4.A.4 The institution maintains and exercises authority over prerequisites for courses, rigor of courses, expectations for student learning, access to learning resources, and faculty qualifications for all its programs, including dual credit programs. It assures that its dual credit courses or programs for high school students are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement to its higher education curriculum.
Authority over Prerequisites
The Registrar’s Office maintains the course prerequisites within the student system database based on the Academic Catalog for that year. The database is set up not to allow students who have not completed the prerequisites to enroll in the course. The academic advisor with the approval of the School Dean can over-ride the prerequisite on a case by case basis. Prerequisites at the 100 and 200 level taken mainly at community colleges in the area have been approved for all students entering Miller College. Prerequisites taken at another institution at the 300 and 400 level are reviewed by the Registrar. Following the review, the Registrar requests the School Dean to either approve or to deny the prerequisites. The School Dean has the authority to substitute any course that meets the course requirements or to waive a course within the student’s program on a case-by-case basis.
Rigor of Courses and Expectations for Student Learning
The curriculum development process establishes prerequisites for each course in a program of study. The Registrar’s Office maintains the course prerequisites within the student system database based on the Academic Catalog for that year. The database is set up to disallow students who have not completed the prerequisites to enroll in the course. The academic advisor with the approval of the school's Dean can over-ride the prerequisite on a case by case basis.
Faculty evaluates the content of the course in relation to the students’ performance on assessment tasks and the progress made toward the course competencies. Requests for revisions to the course content or the prerequisites are discussed during School meetings. Recommendations for change are brought before Academic Affairs. Comprised of faculty across the College, Academic Affairs meets regularly to communicate, discuss and coordinate proposed changes, modifications and additions to programs.
Academic Affairs evaluates and approves programs, syllabi and textbooks to ensure alignment with the learning outcomes derived from the Mission, course objectives, core abilities and course competencies. Included in each syllabus are expectations for student learning: artifacts, oral presentations, a culminating project or final exam, case studies, reviews of research or research projects. These performance assessment tasks define the parameters for successful completion of each course.
Access to Learning Resources
To ensure that Miller College students have the very best learning resources, support services, and facilities, Miller College maintains a contractual relationship with Kellogg Community College (KCC) to supply many of these resources and access to facilities. In accordance with this agreement, Miller College students are allowed on-site use of the KCC Learning Resource Center, and other campus facilities, as well as numerous online services.
To support research and scholarly activity, Miller College provides access to learning resources through the Miller College Virtual Library (http://www.millercollege.org/Miller/Virtual_Library.htm), the Michigan Library Consortium (MLC), and KCC. Miller College has established an agreement with the MLC for the creation, hosting, and maintenance of a virtual resource center to include library resources that supplement the KCC Learning Resource Center. These include reference databases, full-text databases, encyclopedias, business and financial research resources, e-books, electronic journals, and cataloging services and program-specific online library guides. Miller College students can access the online library from home or any other location with an Internet connection via the Miller College website. Miller College has and will continue to procure additional resources in order to augment the Learning Resource Center’s current collection. Each month the KCC library solicits recommendations from Miller College Faculty across all of the Schools for new acquisitions.
Miller College partners with KCC to provide the Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat) services. Member libraries include almost all academic research libraries, college libraries and local public libraries in the State of Michigan. Staff and students are generally filled within one week. The Items are delivered three times a week. At this time, MeLCat makes available approximately 23 million items to its users, with the holdings of member libraries updated in the system three times a year. Users may access holdings of full-text journals, books, NetLibrary books, DVDs, CD, and other library materials. Member libraries agree to freely loan items to users through other participating libraries, and computer submitted requests from the MeLCat computer catalog are filled automatically. MeLCat lists the following benefits:
In addition, the Miller College Resource Room located in the Mawby Center of Miller College has two sections: the Career Center and the Library Resource Center. The resource room houses information for the School of Nursing and the School of Education. Materials include texts, videos, and software to supplement course development, program enhancement, and student research. Miller College maintains a collection of texts, journals, and resource materials specific to junior and senior level research and scholarly activity. Located on the third floor of the Mawby Center are two resource areas for the School of Business:
These materials are available for the use of all Miller College students at no cost.
According to the contract with KCC, Miller College may schedule use of KCC science laboratories. The Schwartz Science Building houses lecture rooms and laboratories for biology, chemistry, physics, and physical science. In addition, nursing laboratories are available for the Nursing program.
