Queensborough Community College’s operational plan includes a framework for fostering teaching excellence. Three faculty development events funded by CUNY TLH were hosted by The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) in order to support the campus level implementation of student-centered pedagogies by fostering pedagogically sound knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) and improve our faculty’s ability to teach more effectively.
The campus wide initiative on Teaching Excellence Forum & Speaker Series was planned by the Coordinators of High Impact Practices with a goal of fostering greater understanding among faculty about the need for refining their assignments, improving the design of their courses, gaining strategies for increasing student engagement, creating a respectful and inclusive classroom environment, utilizing pedagogical technology more comprehensively, and learning how to assess one’s classes for future improvement.
The Teaching Excellence Forum & Speaker Series included two virtual events (10:00 AM-12:00 PM) on March 3 & March 10, 2023. The first event (March 3) began with a conversation and Jamboard posting on the topic: “What does Teaching Excellence mean to me?” This activity was followed by a lecture by invited speaker Nancy Hansel (author of Undergraduate Research at Community Colleges: Equity, Discovery, and Innovation) whose lecture addressed the points that emerged from the conversation. The lecture was followed by four breakout sessions on topics: “Assessing one’s classes for future improvement”; “Active Learning Strategies”; “Enhancing Student Engagement”; “Social Mobility and Student Choice” Faculty facilitators from High Impact Practices were selected to lead the conversation. (75 participants; 6 facilitators)
The second event (March 10) included brief presentations on “What is working for me.” Faculty presenters from across the disciplines demonstrated aspects of teaching excellence (student-Centered practices, active learning, equity-based pedagogy) followed by facilitated discussions. Each presenter shared a pedagogical approach or project that promotes active learning, student engagement, and/or a high-impact practice. Presentation highlighted three key areas related to this approach:
1. The problem/ issue that they identified or the learning outcome they set out to address with the pedagogical approach.
2. The pedagogical approach or practice they implemented and an explanation of how it promotes active learning, student engagement and/or high-impact practices.
3. The effects, impacts, and/or results of this implementation.
The session provided ample opportunities for exploring questions, tensions, and challenges of learner-centered pedagogy. Participants engaged in chat and Q & A to share their experiences, resources, concerns, and questions.
The event concluded with an announcement of the launch of QCC’s new Teaching Excellence Award. The Teaching Excellence committee, consisting of faculty from various departments, has been working to design a rubric and description for the Teaching Excellence Award. Much like the Excellence in Scholarship Award, the Excellence in Teaching award reaffirms the College’s commitment to teaching excellence. Two awards will be given out each award cycle: One to a full-time faculty member of any rank and another to a part-time faculty member.
The third event was “A Celebration of Teaching Excellence and High Impact Practices” on Friday, May 12, 2023; 11:30am – 1:30pm. Faculty had an opportunity to learn more about teaching excellence at Queensborough and the faculty who completed High Impact Practices training during the 2022-2023 Academic Year. Faculty members who participated in both sessions of the Teaching Excellence Forum (March 3 & 10) received certificate of participation. This ‘in person’ event was organized by CETL and the Coordinators of High Impact Practices at Queensborough.
–By Meghmala Tarafdar, Interim Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning and Assistant Professor, English and Faculty Coordinator, Global & Diversity Learning, Queensborough Community College CUNY