Motivational Interviewing June 2

Using Motivational Interviewing to Engage Faculty and Facilitate Change

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Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a collaborative communication style, developed in the field of clinical psychology, for strengthening an individual’s intrinsic motivation and commitment to change. Within an atmosphere of acceptance, compassion, and empowerment, people’s ambivalence about change is identified and explored by evoking their own reasons to change with respect to their values and goals. Thirty years of research shows this approach to be effective in facilitating behavior changes in contexts ranging from substance abusers entering treatment to dietary changes in diabetics, medication compliance in cardiovascular disease, and increasing water sanitation practices in remote South African villages, among others. More recently, MI has been brought into the context of organizational change, including academia.


Blended Learning May 31

Four Steps to Building Institutional Support for Blended Learning

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“Building an effective blended learning culture needs strategic partners across multiple campus constituents and not just faculty. Strong support from higher-up administration coupled with faculty goes a long way towards the acceptance of such alternative learning strategies across campus.” These ideas come from Sunay Palsole, PhD, associate vice provost for digital learning at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He discussed several ways to build institutional support for blended learning by working with various campus offices, and shared four specific ideas with us.


Online Program Planning May 24

How to Be More Strategic with Online Program Planning

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Although you might know a few faculty members who are adamantly opposed to online education, online programming—the development of individual courses and degree programs—continues to expand. My experience, both at my institution and in my conversations with online administrators across the country, reveals that colleges and universities are beginning to think more strategically about their online offerings. I especially see evidence related to developing strategic plans for online education. If you Google “online education strategic plan,” you will find dozens of examples that various institutions have developed.


Academic program assessment May 19

How to Lead Assessment in Your Unit

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Being in charge of assessment within one’s unit involves more than measuring student learning outcomes. It’s about leading cultural change, a process that is best undertaken in collaboration with those who know the discipline, program, and students best—the faculty and staff. Linda Neavel Dickens, director of institutional accreditation and program assessment at The University of Texas at Austin, offers advice on how to lead this collaborative process.


Student Performance May 10

How Faculty Teaching Load, Employment Status Affect Student Performance

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Some years ago, Witt Salley, EdD, director of online education at Clemson University, was working for a community college in Missouri. The college had a growing online presence, and it was handling this demand by allowing faculty who were willing to teach online to do so as an overload. This policy made online instruction very attractive to the faculty and allowed the institution to meet its growing demand. Unfortunately, some of the students were beginning to suffer. “Assignments were going ungraded and discussion boards were ignored,” says Melanie Shaw, PhD, online faculty success coordinator at Clemson. The college hired adjunct faculty to teach online to lighten the load on full-time faculty, but the full-time faculty responded negatively, citing concerns about the quality of instruction from the adjuncts. So Salley undertook a study to examine how faculty workload and status impacted student success. The results shed some light on this important issue.


Leading throughout the Organizational Life Cycle May 8

Leading throughout the Organizational Life Cycle

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According to organizational life cycle theory, institutions and units within institutions progress through a sequence of stages—inception, growth, maturity, and decline or revitalization. Understanding the challenges specific to each stage can help leaders be more effective. Although inevitable, progression through these stages can be upsetting to those who are averse to change, but “if you can convince them that this is a natural progression, it may allay their fears or concerns,” says Claire Phillips, dean of instruction at Lone Star College–CyFair.


New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times May 3

New Academic Programs in Lean Financial Times: Process Revisited and Lessons Learned

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In lean financial times, colleges and universities need to ask themselves whether to take a conservative approach to new program development or to scan aggressively for growth markets, seeking opportunities to invest in the future. In the case of University of Mount Union (UMU), we took a more aggressive approach toward investing in the future, and the investments are paying off.


Putting Assessment in Its Place April 21

Putting Assessment in Its Place

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What can you do with four minutes?

You can close the report and check the clock, update your to-do list, sort through your mail, or respond to a minor e-mail query. There are many important tasks you can do in four minutes. And if you don’t do them now, you’ll just have to find another four minutes later. Of course, none of this matters if you have plenty of time and too little to do, but most institutions have finite resources and must be deliberate in how they use them. Program assessment presents a special challenge to resource allocation, requiring a similarly deliberate approach.


How Much Does Instruction in Your Program Cost? April 19

How Much Does Instruction in Your Program Cost?

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To manage resources effectively, it’s important to know how much it costs to teach students in your programs. Instructional costs vary from program to program based on class size, faculty salaries, equipment, and technology. And not all programs will generate enough revenue to cover costs. That’s OK as long as those high-cost programs are balanced with “cash cows,” programs that generate more revenue than expenses. Instructional cost data can play an important role in strategic planning.