Miller College has two open computer labs as well as an instructional computer classroom in the Mawby Center. In addition, KCC’s Ohm Information Technology Center has 15 classrooms, each housing approximately 24 computers. Under the terms of the contract with KCC, Miller College may schedule use of these classrooms. Miller College students also have access to the Learning Resource Center Computer Lab, which provides computer hardware, software, and Internet access. The lab staff provides basic assistance in the use of resources, including assistance in the operation of computers.
Miller College has invested in software resources to enhance student learning and support effective teaching. WebAdvisor allows students to register, pay fees, and view their educational plans and final grades. Upon full acceptance to Miller College, students are assigned a username to access this resource. Miller College faculty also utilizes WebAdvisor to consult class rosters and to assign final grades. To assist students with educational planning, faculty and staff may utilize either WebAdvisor or Colleague.
Additionally, Miller College uses College LiveText™ version C1, a multi-faceted online software system which Teacher Education students use to build electronic portfolios and their instructors use to organize assessment processes, develop rubrics, and compile educational data to evaluate student learning and effective teaching. Our education faculty has been trained in the use of LiveText and has opportunities to meet with company representatives. Faculty is routinely available to assist students with the development of their portfolios. LiveText portfolios facilitate collaboration between instructors and students in the School of Education through the “sharing” function, a feature which allows interactive review of student work-in-progress. LiveText also gives Teacher Education students additional learning resources and support tools, such as streaming video they can use to enhance presentations and lesson plans.
Miller College uses Blackboard Enterprise 9.1 as the course management system and the platform for online instruction, thus establishing a campus and distance-learning environment that offers features that support communication and learning. Blackboard is integrated into many traditional courses to enhance the live class, increase exposure to learning technologies, and augment teacher/student communication. Through Blackboard, students have another method of direct access to instructors. Some classes use Blackboard to facilitate collaboration between group members working on projects. Teachers may also use Blackboard to provide timely feedback on submitted work.
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 (a Doctorate Degree is preferred).
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 participate in orientation activities that familiarizes them with the College’s policies and procedures. Faculty 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.
Effective teaching is valued and supported in various ways. The yearly contracts issued for teaching faculty emphasize instruction and college governance. The evaluation processes inform continuing employment decisions and shape individual professional development agendas. Faculty evaluations are tied to the Miller College Mission and the Strategic Plan.
The information contained in the Policy Manual covers overall faculty responsibilities. Each year, all full and percent-time faculty members meet with the Dean of their School regarding faculty evaluation 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 community, and gather information. The annual faculty and staff evaluation cycle begins in June of each year, as faculty in consultation with their supervisors develop specific goals and objectives for the coming academic year. Goals and objectives for faculty are aligned with the Strategic Plan and focus on effective teaching. A mid-year evaluation occurs during the month of December to assess progress toward achieving the identified goals. The faculty evaluation instruments integrate supervisor’s feedback, self-evaluation and end-of-the-course evaluation data. Course evaluations are completed by students for all course offerings during the last two weeks of each semester. A final evaluation conference takes place during June to discuss the outcomes of the goals, objectives, and self-evaluation and student evaluation data. The cycle begins again with the setting of new goals and objectives based in part, on the feedback gleaned from the final conference with the supervisor.
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 adjunct instructor’s responsibilities include preparation for and the teaching of the assigned course. Experience in conducting on-line course work is also a desired qualification. In addition to teaching responsibilities, adjunct instructors are expected to spend more time on campus for orientation at the beginning of each semester and are encouraged to set office hours to ensure accessibility for students enrolled in their classes. They are invited to attend Academic Affairs to participate in discussions and to observe the course and policy governance procedures conducted during the meetings.
In response to the need for ensuring effective teaching in all courses, Miller College is in the process of developing an instrument for assessing the quality of adjunct faculty. The primary responsibility of adjunct instructors is effective teaching. Therefore the assessment will include the development of goals and objectives in consultation with the Dean of the School and observation of the instructor’s progress toward the achievement of the identified goals. The process will inform continuing employment decisions and the need for professional development for the adjunct staff. When completed, the adjunct evaluation process will be conducted on a three-year cycle with one-third of the adjunct faculty being evaluated each academic year.
Dual Credit Programs
Dual Credit courses are not part of the Miller College curriculum at this time.
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