3. C.4. The institution has processes and resources for assuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles; it supports their professional development.
Miller College has processes in place for assuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles. As mentioned in Criterion 4.A.4, “The Miller College Board of Trustees and the Miller College staff search for and employ qualified, faculty members who are experts in their field. The highly-qualified faculty bring with them pedagogical excellence, professional experience and academic achievement. All members of the faculty are practitioner-oriented with professional credentials of a master’s degree or higher.
Miller College hires full-time, percent-time, and adjunct faculty. The Deans and qualified administrative staff also teach classes. The credentials for all faculty include at least a master’s degree, with a doctorate preferred. In fulfillment of its practitioner approach to education, Miller College seeks out individuals whose experience in their field enhances their academic credentials. New faculty members participate in orientation activities that familiarize them with the College’s policies and procedures. Faculty members attend workshops on technology and methods of incorporating this knowledge into their classrooms. Technology education is provided on a regular basis to ensure faculty acquire and maintain the skills needed to improve the learning environment.”
Miller College endeavors to increase the number of full time faculty members. Qualifications for new faculty include special knowledge and experience in their field and a minimum of a master's degree with a doctorate preferred. For the future, as an established institution with an advancing reputation, the hiring of a number of full time specialists with terminal degrees will be a goal to ensure the quality of instruction.
Initially, highly qualified faculty and adjuncts took a risk in coming to Miller College, a newly established institution with an as-yet-to-be determined position in the higher education community. Over the past 7 years, as the College’s reputation for the preparation of competent, skilled and knowledgeable graduates has expanded, the need to hire adjuncts with preeminent qualifications has become fundamental to the success and the future growth of the college. Consequently each Dean selects candidates with a Master’s degree or higher and professional experience in their field.
The course evaluation is another process for ensuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles. All students are invited to complete an evaluation of the instructor at the close of each semester. The working environment from which Miller College students come to school lends significance to course evaluation questions. Students from the college have been and currently are employed by local automotive plants like Japanese owned Denso Manufacturing of Michigan, Inc., to the Kellogg Company’s cereal production and its many facets of business and research. There is a broad health care industry employing personnel from many different countries, and the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center employing personnel from U.S. based and international government programs demands the most current of theory and practice. These are examples of the working environment from which Miller College students come to school and lend significance to course evaluation questions. These students care about currency and relevance in curriculum and instruction and have the opportunity to indicate whether the College is providing it or not.
Another process assuring that full- and percent-time faculty are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles occurs through faculty meetings with the Dean of each school. Each year, all full and percent-time faculty members meet with the Dean of their School regarding faculty evaluations in order “…to improve instruction and student learning, promote professional excellence, provide a record of individual achievement, promote professional development, promote service to the College and the community, and gather information” (See Faculty handbook: Instruction: Faculty Work, Faculty Evaluations (698 KB, PDF)).
Professional Development Support:
Miller College provides support for instructors to keep current in their disciplines. One form of staff development occurs through planned dialogue around curriculum and instruction. The College continually strives to stay abreast of changes in the field and to make the College programs responsive to these changes through the use of Program Advisory Committees. The committees meet twice a year in the decision making process of the college by reviewing curriculum, instructional methods, learning technologies, and program changes. The membership of the respective committees reflects a broad spectrum of practitioners in the fields reflected in the College’s programs (See Program Advisory Committee membership list, members positions and affiliations, Program Advisory Committees meeting minutes (176 KB, PDF)). Additionally, the College provides resources for faculty members to attend meetings and conferences in their area of teaching as well as professional meetings regarding accreditation of the College and specialized accreditation.
Equally, faculty and staff members regularly participate in service learning activities and professional development projects in support of the mission of the College. The results of the Professional Development Survey distributed April 20, 2011, are reported in Criterion 3.B.5, and can be referenced there (See Professional Development Survey). The several parts of this process are further evidence the College supports professional development and encourages faculty and staff to remain current in their fields.
Miller College support for professional development of the faculty and staff to improve pedagogy and promote effective teaching is evident in the opportunities regularly available. The College provides funding and release time for professional meetings, conferences and hosts in-house training opportunities. In addition, the College provides support for training in educational technologies that positively affect delivery of instruction. Training opportunities are available on campus or in cooperation with Kellogg Community College. They include technology training sessions and training for WIDS, Blackboard, LiveText, Datatel Colleague, Web Advisor and the use of media equipment available in the seminar rooms (See KCC IS Training Offerings http://www.kellogg.edu/is/training/index.html).
Other opportunities are available through the Miller College tuition support policies; budget line items for formal and informal continuing education opportunities for each School; the list of faculty involvement in listserves, professional organization, and community organizations (DARTEP, MARP, DADITPI); future availability of an online template in LiveText for curriculum vitae for the faculty; and the Art and Judy Angood Professional Development Fund.
Faculty and staff keep current in their fields through their own personal choice of activities and literature within their disciplines, but also receive support from Miller College. Many of the professional development activities available to faculty and staff are through the financial support provided by Miller College. Specific support for faculty and staff professional development is demonstrated in the allocation of funds for state-of-the-art-technology, learning resources, distance learning options, instructional delivery options, specific staff development opportunities, and tuition reciprocity agreements for all employees.
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