Faculty support is about providing faculty with the necessary tools and resources to become better instructors, course developers, and learners, whether it's teaching online or face to face. A critical factor for faculty support includes being the learner when you want to become a better instructor. By this, when it comes to faculty support, we must let faculty know that you have to be the student of your course. If you're the student in your class, would you complete the work? Would you watch the video? Would you complete the assignment/s? To become better instructors, they must understand the student body, provide access to training, and be innovative.
Understanding the Student Body
Faculty members need to understand the student body they serve. If the institution has over 35% first-generation students among the total student population, there is a high chance the faculty member will have ⅓ of its student body first generation. Faculty must understand its student body because not every student learns the same and comes from the same background. First-generation students may have more challenges than legacy students whose parents and grandparents attend the university. A first-generation student may need extra tutoring and assistance to understand better expectations and guidance in selecting a major. To get started, I suggest that the faculty member conduct a learner analysis.
Access to Training
Faculty members, just like anyone else, have 24 hours in a day, and of the 24 hours, only so much can be devoted to training. When I first started teaching, I had to train myself to teach both face-to-face and online. The institution did provide courses and just-in-time training, but it was not enough. Imagine a firefighter trained for two hours before being sent to an emergency. Do you think the firefighters would do a good job? Probably not. The same can go for a faculty member teaching in the classroom. Training is an essential part of teaching, and without training the faculty member, the classroom can be a disaster. The number of free teaching courses over the years has increased tenfold, but it's up to the faculty member to select the right fit.
Think like an Entrepreneur
As a Certified Practitioner of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile, I take an entrepreneurial mindset to faculty support. I believe approaching from an entrepreneurial mindset is that faculty need to be innovative, engaging, and have differentiation. There is a saturation of online courses available from higher education institutions that look and feel the same. Universities need to take the initiative, especially faculty support, to approach online learning design from an entrepreneurial mindset of taking a pivot of embracing creativity, risk, and conformity. Faculty support is more than teaching how to use a learning management system; it's about putting on the entrepreneurial mindset hat and thinking creatively.
As a faculty member, what will you do to improve the classroom better?
Learning Technology Specialist and Certified Practitioner of the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile