Challenge XI: Professional Development
Faculty and staff are afforded and provided opportunities for development, especially technology, additional resources to enhance their knowledge of their disciplines through local, state and national workshops. As a new institution, the professional development opportunities, policies and practices used to start a college were on-going and very intensive. The entire faculty and staff were involved in researching best practices, interviewing, attending local, state, and national sessions to seek out best knowledge and practices. Strategic plans (Revised Fall 2012) are in place to send faculty to areas of study that more directly relate to the teaching in the content areas.
Faculty members keep a record of their professional, community or other activities to become part of their accountability for contract renewal. They also share the knowledge gained at the Academic Affairs Committee upon return from the training.
Professional development funds for faculty or staff are requested on a departmental basis as part of the budget process in the Instruction cost center or in the Student Services cost center.
Ongoing technology training is integrated into the twice-annual faculty orientation, which all part-time and full-time faculty attend. As new technology resources are adopted, training is integrated into monthly Academic Affairs meetings, which all part-time and full-time faculty attend and to which all adjunct faculty are invited. Ongoing technology training and support is offered by one full-time faculty member who serves as the campus administrator for Blackboard and LiveText, and by the Information Services department of Kellogg Community College, which is contracted by Miller College to provide such services.
The faculty has access to state-of-the-art technology. On-going Professional Development is provided for full-time, percentage-time, and adjunct faculty at the beginning of each semester. Instructional support for Blackboard, Colleague Web Advisor, LiveText Electronic Portfolios, Microsoft Office 2007 and other related technologies are provided. The Orientation for Adjunct Faculty is provided by the faculty. Requests for professional development funds are made by the individuals who are planning to attend a meeting or conference. The request process starts with the individual, is approved by the dean, and then proceeds to the Vice President and Executive Director of Finance for the release of funds.
Tuition reimbursement funds are also placed in the budget. They may be accessed to obtain a graduate degree. The faculty and staff requesting support of a graduate program prepares a proposal indicating the degree, institution, cost, and the reason they wish to continue their studies. The proposal is submitted to the respective supervisor and then to the Vice President. If agreement is reached the proposal moves to the President for final approval and release of funds.
As detailed on the roster of instructional faculty, all faculty members regularly engage in professional development through participation in local, state and/or national workshops and conferences on a level equal to that of other units in the College. The Faculty Policy Manual specifies that full-time faculty will be supported for attendance at one national conference annually if desired and as funding is available. Faculty members are asked to submit travel requests as part of the annual college budgeting process.
The College has provided direct financing for doctoral studies for one Dean who requested tuition assistance for such study. The College has provided tuition assistance to staff members pursuing Master’s degree studies and the current President has expressed an oral commitment to financially support doctoral studies of faculty. One faculty member who completed a doctoral program while employed by Miller did not need financial assistance as he had earned a fellowship at the University where he was pursuing his degree. However, the College did provide the faculty member with release time from contractual teaching load obligations in order to devote adequate time to completing the doctoral program.
The College believes that the Learning Outcome-Lifelong Learning must refer not just to the students, but to the faculty as well. Faculty members must also enhance their continued professional development in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As such, the annual College budget reflects a commitment to support teaching and scholarship by faculty and students. Each school has an equal opportunity to request funding as needed for Professional Development. Joint sessions are also planned for faculty and students to attend local and state curriculum sessions.
Support for professional development in each School is equal in all units in the College due to the significant opportunities to attend state, regional/national conferences.
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