About Mercy College• New York metropolitan area minority-serving institution – 10,000 students in five campus locations – 90+ graduate and undergraduate programs and online – 70% of classes have fewer than 20 students – approximately 220 full-time faculty and 600 visiting, professional and adjunct faculty – One of the most affordable, private, not-for profit institutions in the U.S. (tuition is about $16K per year)• Mission to provide motivated students the opportunity to transform their lives through personalized and high quality learning environments in higher education.
What is a Faculty Learning Community (FLC)?In Milton Cox’s work, a FLC is defined as: “a cross-disciplinary faculty and staff group of six to fifteen members who engage in an active, collaborative …curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning with …activities that provide learning, development, the scholarship of teaching, and community building…”(Cox, 2004)
FLC’s Theoretical Underpinnings• Collaborative learning forms the basis of the construction of knowledge (Dewey, 1938).• Empowers the learner as an active participant in the construction of knowledge (Bruffee, 1993).• Builds trust in an environment of “…clarity, consensus, and commitment regarding the organization’s basic purposes…” (Vaill, 1984 in Sergiovanni, 1992, p.83).• Creates conditions that lead to innovation (Bielacyzc & Collins, 2006).
Critical Inquiry• Spring 2010, FRSM – Critical Inquiry FLC.• Faculty interest in DS• Idea: Use a DS in place of a research paper• Partnership formed
Administrative Champions• Dr. Braddlee, Dean of LATOL• Nancy Pawlyshyn, Chief Assessment Officer• They understand the benefits of using DS and it’s transformative potential in the classroom
Why did we choose DS?• DS aligns with Mercy’s mission• Empowering our unique students voices• Affordable: Works within limited resources• Address Freshmen Seminar Gen Ed competencies• Authentic assessment of learning outcomes
Gathering Momentum• Started with traditional workshops, full day of ending in faculty creating their own story.• Attended a 3-day Center for Digital Storytelling workshop. – Heart of a DS is writing a good story – Framework for implementing DS at Mercy• We began our pilot semester – Group of 4 FRSM and 1 School of Education
Class Implementation• Preparation: – Create a question, a prompt, or theme for their story – Decide on an evaluation method (ex. rubric)• 1st In-Class Activities – Writing exercise: “Haircut” stories – Discussion on the process – Watch example Digital Stories• 2nd In-Class Activities – Story Circle (Brainstorming and Feedback) – Computer Lab with Photo Story 3• On the final day of class watch the stories!
More Outreach• Fall 2010, Faculty Seminar Day – full day of faculty development – Social Justice through the art of “Storytelling”• 5 faculty leaders presented a DS called “Living the Mission of Mercy College”• Keynote: Roxanna Sabari – powerful story of imprisonment in Iran
Multiple Indications of Success• Internally: – Important piece for the Spring Faculty Seminar Day – Invited to speak at departmental meetings – School of Ed: SLED (Student Led, Mini-Symposium - Pros/Cons of DS)• Externally: – March 2011, NERCOMP Partnered w/ Bryan Alexander (NITLE) and Eric Brehns (Swathmore) – 2011 AACU General Education Conf – 2011 TESOL Conf (Education)
Challenges!• Limited Resources: – Technical support for both fac/students – Student facilities and computer labs – Enabling faculty self-sufficiency – Licensing production software• Scalability: – Growth has been slow – 7 FRSM and 2 School of Ed faculty – Requests from new departments are tabled for Spring
References• Angelo, T. (2002) Engaging and supporting faculty in the scholarship of assessment. In T. Banta, (2002). Building a scholarship of assessment (2nd edition). San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.• Bielaczyc, K. & Collins, A. (2006). Fostering knowledge-creating communities. In A. O’Donnell, C. Hmelo-Silver, & G. Erkens. (2006) Collaborative learning, reasoning and technology. NJ: Erlbaum Associates Publishers.• Bruffee, Kenneth. (1998). Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge. MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.• Cox, M. (2004). Introduction to faculty learning communities. [Electronic version]. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. No. 97.• Dewey, J. (1938, 1997). Experience & education. New York: Touchstone• Sergiovanni, T. (1992). Leadership as stewardship. In Jossey-Bass (2007). The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.