Learning Leadership Council Reviews Student Feedback on Instruction and Supplemental Learning Initiative

learning-leadership-council-groveValencia’s Learning Leadership Council (LLC) met on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, at the East Campus. During the meeting, Suzette Dohany, faculty association past president and professor, speech, presented a Student Feedback on Instruction (SFI) Work Proposal, and Learning Support Campus Deans Landon Shephard, Leonard Bass and Karen Reilly shared an update on the Academic Initiative Review (AIR) for the Supplemental Learning (SL) initiative.

SFI Work Proposal
SFI is an integral component of Valencia’s efforts to evaluate faculty through student surveys. Included in the annual evaluation of faculty, SFI is designed to help inform teaching practices and underline potential improvements by acknowledging the perspectives of Valencia students. However, as Suzette shared, there are many concerns from both students and faculty regarding this practice in its current state.

Based on a survey completed by a previous SFI Task Force in 2012, students are very interested in how, when and if their feedback really makes a difference. Likewise, by completing the Ladder of Abstraction, a design thinking activity, in 2016, faculty and deans identified shared concerns in several areas: the usefulness of the information, the fact that SFI is administered at the end of the semester and does not give faculty members an opportunity to make any adjustments to their curriculum while the students are in their classes, and the challenges of implicit bias and a standardized assessment. Faculty also expressed concerns about how deans use information from SFI during faculty evaluations.

To alleviate these concerns and better leverage SFI, Suzette shared the SFI Work Proposal, which outlines recommendations for updating SFI and the corresponding faculty annual evaluations. For the full proposal, click here.

Recommendations discussed during the meeting include:

  • Developing a plan for how to address implicit bias in SFI;
  • Adding editable and customizable formative assessments administered during the course for use by faculty;
  • Updating the practice of addressing the assessments and their results during the annual faculty evaluation, including by establishing evaluator training;
  • Utilizing a summative assessment at the end of the course that is a comprehensive assessment of the students’ entire experience at the College for that semester;
  • Creating a process to make portions of the summative assessment public to the Valencia community.

The Council endorsed further refining the work proposal before the revised proposal is presented in the spring with a clearer timeline and budget for implementing these changes.

AIR on SL Initiative
In February 2016, the LLC initiated an AIR, best defined as an evaluative review process rooted in researching literature and data, on the SL initiative, which is an academic program that offers peer-to-peer learning through an embedded student mentor and tutor called a SL leader.

In the recent LLC meeting, Landon, Leonard and Karen reviewed the key findings of the AIR thus far. Their presentation, available by clicking here, highlighted concern that the College’s current model for the SL program does not consistently yield higher student course completion rates; data that showcases front-door courses, such as developmental math, appear to benefit from SL leaders; voluntary attendance of SL leader-led sessions is correlated with higher course completion rates; and overall retention and graduation rates are higher among students who enroll in SL-enhanced courses.

Calling upon these findings, the team recommended two sets of action items.

First, the team recommended:

  • Focusing the SL Program to strategically support students in front-door courses that have demonstrated success with the SL program (e.g. ENC 1101, MAT 1033C);
  • Developing a uniform collegewide plan for implementation, data collection and assessment that will be coordinated through an SL data team that meets annually;
  • Requiring faculty assign an SL leader to complete an SL training program prior to the start of the term to ensure the instructor is following the guidelines and best practices of the program;
  • Developing a consistent tool kit for training SL leaders to be used collegewide;
  • Requiring students enrolled in an SL-enhanced course to attend one SL session within the first four weeks of the term and encouraging faculty to identify at-risk students and advise them to participate in at least four SL sessions;
  • Requiring faculty to meet with their assigned SL leader to discuss the curriculum to ensure that the SL leader is effectively supporting student learning and that the study sessions are aligning with the course curriculum;
  • Developing a communication strategy to advertise the benefits of the SL program to students;
  • Redesigning SL funding to a new model, which will ensure students across the College have access to the program and will provide funding for SL at new campuses.

The second recommendation presented was as follows: “We recommend that tutoring go through the AIR process next with a particular interest in exploring the developmental progression of students through our learning support programs.”

The Council endorsed both recommendations with the caveat that all of the sub-components of the first recommendation be completed in the fall and spring of next year, so feedback can be reported back to the LLC by next Summer.

For the complete AIR, click here.

The Learning Leadership Council will meet again on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at the Lake Nona Campus in Room 148 from 2 – 5 p.m.

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