Remember how you felt during your first semester of teaching? Excited? Nervous? A little over-whelmed? At times you even might have wondered how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training.
Now you’re a seasoned educator making the move from faculty to administration. And guess what? You’re excited, nervous, and a little overwhelmed. And, once again, you wonder how the school could give you a job with so much responsibility and so little training. Inadequate preparation, unrealistic expectations, and increased workload can create undue stress on faculty members making the transition to department chair or other levels of administration. This special report features 14 articles from Academic Leader newsletter that address many of the challenges faced by new leaders, from establishing a leadership
style to redefining relationships with former peers.
Here are some of the articles you will find in Academic Leadership Development: How to Make a Smooth Transition from Faculty to Administrator:
• Look Before You Leap: Transitions from Faculty to Administration
• Translating Teaching Skills to Leadership Roles
• The First 1,000 Steps: Walking the Road from Academic to Administrator
• Why New Department Chairs Need Coaching
• 10 Recommendations toward Effective Leadership
This report will help new administrators navigate the potential minefields and find their
voice when it comes to leading effectively. It also may remind experienced leaders what it
was like that first year in hopes that they might reach out to help make someone else’s
transition a little easier.
Getting students to take their reading assignments seriously is a constant battle. Even syllabus language just short of death threats, firmly stated admonitions regularly delivered in class, and the unannounced pop quiz slapped on desks when nobody answers questions about the reading don’t necessarily change student behaviors or attitudes. Despite the correlation between reading and course success, many students remain committed to trying to get by without doing the reading, or only doing it very superficially, or only doing it just prior to exam dates. In return, some exasperated instructors fall into the trap of using
valuable class time to summarize key points of the readings. It’s not a new problem, and clearly we can’t simply bemoan the fact that students don’t read. Furthermore, doing what we’ve been doing — the threats, the endless quizzes, the chapter summaries — has failed to solve the problem. The better solution involves designing courses so that students can’t do well without reading, and creating assignments that require students to do more than just passively read.
Featuring 11 articles from The Teaching Professor, this special report was created to give faculty new ways of attacking an age-old problem. Articles in the report include:
• Enhancing Students’ Readiness to Learn
• What Textbook Reading Teaches Students
• Helping Students Use Their Textbooks More Effectively
• Text Highlighting: Helping Students Understand What They Read
• When Students Don’t Do the Reading
• Pre-Reading Strategies: Connecting Expert Understanding and Novice Learning
Whether your students struggle with the material or simply lack the motivation to read what’s
assigned, this report will help ensure your students read and understand their assignments.
The Teaching Professor
In the traditional college classroom today, faculty and students arrive with a certain set of expectations, shaped largely by past experiences. And although students may need the occasional (or perhaps frequent) reminder of what’s required of them, there’s usually something very familiar about the experience for both faculty and students alike. In the online classroom, an entirely new set of variables enters the equation. It’s a little like trying to drive in a foreign country. You know how to drive, just like you know how to teach, but it sure is hard to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road, you’re not quite sure how far a kilometer is, and darn it if those road signs aren’t all in Japanese.
This special report explains the “rules of the road” for online teaching and learning and features a series of columns that first appeared in the Distance Education Report’s “Between the Clicks,” a popular column by Dr. Lawrence C. Ragan, Director of Instructional Design and Development for Penn State’s World Campus.
The articles contained in the report will help you establish online instructor best practices and expectations, and include the following principles of effective online teaching:
• Show Up and Teach
• Practice Proactive Course Management Strategies
• Establish Patterns of Course Activities
• Plan for the Unplanned
• Response Requested and Expected
• Think Before You Write
• Help Maintain Forward Progress
• Safe and Secure
• Quality Counts
• (Double) Click a Mile on My Connection
These principles, developed at Penn State’s World Campus, outline the core behaviors of the successful online instructor, and help to define parameters around the investment of time on part of the instructor. In his articles, Ragan identifies potential barriers and limitations to online learning, and specific strategies to assist instructors in achieving the performance
This guide outlines a framework for addressing student mental health in post-secondary institutions. It is the result of a commitment undertaken by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS) and the Canadian
Mental Health Association (CMHA) to strengthen student mental health. Another product of that commitment, Mental health and well being in postsecondary education settings: A literature and environmental scan to support planning and action in Canada (MacKean, 2011) outlines the current status of post-secondary student mental health and recommends a more system wide approach that extends the focus from “treating individuals... to promoting positive mental health at a population level...” (page 10). The framework presented in this guide continues this work by outlining a systemic approach that focuses on the creation of campus communities that foster mental well-being and learning.
