By Jonathan Gyurko, PhD
Over the years, ACUE has written often about the need to place quality, evidence-based teaching at the heart of efforts to graduate many more well-prepared students, through the support and place of pride that faculty deserve. We’ve learned many things along the way, but one lesson stands out: simply offering professional development is not enough. A series of professional development workshops here, or a consultation there—as helpful and necessary as these offerings may be—are insufficient to fully engage the professoriate.
Rather, we’ve learned that a holistic plan of action is required to fully engage faculty in the student success movement. That is, one that attends to campus culture and that delivers the practical, collegial support that any professional would expect.
ACUE has put these lessons together in one place. Through generous support from Strong Start to Finish and the Education Commission of the States, ACUE is excited to share a new toolkit for campus leaders and faculty designed as a resource for self-assessment, planning, and action. The toolkit, Success & Equity Through Quality Instruction, was developed with our friends at Sova and recommends holistic and coordinated action across five key domains:
- Strategy: Specifically, to what extent is evidence-based teaching part of your strategy?
- Equity: To what extent is quality instruction promoting equity of opportunity and achievement?
- Approach: How comprehensive is the content of professional learning opportunities, based on their scope, frequency, mode of delivery, and scale?
- Evaluation: To what extent are efforts to improve the quality of instruction evaluated on the basis of student impact?
- Culture: To what extent is evidence-based teaching celebrated through communications, intrinsic and extrinsic incentives, and overall expectations?
The toolkit includes recommended resources, inspiring “practice profiles,” and also includes rubrics for each domain, across four levels from “Nascent” and “Emerging” to “Developing” and “Embedded.” These levels are meant to spur reflection of current practice and inspire ideas for new action. Rubrics are also aligned to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Institutional Transformation Assessment and were recently piloted with a group of AASCU provosts, to good effect.
We hope the toolkit becomes an indispensable resource to presidents, provosts, faculty leaders, teaching center directors, and all other stakeholders. We believe it can further our shared efforts to provide faculty the support they seek, through a holistic approach that is truly “sufficient,” so that every student enjoys the quality of education they deserve.