This year, DESTINATION, an annual professional development program, was split in to two tracks: The Great Teachers Colloquium and Great Teachers in Action. DESTINATION offers a unique opportunity to connect with colleagues and to renew the passion for teaching during a 5-week program. The focus has been to bring together faculty to energize and replenish the “Teacher Within.” The Office of Faculty and Instructional Development would like to thank all faculty members who participated, and are happy to share a few of the highlights with you.
Great Teachers Colloquium
The Great Teachers Colloquium was attended by 78 faculty members from various campuses. The program focused on self-reflection and participants were asked to write weekly essays on topics including personal teaching successes, personal teaching challenges, innovative teaching strategies and teaching philosophies. Sharing the essays facilitated engaging discussions with colleagues and a sense of camaraderie. As described by one survey participant, “Destination 2013 exceeded my expectations in terms of the interest, intellect and abilities of my colleagues. Each and every member of my group, including the facilitator, offered positive, insightful and thought-providing ideas and opinions.”
When Laurinda Lott, an education and student success faculty member, was asked how she would describe Destination 2013 she enthusiastically replied, “Take it! Every summer! Best Professional Development course offered! My Destinations colleagues are now part of my support system.”
Great Teachers in Action
The Great Teachers in Action track is a faculty development program that brings educators together to improve teaching and student learning. Valencia faculty members designed action research plans to conduct small-scale, practical research during the fall 2013 term. Their various plans will investigate questions regarding student learning that directly impact their practices. As Linda Freeman, adjunct psychology faculty member from East Campus stated, “Although having goals is important, a plan of inquiry and action is vital to the success of those goals. Action Research enabled me to create an exploratory roadmap towards realizing the effectiveness of my teaching practices and ultimate goal of student success.”
The Great Teachers in Action track brought together over 55 educators, representing each of Valencia’s campuses during five weekly sessions. Participants, like Librarian Ben Mittag, from Winter Park Campus, stated, “My experience in the Destination 2013 program was very positive and rewarding, as well as enjoyable. I found the group interaction and feedback components of our classes to be very beneficial. I also enjoyed meeting new colleagues and sharing our experiences as educators. In addition, our group facilitator, Michele Lima, did an excellent job in providing keen insight into the various components of Action Research.”
DESTINATION not only provides participants with the opportunity to examine realistic, creative approaches for teaching, but also gives educators a chance to renew both professionally and personally. Librarian Courtney Moore, from East Campus, said, “Destination 2013 provided a collaborative venue for me to interact with colleagues, share ideas and learn. Thanks to the seminars and lively group sessions, I am better able to look insightfully on my teaching practices and, therefore, have a greater impact on student learning. I thoroughly enjoyed my many rewarding experiences and look forward to attending again.”