Friday, May 9, 2008

Faculty and Staff Development in a Complex and Dynamic Future

I have explored our changing world in previous blog postings. With these fundamental shifts in our society and economy, professional development for our faculty and staff seems to be of unprecedented importance. This changing world was part of the impetus for creating a special system design team charter for the existing College Senate staff development committee to conduct research and make recommendations to improve staff development opportunities at MVCC - http://www.mvcc.edu/fcltystaff/involvement/development.cfm. After examining our existing staff development offerings and researching best practices in community colleges around the country, their recommendations were as follows:
  1. 12 contact hours of staff development be required annually of all full-time employees (including the President) during the course of their normal workday and academic schedule. We think that, in time, that amount may increase.
  2. A minimum of 6 hours of staff development will be related to job and professional responsibilities, and the remainder may be used for professional or personal growth opportunities as desired.
  3. These hours will encompass self-study, presentations, and improvement, and there should be a minimum of 3 hours per academic semester completed on-campus.
  4. Attendance at workshops would count for 1 hour per hour of workshop and scale credit would be given for attending conferences and giving presentations.
  5. The Staff Development Committee will work with CCED and other groups and committees within the College to coordinate and organize workshops.
  6. Hours will be tracked through Banner (non-credit).
  7. Faculty and Staff may participate in more training, if desired.
  8. Approval of requests for funding for travel to conferences and professional workshops remain with the Staff Development Committee
  9. The Committee have additional representation from departments such as security, facilities, and secretarial staff, for a maximum of 15 members. The Committee will serve as an advisory board to the Staff Development director(s).
  10. The Staff Development Program itself should be run by a professional, and have an office and support staff.
  11. The College should join the National Council of Staff, Program and Organizational Development Membership. This organization (NCSPOD) is an affiliate council of the American Association of Community Colleges, providing training, programs and publications about staff development for community colleges.
All of these recommendations were reviewed jointly by the College Senate and Executive Team with support to implement them as possible. As I consider these recommendations, I think we'll need to focus on getting the fundamental pieces in place, as our current academic calendar is not structured to accommodate dedicated days for faculty and staff development outside of the existing Summer Institute. While no specific mention of the Teaching and Learning Collaborative (TLC) was provided in the recommendations, there are no plans to continue the TLC, but rather identifying ways to provide resources that will allow for a more comprehensive and integrated approach to professional development for all faculty and staff.

Priorities for the coming year as the result of these recommendations will be to:
  1. identify personnel resources in some fashion to work closely with the Senate staff development committee to coordinate efforts in this area and implement as many of the design team recommendations as possible.
  2. create a system for identifying professional development needs for faculty and staff; inventorying and providing resources to provide the offerings; and creating tracking systems for registration and transcripting.
  3. consider identifying dedicated days in the development of the academic calendar for 2009-10.
  4. enhance the new employee orientation that was established this year.
  5. create a new faculty institute for the fall 2008 cohort of new full-time faculty.
  6. create a core staff development workshop (similar to the accreditation/values workshops this past March) focused on the important connection all employees share in helping to support student success.
I thought the Committee did an outstanding job in carrying out their charter. I'm excited about the possibilities of the priorities I've listed here to make a significant difference in helping to create a vibrant culture at MVCC. The 2008-2013 strategic plan includes the evaluation and implementation of these recommendations and I'm confident that these efforts will go a long way in providing great opportunities for faculty and staff at MVCC. I'd be interested in what you think about what I've shared here - contact me at presblog@mvcc.edu.