Faculty Support and Course Development
The new Core provides not only a new and improved program for students but also an opportunity for faculty to renew our commitment to teaching, to explore new avenues in teaching, and to jointly develop new courses. The new Core holds the potential to rekindle full-time faculty interest and participation in the Core, to develop cross-disciplinary, as well as intra-disciplinary collaboration in teaching, and to promote a learning community among faculty from different colleges and schools within LMU. The new Core also enables departments to introduce the students to their disciplines from new angles while promoting an integrated understanding of an LMU education.
For the “new Core” to be truly new, we need to acknowledge and meet the challenges of moving beyond a general education approach to an integrated and developmental one. Different kinds of courses, the First-Year Seminar, Rhetorical Arts, and Integrations ask for new skills and approaches to classes, requiring us to rethink our teaching, and challenging us to make connections in ways that we have not done in the former paradigm for the Core. Such rethinking is also necessary and important for courses in the “Explorations” section of the Core. These Explorations courses move from being surveys or introductions to fostering understanding of the ways that knowledge is appreciated and pursued from various perspectives.
A successful implementation of the Core relies on careful planning and design of all classes. The Core requires a large number of classes to be developed or significantly revised and implemented at the same time; for example, approximately 66 sections of the First Year Seminar and 66 sections of Rhetorical Arts courses will be needed. Additionally, numerous Explorations class sections and Integrations courses will be developed. All courses need to satisfy common criteria and many will include interdisciplinary aspects. A large number of faculty need to be involved in the process of generating a cohesive Core that is more than a collection of individual courses. Only with intense collaboration among faculty will the new Core be ready to be implemented in the projected two-year period. Such collaboration will be based in discussions about our teaching, exchanges about experiences and ideas, as well as learning new teaching tools.
A Framework for Faculty Support for Core Course Development
Course development workshops will provide the necessary framework and incentives to engage faculty in the process and will lay the foundation for future Core courses to be developed. These opportunities for faculty enrichment serve not only the individual faculty member but the scholarly community at large. The professional support workshops seek to build bridges between schools and colleges, institute critical and sustained discussion of student needs and emerging pedagogies, and foster community among the colleges and schools. Central to the course development program is the collaborative nature of all aspects of the Core.
Starting in the Fall of 2011, the program during the academic year will support the faculty working groups as they develop the requirements for the Core courses that define the framework for course proposals. The program during the academic year will also assist faculty as they prepare course proposals; it will provide the necessary information, support, and forum for faculty to develop and design courses. By the Spring 2012 deadline, a large number of course proposals will have to be submitted; in particular, Explorations courses will have to be ready for submission. While the program will provide opportunities to engage in all aspects of the new Core, particular attention will be paid to the courses that are new to LMU, such as the First Year Seminar and Rhetorical Arts, as well as the Integrations courses.
The events during both academic years will:
- provide information about the Core and the ongoing development of the Core,
- support the development of course criteria,
- discuss relevant pedagogical theories and empirical evidence,
- introduce examples and experiences from other institutions,
- showcase standards and best practices,
- provide a forum to share experiences, teaching philosophies and class material, and
- connect LMU faculty and facilitate the exchange of ideas.
In addition to the events during the academic year, a program of intensive course development workshops, supported by grants, will be offered during the summers of 2012 and 2013. These workshops will be designed to assist with the development of new courses or substantial course transformations, and will provide ample opportunity for collaboration and peer-to-peer learning. In recognition of the substantial summer work involved, participation in this workshop program will be supported by grants. In order to receive a grant, faculty are excepted to participate in workshops, share representative course material through the form of presentation or other means, and commit to teaching the course at least twice within a reasonable cycle.
The Core course development program is being planned by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) in collaboration with other academic and support units at LMU. Grants will be administered by the CTE and the application selection will be conducted by the Committee on Excellence in Teaching (CET). The course development process will be accompanied by the development of two other aspects of Core implementation: Assessment and academic advising.