The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Faculty and Staff Guilford Edge discussion area

November 29th, 2017

Please feel free to discuss the Guilford Edge proposal and its various parts here.

You may post anonymously if you wish. Comments from anonymous and first-time posters will be held by the site software moderation until I can approve them.

The Guilford Edge website is here.

Feedback collected by the Edge team about the changes to the semester calendar and weekly schedule is here.

The faculty Learning Collaboratively folder is here, the index with background information and proposals is here, and the working list of ideas prepared for the December 6 faculty meeting is here.

The first draft of a faculty plan for the Learning Collaboratively proposal, prepared by Clerk’s Committee, based on discussion at the December 6 meeting, is here.

The second draft of a faculty plan for the Learning Collaboratively proposal, containing updates after the December 15 faculty meeting, is here.

Comments

5 Comments

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  • Vance Ricks says on: December 4, 2017 at 3:11 pm

     

    Hi, faculty and staff colleagues,

    I know (from Kyle) that some of you have had prior conversations with people at Hiram College in Ohio because of its “Hiram Plan”, which includes a 12-1-3 academic calendar.

    Hiram’s brand-new Academic VP/Dean, Judy Muyskens, is someone I knew and worked with several years ago, so I thought I’d talk with her — in my role as the chairperson of the Faculty Development Committee. I wanted to get her (admittedly newbie’s) perspective on the history, and the lived reality (especially for faculty), of Hiram’s academic calendar, and in particular, on the possible implications for faculty development workshops, funding, release time, and so on for an institution like ours to adopt some version of that calendar.

    Not only did Judy respond quickly, but she has also asked Prof. Ellen Walker (Assoc Prof of Computer Science and Associate Academic Dean), and Prof. Sandra Madar (Prof of Biology and Biomedical Humanities and Director of Strategic Academic Initiatives) to chime in, and they have.

    I have copied and pasted their comments to date, into a single Google document, “Ricks’s conversation with admins/faculty at Hiram College”, which is in the “Faculty Edge Ideas” folder on the Google Drive here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1h2slVDkJen6va5SOpoz0_nFaY97I_09J

    Please post any comments and questions you have here, rather than in the Google document itself! I’ll update the document as the “conversation” continues.

    -Vance

  • Dave Dobson says on: December 5, 2017 at 3:37 pm

     

    From David Hildreth:

    I do want to go on record as saying I am not for the 12-3 change in schedule. I am not trying to be obstructive, and do recognize we do need to do *something* cool and bold to bring in students, but just don’t think it prudent we do such a change at this moment without:

    1. More faculty buy in
    2. More research as to why this works and how we can make it work at GC if we do adapt it, or something similar
    3. More available funding to make something like this work

    and, most of all,

    4. More PROOF THAT THIS DOES WORK (and yes, I meant all caps).

    What I mean by “work” is …will this 12-3 schedule, best that can be proved, bring in more students and give us a competitive edge in getting “good” students to GC vs. them heading somewhere else. I know as a parent with two academic and competitive kids in college (like yours) who had several school choices, nothing about schedules made us/them look at one school vs. the other; why do “they”–whoever they may be here on campus–think that this schedule will make us competitively different/better with so much conviction? Perhaps there are such data and I just don’t know about it. (If I missed this, my bad.) I don’t think there is enough proof or buy-in at this moment and doing this will perhaps cause rancor among faculty, etc., not to mention be disruptive as can be. (Plus, what do the current students think about such a new gig and how does that impact them? And, do we have the infrastructure to seamlessly transition to such a schedule?)

    I would like to propose we revisit the Jan Term (or perhaps May term) in a more systematic and fiscally-appropriate way. We’ve had it, it kinda worked, and many folks liked it. And, it is something that we can perhaps market, although I do recognize this is not ultra-cutting edge at this point. If we can adjust how it was run and marketed (i.e., require that students take 1x, 2x or whatever number we decide, as faculty) so that funding for it is embedded in tuition, I think it may be a good option, or at least compromise to this all-out blowing up of our schedule.

  • Julie Burke says on: December 6, 2017 at 9:31 am

     

    Thank you for pursuing this informative and insightful conversation with people at Hiram, Vance. What I ‘get’ from it is:
    1) It has taken many years to develop and stabilize the schedule. Even with the enthusiastic responses about creativity, immersion, and engagement the difficulties are ones which we are already struggling with, e.g. time, energy, space for governance, funding for infrastructure.

    2) Hiram has had to create separate high school and adult programs. We have created a very strong and vibrant early college which seems like it would become less compatible with the college should we move to the 12-3 schedule. I have experienced. what appears to be, an effort to diminish the adult programs. 12 -3 appears to be another step in that direction.

    3) Students still find ways around the 3 week experiences at Hiram and Hiram has had to find ways to coerce students into them.. This seems very similar to what happened with Jan term. I know that there have been discussions about requirements of 3 weeks sessions, but if the three week term is a requirement because students are avoiding it, or for some reason do not have the ability to travel or stay on campus for those 3 weeks, then it appears that we are not creating something inviting students in, but rather making one more challenge for them.

