and the Quality Matters, assessment, and building research agenda.

Without discounting the challenges of implementing this initiative, the institution is confident that this is a feasible, beneficial, and innovative project, addressing a significant opportunity. ENMU's proposed QI project will facilitate short-term and long-term improvements in the professional lives of faculty and the learning lives of our students, and will build a stronger university where we can achieve our overarching objective: To place students and student learning at the center of every institutional action and activity. (ENMU Strategic Plan 2013- 2018)

 

Institution Contact

Jamie Laurenz, Vice President, Academic Affairs

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