Lehman College’s Faculty Professional Development Goals:
-supporting faculty’s efforts by providing resources and promoting effective practices in teaching and undergraduate learning;
-the role of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) in improving education at Lehman;
-and with building partnerships and providing the motivation and venue for the integration of sometimes disparate efforts in digital development and instructional training.
In concert with the varied participants in the Lehman and CUNY community which includes Academic Departments, the Leonard Leif Library, the Office of Online Education, the Multimedia Center and the Information Technology Division along with faculty and student-centered learning initiatives such as the Writing Across the Curriculum, Quantitative Reasoning, Tutoring, & Academic Support and Supplemental Instruction, the Teaching and Learning Commons seeks to highlight the role that research in effective instructional practices, instructional technology and active learning play in the process of seeking newer pedagogical learning solutions.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that infusing technology effectively can offer positive benefits to the teaching process and can play a significant role in increasing student learning. Guiding our faculty towards the proficient use of information technologies will advance the knowledge base of our faculty and harness our students’ ubiquitous yet unfettered access to data so that it better serves their academic needs. Supporting these efforts are among the most important investment areas, not just as pedagogical tools but as a means of augmenting the significant content knowledge and expertise that exists within our college.
Increasingly, college space requirements, improved access to technologies and convenience factors have led to a greater demand for ‘Hybrid’ or ‘Blended’ and asynchronous online teaching methods. While blended teaching becomes a mix of any time-anywhere learning spaces that enable learning to occur outside the traditional classroom, too often the process of learning and integrating a new
technology or tool can end up being frustrating and time consuming. Teaching and learning (with technology or without!) is rarely a linear process of ‘beginnings’, ‘middles’ and ‘ends’ but tends to be more of an iterative messy process in which the goals and objectives are continually being negotiated.
A key aspect of our professional development approach is that the adaptation of these new teaching methods will be made through the identification of authentic pedagogical problems as defined by our practicing faculty educators. We also operate under the awareness that different aspects of course design and development are as individual as our faculty and students are. These differences can be underscored on a course to course, even semester to semester basis… For instance, one faculty may be interested in active teaching with a group dynamics approach, while one may be challenged by issues found in groups deciding on the division of labor. Still others might be drawn to technology but experience basic issues with using it for instructional purposes, while others having had some prior experience want to delve further into letting students facilitate their own collaborative learning space.
Whatever the individual cases might be, practicing faculty educators that participate in this arena will serve a vital part of the broader learning community at Lehman. Not only by identifying their authentic pedagogical problems, but also from sharing successes, efforts, comparing notes and sharing resources that provide personal context for the evolving learning journeys of their peers.