In February 2013, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that identified the growing skills crisis as the greatest impediment to the success of Canadian business. In his 2012 discussion paper, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, Glen Murray, put forward a platform outlining the need to lower rates of spending growth for publicly-funded universities within the context of an increased labour market demand for greater levels of knowledge and skills, combined with burgeoning enrolment rates.
Sometimes great opportunities come from insoluble problems. The review of the Private Career Colleges Act presents such an opportunity. Career Colleges are an essential component of the solution. Estimated to save Ontario taxpayers over $1 billion annually* through the provision of state-of-the-art skills training and upgrading to over 67,000 students each year, the Career College sector and the people of Ontario deserve an Act that provides a strategic framework for the future and that enables innovative, creative growth to propel this province’s postsecondary education (PSE) system, and that of Canada, towards global competitiveness.
The recommendations in this Report are written on the premise that the government of Ontario strives for excellence in education and the economic growth that it can bring; and further, that it recognizes the value, strength and potential of the Career College sector to help realize those goals.
Post-secondary education is the great equalizer. It gives us all a chance to reach higher no matter where we come from or whatever our background. Both of my parents came from very modest upbringings and saw a university degree as a ticket to a good job and an entry to Ontario’s middle class. They, in turn, placed a high importance on post-secondary education and encouraged my sister and I to follow in their footsteps.
There is a lot about Ontario’s colleges and universities that we can be proud of, but we need to ensure our
students are getting the best value for their tuition. In Ontario today, we see far too many students graduate
with degrees and deep debts who can’t find a job.
We are spending a lot more money as a province, but we aren’t seeing the results. Government funding has increased by 84% since 2003, yet Ontario universities are slipping in international rankings, tuition keeps rising, new graduates keep heading out West and there are many jobs in the skilled trades that can’t be filled. This has got to change. We need to make the necessary changes to ensure our schools are the best in the world at preparing students for a career. The key will be incenting excellence, harnessing market forces, encouraging specialization and being honest. We cannot ignore the fact that increasingly university students end up in colleges, after accumulating significant student debt. We need a culture shift in our sytem. Promoting a ‘College First’ approach in our high schools will recognize the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the skilled trades and applied learning at risk of going unfilled and will help alleviate pressure on our universities while preparing those students who decide to
continue on to pursue a university degree.
We also cannot ignore the fact that our university rankings on the global stage have been slipping for some time. Our universities should be focused on quality, not quantity. Allowing undergraduate instructors to focus on teaching full time will improve the student experience by incenting excellence in teaching. Let us make no mistake about the promise we can offer our young graduates and the taxpayers who fund the system. A purposeful evolution of post-secondary education has the potential to do more for the long term health of Ontario than any other program or policy imaginable.
Progressive Conservatives Ontario
Equity and Access to Higher Education?
Participation rates in both university and college vary based on the student’s
family income. That variation is relatively small for college students, but
skews toward children from wealthy families for universities. College students
come almost evenly from the family income quartiles; regardless of
family income, about 25% of students come from each family income quartile.
In contrast, more university students come from wealthy families than
low-income ones. Almost 35% of all university students come from the top
quartile, compared to just under 20% from the poorest quartile.
its use of temporary foreign workers, it led politicians and pundits to scrutinize and question the growing use by Canadian firms of imported, short-term labour. The Royal Bank was accused of misusing a system designed to help employers who could not find Canadian workers by using it, instead, to find cheaper foreign labourers to replace higher-cost Canadians. But the incident raises a bigger question than simply how one bank makes use of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP): Whether the program is, in fact, interfering with the natural supply and demand responses of the labour market. And if we want
to make better use of available Canadian labour, the time has come for the federal government to start cutting back on the use of TFWP.