    4. I do note the strengths noted in the conversation. They are important. Again, however, we already seem to be faced with challenges that are exacerbated in 12 -3 as noted by the correspondents.

    5. There is no clear/valid evidence, which is what we are looking for, that changing schedules has significantly increased Hiram’s admissions and retention.

    When Jane first arrived the mantra was to “do a few things splendidly” — I apologize for the harshness of my next comment, but it seems to me we are now on to doing many things, frenetically and desperately.

    The words “bold” and “transformative” are bandied about and I have trouble understanding what they mean. Bold-ness, in my view, can mean standing one’s, principled ground courageously in the face of an onslaught. It doesn’t necessarily mean striking out into new territories or slashing back ( as with an edge of something sharp). I am not naive, I know we face many fiscal difficulties. My opinion is that rather than expanding, we might have to contract and focus, as we did begin to do with Jane’s first mantra.

    My suggestion is to remedy the following: We have not spent the time and energy we need to in promoting and highlighting the work that colleagues have done to develop what might be called transformative programs including, SFS, Cyber Security ( sorry I don’t have the right name in front of me – and see I should know that as well as I know – or better than I know 12-3 and :Edge”), public health program, GUS, makers, school in the prisons, critical education programs, the work of JPS in the community, the work of Bonner in the community, Peace and Conflict studies, business studies credentials, and creative writing.

    If we spent half the amount of time and money we do discussing the Arts and Sciences report, which has no supporting data to validate it, on promoting, fully supporting, and spotlighting these transformative programs, and I am sure I have missed some because many of us do not know what is happening across campus – so how could the public know- I think we would be moving in the right direction, without the costly consultants, and with renewed energy, sense of purpose and support, renewal, and pride.

    I know that I have not been actively involved this year, but from the periphery, I can say that the campus feels cynical and defeated. I speak up because I feel safe as a tenured associate professor, I have a deep sense that as much as “we” speak, decisions are already made. One example of this, which has not helped the morale, is the sudden change in insurance rates. I know this seems outside of the discussion, but I think it is an example of the whole context in which we are trying to be transformative/bold – which takes trust and transparency.

    If we want to make a change in the world, which I absolutely think is the core of our College, than we have to start with us. We have not honored or uplifted the people who are here working because they believe in our mission. We do not have fair working conditions, I don’t think we have done a good job talking with the students who come here as first generation or who have been underserved and underresourced in their schools and communities. What do they actually want and need. Sometimes, I feel we recruit them for our own uses rather than for their gain,

    Dave mentioned the “quality” of the students we hope to recruit. My hope is that we recruit students who want to make a difference and believe that we, at Guilford College, all of us, have the wherewithal, skills, knowledge, time, and infrastructure to provide the appropriate academic, social, psychological and contextual scaffolds so that every one of them can direct their own achievements and fulfillment and become the change they wish to see.

    I appreciate everyone’s hard work. I am very passionate and frustrated and that is reflected in my writing. It is not my intention to demean anyone. I disagree with the ideas of some of us, but I honor every person and am deeply appreciative of your convictions and commitment.

    • Eva Lawrence says on: December 10, 2017 at 7:36 pm

       

      Julie, thank you for saying this.

  • Julie Burke says on: December 13, 2017 at 9:51 am

     

    So here is my BIG idea: Let’s just stop. We have been trying to recreate the wheel for what, 2 years, now? In that time, and as indicated in comments on the Clerk’s proposal, there are several programs which are already doing things such as we are proposing.

    Let’s just Stop for a moment and gather up our resources, our models, our successes We seem to no sooner start an initiative than we stop supporting it through its crucial growth and development process.

    How about this: Every program reports on how it already does things that resemble what is in the Clerk’s proposal. ( or why it has chosen not to) Every program reports its successes and ideas for revisions of its programs. Let’s take those reports and do the following:

    Shine a light and some actual support on them ( money, time, space, pr)
    Meet in groups where there is overlap that already is evident or the possibility for overlap ( interdisciplinary collaboration) is evident and work from that starting place

    These two actions would take allocated time for faculty to meet, record, and report.

    Practice strong public relations on campus and off by promoting what we already do. I know to some extent and for some programs we do that — but it seems like the promotion is uneven. How much of the pressure for self-promotion can we take off the people who are doing the program and how much of the PR work can be placed in administrative offices?

    My belief is that the nature of our work is that we will not reach a consensus for method or model, although we must reach consensus on our mission and identity. However, we can build a community/institution wherein we can guide students to explore the many possibilities and find their own niche – which is what we do for the students who stay. We can choose to be both/and instead of either/or.

    So, again, my suggestion for an action is to STOP! To collect the evidence of our work that already does so much of what is proposed. To plan time for us to showcase to each other what it is we already do. Faculty meetings can be showcase time dedicated to bringing into the light what we do. Then we can make more informed and generous and practical and intentional decisions. We can choose to collaborate and cross borders.

    We are operating under such fear and immediacy. We may have to contract before we can move forward.

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The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life