Best Practices: Faculty Engagement

Faculty in Virtual College Courses

The Objective:

Virtual College (VC) courses are sometimes seen as an "add-on" course. Additionally, VC is somewhat separated from NTC. Therefore, what can be done to increase faculty motivation and engagement in VC courses?

Best Practices: Faculty Engagement & Motivation

Increasing faculty and student engagement is in alignment with the values of the Virtual College. Virtual College displays excellence not only in its position of offering online and technologically advanced courses, but also through the skills of its instructors. Therefore, a high-level of engagement within coursework among instructors is an integral component of virtual college.


Certainly, communication and engagement on the part of the student is a worthy discussion –but deserves its only time and place. The purpose of this flyer is to provide the most up-to-date practices, skills, and strategies to encourage a high-level of engagement among the Virtual College instructors. Based on peer-reviewed literature are the following suggestions, tips, and recommendations toward increasing faculty engagement in Virtual College classes.


· Faculty should invest in greater empathy and awareness among students.


· Professional relationships among students are encouraged with a focus on mentorship.


· Faculty workshops are shown to increase faculty engagement in the classroom.


· Faculty has indicated stipend or release time are top incentives for attending workshops.


· Faculty rewards or mandatory meetings significantly increase workshop attendance.


· Giving faculty a voice in which to express their concerns around increased engagement is desirable. Additionally, an awareness of increased workloads and policy pressures may impact faculty/student contact and engagement.

Existing Research:

Virtual College is a novel idea. Aside from teaching online, VC focuses on utilizing state-of-the-art teaching, engagement, and an additional course load for some. There is scant research on the issues of motivation among online faculty motivation and engagement. However, there is some research. The ideas presented in this flyer are partially pulled from the following references:


Jackson, Dimitra Lynette, Michael J. Stebleton, and Frankie Santos Laanan. "The Experience of Community College Faculty Involved in a Learning Community Program." Community College Review 41, no. 1 (January 2013): 3-19. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost (accessed April 8, 2014).


Lefebvre, L. A. (2008). Demographics, employment motivations, and roles of part-time faculty at virtual universities. New Directions For Higher Education, (143), 37-44.


Lowenthal, Patrick R., Wray, Michael L., Bates, Barbara, Switzer, Teri, and Stevens, Ellen. (in press). Examining Faculty Motivation to Participate in Faculty Development. Retrieved from:

http://patricklowenthal.com/publications/Examining-Faculty-Participate-in-Faculty-Development.pdf

Statistic: 50% of faculty believe they among the top 10% of effective instructors. (Lowenthal et al. n.d.)