The number of admissions under the TFWP has nearly tripled in 25 years, from 65,000 to 182,000 in 2010. The primary justification for the expansion of the program has been the widespread assumption that Canada is suffering from a growing shortage of labour. Yet, it is hard to find any evidence to support this belief.
Under the broad research question, “Can multiple electronic learning resources improve students’ academic performance in a large first-year General Chemistry course?”, this study examines how students used a wide range of online resources during the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 academic terms and correlates this information with their academic success, measured by their grades on two midterms, a final exam and their final course grade.
Since 1996, Professor Robert Burk has taught Carleton University’s large first-year chemistry course, CHEM 1000. The course was a full credit course and spanned the fall and winter terms. In 2010, the Department of Chemistry adjusted the curriculum and the course has since then been offered as two half-credit courses – CHEM 1001, which runs in the fall term, and CHEM 1002, which runs in the winter term. Only students who achieve a passing mark in the fall term are eligible to enroll in the winter section of the course. Course enrollment has increased from 350 in 1996 to 700 in 2011.
Six years ago, Sallie Mae started a conversation with American families, asking them important questions about how they meet the cost of higher education and how they view the value of that investment.
The How America Pays for College study, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, shows that American families are settling into a post-recession reality with regards to how they pay for college. Since 2010, families have reduced how much they spend on college, with parents’ contributions in particular seeing a significant decline.
The use of grants and scholarships, now the largest contributor, and student borrowing have increased to make up for some of this deficit. In 2013, the use of college savings plans has also increased to its highest level ever.
This paper reviews the use of online learning in higher education in Canada and internationally. The paper focuses on the following questions:
• What are the cost implications of a shift to online learning? Specifically, does a greater use of online instruction save institutions or systems money and, if so, under what circumstances?
• What do we know about the relationship between online learning and important variables
that are often considered when discussing the “quality” of an institution or of a system?
The methodology combines a review of published literature and an environmental scan of recent developments, recognizing the rapidly evolving nature of the subject matter.
The evidence reviewed suggests that, for a range of students and learning outcomes, fully online instruction produces learning that is on par with face-to-face instruction. The students most likely to benefit are those who are academically well prepared and highly motivated to learn independently.
Students who are not well prepared to learn at the postsecondary level or do not devote the necessary time to learning are less likely to benefit from online learning and may in fact do better in a face-to-face setting.
A learning studio is a classroom or specialized learning space that typically features enhanced teaching and learning technologies, comfortable seating, flexible furniture and an open layout. The learning studio concept is gaining popularity in many educational institutions. The increasing use of the learning studios, with the concomitant construction and equipment costs, inevitably raises questions regarding their effectiveness.
This study poses and tests five questions concerning the effectiveness of learning studios when compared to the traditional classroom.
Do the students better achieve course learning outcomes in a learning studio?
Do the students experience greater course completion rates in a learning studio?
Are students more satisfied with the learning experience in a learning studio?
Are the instructors more satisfied teaching in a learning studio?
Does the learning studio enable and allow for greater use of technologies or alternative teaching methods than the traditional classroom?
As Lambton College converted a few classrooms into learning studios and the faculty migrated courses from the former to the latter, the opportunity arose to examine the effect of the learning studios. For this study, 11 courses were identified in which a section of the course was taught one year in a classroom and the following year in a learning studio. In the successive deliveries of each of these courses, the instructor, course outline, evaluation scheme and student academic program remained constant, and the student demographics remained relatively steady. With the classroom as the control and the learning studio as the experimental venue, the achievement of the learning outcomes and the completion of the course by the students, and the satisfaction of the students and of the faculty could be compared for the two venues.
While Canada leads other OECD member countries in postsecondary education (PSE) participation rates, there still remain underrepresented segments of the population which are less likely to pursue PSE. Ontarians who come from low-income households, have parents with no PSE, live in a rural area, identify as an Aboriginal person, and/or have a disability are less likely to enrol in PSE (Norrie & Zhao, 2011).
Youth from some ethnic and racial groups are also less likely to pursue PSE, particularly university (Abada, Hou, & Ram, 2008).
