Learning Leadership Council Meeting Summary — January 20, 2016

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Valencia’s Learning Leadership Council (LLC) met on Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at the Lake Nona Campus, where the Council considered three action items, one discussion item and one work team update.

ACTION ITEMS:

Online Student Services and Support

This work team was commissioned by the LLC in February 2015 to review online student support services and practices at Valencia and to identify strategies for growth and enhancement of support.

The comprehensive review revealed that although compliant, the enhancement of communication, navigation, convenience and access to online student and learning support services would benefit the fully online learner (FOL) at Valencia. (Note: A FOL is defined as a student who is taking courses only online at Valencia in any given term. An assumption is made that the FOL may not want to come to campus given his or her distance, working hours and/or other limiting factors.)

In light of this information, the team is recommending that the College establish an Online Learning page in Atlas that will provide resources and services that are needed by FOLs. The resources and services would include (but are not limited to) Financial Aid, Academic Advising, Career Center, Technology Support, Bookstore, Library, etc.

In order to establish the Online Learning landing page, multiple implementation teams will be required. After a one-year pilot of offering the new services to FOLs, implementation teams will be asked to revisit their Web designs to determine how well they are servicing FOLs and to consider if the online model is feasible to extend as an option for all students (face-to-face, hybrid and online).

The Council agreed to all of the recommendations and endorsed the work team to move forward with implementation.

Undergraduate Research

The Undergraduate Research team was charged by the LLC in April 2015 to research and recommend models for undergraduate research that are most feasible for community colleges. The team presented the following recommendations to the Council for consideration moving forward:

  • Consider a broad undergraduate research initiative as one of the College’s strategic tasks and priorities.
  • Incorporate a broad and inclusive definition of undergraduate research.
  • Provide official ways for students to indicate that they participated, singly or in a class that featured a research component.
  • Explore means of supporting and encouraging faculty to support undergraduate research efforts in an equitable way.
  • Provide undergraduate research opportunities for interested non-honors students.

The Council suggested that in order to make undergraduate research a formally recognized collegewide program, the work team will need to come to consensus on a clear definition of research, parameters for what constitutes a research experience (as opposed to simply writing a more comprehensive term paper) and how research might be noted on the student’s academic transcript. The LLC asked the work team to come back with a more specific set of guidelines and recommendations.

Principles for Prioritizing Academic Initiative Reviews

At the last LLC meeting, the Council endorsed the Academic Initiative Review (AIR) Process and decided that Supplemental Learning would be the next initiative to be reviewed. The AIR process is very comprehensive, so currently we are only able to conduct one per academic year. The group brainstormed a list of criteria that might be used for prioritizing the initiatives. Criteria included items such as giving priority to collegewide initiatives or initiatives being considered for scaling up to collegewide and ensuring that the initiative has been in existence long enough to have a robust set of data to consider. The list will be edited and brought back to the Council at the next meeting.


DISCUSSION ITEMS:

TVCA

At the request of Faculty Council, LLC Co-Chair Carl Creasman, professor, history, asked the LLC to discuss the use of the student core competencies of Think, Value, Communicate and Act (TVCA) at the College and how that use has changed over time, particularly relative to how we now use the CIM system for course outlines.

The Council was in agreement that the core competencies of Think, Value, Communicate and Act are a part of our history and culture but expressed a general concern that the competencies are not assessed in any systematic way by the College. The Council also agreed that there is a clear connection between TVCA and the Gen Ed Outcomes (i.e. Think aligns with Critical Thinking) and that mapping the TVCA competencies to the Gen Ed Outcomes so that they serve more as an extension of those outcomes would alleviate some of those challenges. The suggestion was made to change the words “learning outcomes” to “aspirations” in the catalog so it would read: “The faculty have established core competencies that describe their aspirations for Valencia graduates.” Suzette Dohany, president, Collegewide Faculty Association, will brief the Faculty Council on the discussion that the LLC had about TVCA, and Faculty Council will decide on next steps.


UPDATES AND REPORTS:

Online Work Teams (Faculty Preparedness, Dean Preparedness and Course Design)

At the last meeting of the LLC, the recommendations of three more online teams (Faculty Preparedness, Dean Preparedness and Course Design) were approved contingent upon the endorsement of Faculty Council and Instructional Affairs Committee (IAC). Subsequent to that meeting, Faculty Council voted to approve the recommendations, and they were also enthusiastically endorsed by IAC.

The Council noted that there have been thoughtful, careful, rigorous, lengthy conversations about the work of the online teams, that the work has been disseminated through The Grove and that faculty and deans have comprised the majority of the membership on those teams. A few members of the LLC still expressed reservations about sufficient communication about the changes that will occur as a result of the recommendations.

Faculty Council leaders on the LLC agreed they will speak with their senates to ensure that they are informed about the next steps for this work and also about the transparency that the work teams’ leaders have had throughout the process.

The feedback that has been provided thus far will be used to inform the implementation process, and forums will be held along the way to get more feedback about the details of implementation from the campuses. A budget request for this work will be submitted to Senior Team by the sponsor, Susan Ledlow, vice president, academic affairs and planning.

For additional details, view the meeting notes.

The Learning Leadership Council will meet again on Wednesday, March 23, 2016, at the Winter Park Campus in Room 225-226 from 2 – 5 p.m.

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