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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Community and Technical College Faculty and Students to Benefit from NISOD, ACUE Collaboration | Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

Native American leaders and organizations point out that there is high demand for educators at Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) as the institutions seek to prepare their students to become nationbuilders and sustain the history and vibrancy of Native cultures and languages.
Photo: Dr. Jonathan Gyurko

The recent collaboration between the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) and the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) is guided by a unifying mission: that the practice of teaching should be taken as seriously as the practice of research, service and subject-matter expertise, leaders say.

“Every major profession takes its practice seriously,” says Dr. Jonathan Gyurko, chief executive officer and founder of ACUE, conjuring to mind attorneys studying to pass the bar exam or physicians training to pass their board exams. “Once on the job, teaching centers across the country do a phenomenal job of supporting faculty. But they’ve often not had the resources to provide comprehensive support across all of the areas of practice that we know constitute effective teaching and stronger student outcomes.” 

While NISOD and ACUE had not initially established a set number of educators the organizations hope to serve at the time their partnership was announced in early November, leaders point out that there are more than 1.5 million educators working in higher education today. Nearly one million of those educators are not tenure or tenure-track, Gyurko says. 

They may be contingent or adjunct or lectures. Their primary job is to teach. Their only job is to teach,” he says. And because community and technical colleges are largely teaching institutions, “we think that this [partnership] will have particular benefit for those students as their faculty deepen and refine their teaching practices,” he says.

Research shows that community and technical colleges serve significant populations of students of color, underprepared students and adult learners, making NISOD and ACUE’s collaboration all the more relevant in addressing the needs of evolving higher education populations...

ACUE’s efforts to enhance professional development and training for faculty revolve around the organization’s “Effective Practice Framework.”  

“That framework is based on 40 years of research from the scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as the scholarship from neuroscience and the learning sciences,” Gyurko says. 

The framework – and the teaching competencies under each major area of practice – touches on several areas:

-Designing and structuring an effective course and class that is consistent with brain science and that sustains students’ learning experience across multiple weeks;
-Evidence-based practices around establishing a productive and engaging learning environment that is civil and welcoming, supportive to the needs of students, especially underprepared students, and more broadly, helps students persist;
-Utilizing active learning techniques so that students are constructing their own knowledge;
-Promoting higher order thinking to ensure students become “self-managing, metacognitive learners,” Gyurko says; and
-Assessing to inform instruction and also to promote learning and refine teaching for students and faculty in real-time.
In addition, ACUE uses data to evaluate the effects of teacher development and training opportunities on student outcomes, Leach says, adding that it was reassuring for his organization to know that the American Council on Education (ACE) and Quality Matters have given ACUE’s work a “stamp of approval.”

Source: Diverse: Issues in Higher Education