This paper focuses on early intervention programs as one approach to support underrepresented youth to complete secondary school and make the transition to PSE. These programs are intended to provide youth with the resources, support and information necessary to avoid dropping out of school and to increase their chances of participating in PSE (Chambers & Deller, 2011). Early intervention programs can originate within the elementary and secondary school systems, colleges, universities, community centres or other community-based organizations.
The first section of this report is a literature review summarizing the key thinking on the role of early
intervention programs in supporting access. Much of what we know in Canada about these programs is
drawn from the American context, where research on the topic has been extensive. As a result, the
literature review draws heavily from American sources, making links to the Canadian context where
News reports warn of an upcoming labour shortage that will be accompanied by high unemployment rates due to a large pool of workers who do not have the skills to participate in the Canadian labour market. Researchers and economists have suggested focusing on training populations of individuals who have historically been underrepresented in the labour market as a way of addressing this upcoming shortage.
Through its Employment Ontario – Literacy and Basic Skills program, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities funds preparatory programs at all Ontario public colleges. These programs provide a pathway for non-traditional learners to access postsecondary education and training that would allow them to attain education, training and meaningful employment. Preparatory programs cater to prospective students interested in attending postsecondary programs, trades training or apprenticeships but who lack the admission requirements or who have been out of school for an extended period of time. Preparatory programs provide adult learners with the opportunity to improve their mathematics, communications, computer and science skills up to the level expected for college entry. The courses students take can also fulfill prerequisite requirements for entry into college programs. Other reasons students attend preparatory programs include personal development, career exploration, upgrading for employment purposes or interest in obtaining their high school equivalency.
Approaches to higher education have been evolving at an increasingly rapid pace over the past decade, and graduate education is a critical part of that evolution. In Ontario alone, the number of new programs offered at our institutions has increased dramatically since 2004, and between 1999 and 2009, the number of PhD students enrolled in Ontario universities has nearly doubled (Maldonado, Wiggers, & Arnold, 2013). Students are coming to graduate school at different stages of their lives (Wiggers, Lennon, & Frank, 2011) and, in today’s economy, many are leaving graduate schools with increased uncertainty and anxiety about their career prospects (Maldonado et al., 2013; Patton, 2012).
Whereas in the past it was considered the norm for graduate students to move on to careers in academia, recent studies have confirmed what is apparent to most casual observers: the standard path is no longer into academia. For example, a 2010 study estimated that about 50 per cent of US PhD graduates now take positions outside of academia (Wendler, Bridgeman, Cline, Millett, Rock, Bell, & McAllister, 2010), and those who end up in academia are less likely to hold full-time tenure-stream positions. From 1975 to 2009, the proportion of full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty positions decreased as a proportion of the total number of instructional staff at US universities from approximately 45 to 24 per cent (AAUC), with part-time faculty positions comprising the majority of instructional positions (41%) by 2009. Within the Canadian context, current estimates suggest that less than 25 per cent of PhD students will end up in full-time tenure-stream research and teaching positions (Charbonneau, 2011; Tamburri, 2010).
The Ontario government recognizes the importance of ensuring equality of access to postsecondary education (PSE). One group that has been and continues to be underrepresented in PSE is students with disabilities. As a response, the Ontario government has made improvements to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005, with the end goal of making Ontario a more accessible province for people with disabilities by 2025. In addition to making changes to legislation, there has been increased funding for students with disabilities, with more than $47 million allocated in 2010-2011 to help these students achieve
success in PSE. The Ontario government now also provides targeted funding for students with learning disabilities (Tsagris and Muirhead, 2012).
The 2005 Postsecondary Review, “Ontario: a Leader in Learning,” authored by Bob Rae, addressed issues facing students with disabilities. Key recommendations1 included:
Require institutions to reach out to students with disabilities at their schools and in their communities to ease the transition to postsecondary education. Provide funding for enhanced academic and career counselling on campus. Allow for the evolution of centres of research and service excellence and distribute funding to institutions for supports and services on the basis of the size of a given institution’s population of students with disabilities (Rae, 2005: 32).
In 2008, the OECD launched the AHELO feasibility study, an initiative with the objective to assess whether it is possible to develop international measures of learning outcomes in higher education.
