Connecting the Dots

A Research-Based Methodology for Evaluating the Efficacy of Faculty Development on Student Outcomes

How do we know? It’s the epistemological question that animates our entire enterprise and has particular relevance for student learning. How do we know if students are learning what we expect? And how do we know if we’re refining our teaching in ways that promote deeper levels of learning and persistence to graduation and that prepare students for purposeful lives and careers?

The importance of these questions has been elevated in recent months by numerous reports calling on higher education to prioritize undergraduate teaching, in STEM and other fields, and ensure that we prize the quality of education alongside national attention to the quantity of degrees awarded. Leadership by the faculty development community also brought these issues to the forefront, making the ways we assess impact a focus of their annual conference.

As our contribution to this important conversation, ACUE is pleased to release Connecting the Dots: A Proposed Accountability Method for Evaluating the Efficacy of Faculty Development and Its Impact on Student OutcomesThe paper presents a research-based approach to evaluating the effects of faculty development on changes in teaching practices and the consequent impact on both student and institutional outcomes. ACUE developed and refined this approach with our college and university partners nationwide, where it is in use to estimate the effects of faculty credentialed through our courses in effective teaching practices.

The proposed six-level evaluation method is grounded in the industry training model developed by Kirkpatrick and Kirkpatrick and informed by Guskey’s and Hines’s application to educational settings. This framework recommends evaluating changes across six successive levels: in faculty engagement, faculty learning, and faculty implementation of evidence-based practices followed by changes in student engagement, course-level student outcomes, and, ultimately, institutional outcomes.

Given the complex nature of social science research, we recognize that no approach can fully control for the many influences on a students’ college career. But the heightened accountability on higher education to improve organizational outcomes requires that we analyze teaching and learning with as much sophistication as any other research agenda. With today’s proposed methodology, we seek to further demonstrate the fundamental connection between teaching and learning and reaffirm the indispensable contribution made by our faculty toward their students’ success.

AASCU 2018

ACUE at AASCU 2018: What will it take for the student success agenda to succeed?

To create informed citizens and help students develop the skills necessary for success in an increasingly global workforce, institutions continue to explore new programs, policies, and practices. Yet how can colleges and universities stay focused on preparing students amidst these challenging times of breaking news alerts, political protests, and social change?

Navigating the social and political climate is the central theme explored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) at their 2018 Academic Affairs Winter Meeting: Public Universities in Challenging Times. This meeting will focus on the following critical areas:

• Engaged citizens

• Career preparation

• Teaching and learning

• Faculty roles

• Student success

At the meeting, ACUE and our institutional partners will tackle questions from across the areas of teaching and learning, faculty roles, and student success. During an interactive lunch session, “What will it take for the student success agenda to succeed?” Dr. Penny MacCormack, chief academic officer at ACUE, Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller of the University of Southern Mississippi, and Dr. K. Laurie Dickson of Northern Arizona University will facilitate an analysis of popular interventions intended to improve student outcomes and share how USM and NAU are promoting evidence-based teaching practices as a strategic driver of change. By focusing on quality instruction, the presenters will explore what institutions must do to make the student success agenda truly succeed.

We hope to see you in San Antonio on Friday, February 9th at 12:45pm for a meaningful discussion.

Visit AASCU’s 2018 Academic Affairs Winter Meeting website to view the full schedule of events.