New Essential Competencies Implemented

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From the Desks of Celine Kavalec, Faculty Director, Teaching/Learning Academy (TLA), and Suzette Dohany, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

For 16 years, Valencia has used faculty competencies to define what it means to be a Valencia educator.faculty-insight-news-id

Recently, in an effort to stay aligned with national conversations and literature about academic excellence, Valencia’s academic community completed a year-long review of the Seven Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator.

The year-long exploration, involving faculty, deans, campus presidents and academic vice presidents, resulted in several changes. The indicators for inclusion and diversity and outcome-based practice were changed significantly, as were their corresponding competency descriptions. LifeMap, Valencia’s innovative developmental advising model, was left intact. The remaining four competencies (assessment, learning-centered teaching practices, professional commitment and scholarship of teaching and learning) experienced only minor changes to the competency descriptions and indicators.

Throughout the process, participants paid special attention to creating language that considered the practices of teachers, counselors and librarians, and allowed the research to guide the work. Click here for a complete description of the revised Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator.

How do these changes impact faculty and deans?

  • All tenured faculty, annually-appointed faculty and adjunct faculty will use the new competencies in their next annual evaluation cycle.
  • The impact on tenure-track faculty in the TLA will vary. Candidates in the classes of 2018 and 2019, who are deep into their portfolio work, will be assessed using the old competencies and indicators — similar to the practice of allowing students to meet the requirements of the catalog year active when accepted into a program of study. Once tenured, these faculty will begin using the revised competencies.
  • The class of 2020 and all subsequent classes will use the new competencies and indicators in their pre-tenure work.

The Essential Competencies help define our profession and serve as the foundation of our tenure process, guiding the development of all faculty at all stages of their careers. This recent review has refined our standards and emerged from the changing needs of our community of scholars, practitioners, students and others we serve.

Summary of the Year-long Review
In November 2014, the Learning Leadership Council commissioned a review of the Essential Competencies of a Valencia Educator, under the sponsorship of Vice President of Academic Affairs and Planning Susan Ledlow. A steering committee, co-chaired by Carl Creasman, professor, history, and Celine Kavalec, faculty director, teaching/learning academy, led the work with faculty representation from all campuses and the Instructional Affairs Committee (IAC). Work teams, consisting of four faculty members and a dean, were formed for each competency, and the review was launched in January 2015 with a survey of the academic community to seek feedback on the existing competencies.

Over the spring term of 2015, these work teams reviewed the survey results, applicable literature and current practices at Valencia to guide their revisions of the competencies. Work teams presented a draft of the revised competencies to the steering committee in late May 2015.

In June 2015, faculty and deans from across the College attended an interactive feedback session to supply commentary on the first draft of the proposed Essential Competencies. The steering committee incorporated those suggestions into the second draft.

In fall 2015, the review process entered its final stage. In late September 2015, the co-chairs hosted a series of conversations on Osceola, East and West Campuses to collect feedback on the second draft of the competencies. The steering committee once again adjusted the draft competencies, creating the third draft. The third draft was endorsed by 97 percent of the academic community in a collegewide vote, and on November 4, 2015, the Learning Leadership Council approved this version of the competencies.

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