Learning outcomes are indeed key to a meaningful education, and focusing on learning outcomes is essential to inform diagnosis and improve teaching processes and student learning. While there is a long tradition of learning outcomes’ assessment within institutions’ courses and programmes, emphasis on learning outcomes has become more important in
recent years. Interest in developing comparative measures of learning outcomes has increased in response to a range of higher education trends, challenges and paradigm shifts.
AHELO aims to complement institution-based assessments by providing a direct evaluation of student learning outcomes at the global level and to enable institutions to benchmark the performance of their students against their peers as part of their improvement efforts. Given AHELO’s global scope, it is essential that measures of learning outcomes are valid across
diverse cultures and languages as well as different types of higher education institutions (HEIs).
The study presented in this report provides a systematic look at how students experienced and approached their learning in Introductory Financial Accounting at four Ontario postsecondary institutions. Most introductory courses serve a number of important purposes: they provide students with an introduction and a common background to a subject area; they recruit students into a discipline; they foster new skills and attitudes; they bring the opportunity to successfully transition to a new learning environment; and so on. Typically some of the largest courses taught on campus and full of novice learners, introductory courses are arguably also some of the most challenging for instructors and students alike. Anecdotal evidence suggests that on many campuses, Introductory Financial Accounting is no different in this respect. Despite its importance as a gateway to virtually all business or commerce programs, instructors report that student preparation and interest can be inconsistent and that many students find the course unduly challenging.
Social Media Usage Trends Among Higher Education Faculty
The numbers surrounding social media are simply mind boggling.
750 million. The number of active Facebook users, which means if Facebook was a country it would be the third-largest in the world.
90. Pieces of content created each month by the average Facebook user.
175 million. The Twitter accounts opened during Twitter's history.
140 million. The average number of Tweets people sent per day in February 2011.
460,000. Average number of new Twitter accounts created each day during February 2011.
120 million. LinkedIn members as of August 4, 2011.
More than two per second. The average rate at which professionals are signing up to join
LinkedIn as of June 30, 2011.
All of these stats, which come from the respective companies’ own websites, serve as proof points to what we already knew: social media is growing at breakneck speed. Yet the story of social media is still being written as organizations and individuals alike continue to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of social media in the workplace. When that workplace is a college or university, there’s a cacophony of opinions in terms of the most effective uses, if any.
For the past two years, Faculty Focus conducted a survey on Twitter usage in higher education, this year we expanded the survey to include Facebook and LinkedIn, while changing a number of the questions as well. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are considered "the big three" in social media, and we thank those who recommended we take a broader look at the landscape.
All three platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, and are better used for some things than others. But how are the three being used in higher education today? It’s our hope that these survey results provide at least some of the answers while lending new data to the discussion.
Much has been written about the challenges of teaching an online course. While not discounting the unique (and sometimes frustrating) aspects of the online learning environment, it could be said that, despite the numerous differences, many of the same course management strategies that are essential to success in a traditional classroom also apply in the online classroom. These strategies include the importance of a strong syllabus, clear directions, well-organized materials, and timely feedback.
Of course, the big challenge for online instructors is that the very nature of online education amplifies the importance of properly addressing these management issues, while throwing a few more additional obstacles into the mix. Choosing the right communication tools and protocols, addressing technology problems, managing student expectations, and building community are just some of issues that can stretch online instructors to the breaking point.
11 Strategies for Managing Your Online Courses was created to help online instructors
tackle many of the course management issues that can erode the efficiency and effectiveness
of an online course. It features 11 articles pulled from the pages of Online Classroom,
• Syllabus Template Development for Online Course Success
• The Online Instructor’s Challenge: Helping ‘Newbies’
• Virtual Sections: A Creative Strategy for Managing Large Online Classes
• Internal or External Email for Online Courses?
• Trial by Fire: Online Teaching Tips That Work
• The Challenge of Teaching Across Generations
It’s important to keep in mind that you’re not the only one who may be a little anxious
about going online. Students often have anxiety when taking their first online course. It’s
up to you to help them feel more confident and secure, all the while keeping your
workload at a manageable level. The course management tips in this report will help.