This volume offers the promise of directly engaging faculty through an approach that integrates theory and practice, process and results, professional development and authentic practice, individual classrooms and systems.
This is an invaluable aid in developing empowered learning communities as faculty teams continue their work focused on assessment."

Hank Lindborg, Educational Consultant, AQIP

Sample Modules

A few sample modules may be downloaded in PDF format.

Overview of Quality Learning Environments

For more than ten years, a team of innovative educators has investigated and experimented with ways in which the learning environment motivates, sustains, and enriches the learning process. Creating and growing an educational setting helps faculty engage meaningfully with students. It is important, however, to distinguish the effort of establishing a learning environment from that required for facilitation, assessment, and curriculum design. The process of setting up a quality learning situation can be simplified by employing a clear methodology and using a set of well-defined principles and key skills. Such an environment is intricate and must be sustained through the use of assessment procedures and methodologies designed to enhance learning. This module shows how social processes, physical space, and learning tools must be combined using the “glue” of assessment to create a quality learning environment.

Profile of a Quality Faculty Member

At institutions across the country, new faculty members are faced with a novel and varied set of professional challenges as they begin their academic careers. They are quickly confronted with responsibilities in areas in which they have little or no expertise. Furthermore, criteria for success are broader and expectations are rising. In this changing world, old models of a successful faculty member are of limited usefulness. The new models incorporate well-defined performance criteria in areas besides traditional teaching, research, and service. The central challenge for faculty is to deeply understand what their institutions expect of them in these new performance areas, and to promote development in the areas that are most critical through the use of an annual professional development process. This module highlights eight key areas of faculty performance and links these areas with material in the Faculty Guidebook that informs each area.

Profile of a Quality Facilitator

Quality facilitators improve their performance through behaviors that can be classified and quantified. By encoding these behaviors into a profile, by integrating them into a  facilitation rubric, and by regularly assessing facilitation using these tools, participants and facilitators can develop a shared vision of facilitator performance criteria for many different contexts. In formulating these criteria, special attention was given to classroom teaching, committee meetings, and faculty development workshops.

Boyer's Model of Scholarship

The appropriate role of the professoriate has been a topic of ongoing debate in higher education. As different types of educational institutions have emerged, the focus of scholarly pursuits and their relative value to the organization have evolved. This module examines how Boyer’s model of scholarship can be used to clarify and balance roles of college faculty.

Role of Administrators

This module offers a model (Figure 1) to depict the qualities, behaviors, processes and roles of a quality administrator. It is a modification of the model on the inside cover of this book that provides a pictorial image of a quality faculty member. Like that model, administrators function within a culture that holds a given set of values, and like faculty, administrators in academic settings strive for empowerment of students, employees, and the institution. A set of five roles describes the sub-sets of roles (leader, mentor, manager, decider and builder) assumed by administrators in order to effectively perform their responsibilities. The five roles are interdependent and synergistic as they impact one another and gain in value as proficiency develops in one of the other roles. This module identifies the ramifications of absence of skills in one of the roles as part of the repertoire of administrators.

Theory of Performance

The Theory of Performance (ToP) develops and relates six foundational concepts (italicized) to form a framework that can be used to explain performance as well as performance improvements. To perform is to produce valued results. A performer can be an individual or a group of people engaging in a collaborative effort. Developing performance is a journey, and level of performance describes location in the journey. Current level of performance depends holistically on 6 components: context, level of knowledge, levels of skills, level of identity, personal factors, and fixed factors. Three axioms are proposed for effective performance improvements. These involve a performer’s mindset, immersion in an enriching environment, and engagement in reflective practice.

Letting Students Fail So They Can Succeed

Creating a quality learning environment must include the opportunity for students to experience temporary failure on the road to success. Failure in academe is typically associated with students who perform poorly and do not understand the material presented in college classrooms. This module attempts to demystify the concept of failure in the learning environment and illustrates how failure, when managed appropriately by faculty, can be a catalyst for the growth, development, and improved performance of the adult learner. This module begins with a definition of tough love, it examines some issues that faculty face in practicing it, and suggests several techniques to assist faculty as they encourage students to take risks and learn from failure.

Overview of Measurement

Before measuring any aspect of a performance, it is important to remember that the results will be only as clear and robust as the reason for taking the measurement. This module presents principles for obtaining valid, reliable, and efficient measurements and illustrates how these are central to proper assessment, evaluation, and research. This module also examines performance measurement as an alternative to selected-response exams as a means for monitoring a diverse set of learning outcomes.

Efforts to Transform Higher Education

Transforming higher education is not an easy task given the complexities and variations of institutions, the high value placed on independent thought and action, the evolution of extensive bureaucracies, and the myriad processes and practices tied to tradition. This module highlights four movements that show evidence of progress in addressing current needs (Changing Expectations for Higher Education). First, the role of teaching in higher education is evolving as institutions apply a new model calling for the scholarship of teaching. Second, focus on learning as the primary outcome of education is replacing emphasis on the delivery of education. Third, assessment has become a priority in classrooms and institutions as emphasis has moved to measuring student success and institutional effectiveness. Finally, developmental education is maturing in higher education and gaining higher status as institutions address the need both to raise the performance levels of students and to include those who previously did not pursue higher education.


Overview of Assessment

Simply put, assessment is a process used for improving quality. Assessment is critical for growing lifelong learning skills and elevating performance in diverse contexts. However, the value of assessment is not always apparent nor is the process always understood. Because there has not always been agreement on a specific definition, there has been some confusion on how to approach assessment to ensure that the feedback is valuable. This overview outlines a purpose and use of assessment that is consistent throughout the entire Faculty Guidebook. Elements of quality assessment feedback are identified and discussed. Methods for implementing assessment in a variety of teaching/learning contexts are detailed in companion modules.


Profile of a Quality Learner

Quality learners exhibit definable behaviors that optimize learning and predict successful performance. These behaviors can be classified and assessed. By recognizing these behaviors, learners and instructors can work toward the ideal behaviors, and instructors can design instruction to foster growth in learning behaviors.


Bloom's Taxonomy―Expanding its Meaning

This module expands the usefulness of Bloom’s taxonomy beyond its original intent of clarifying educational objectives to help faculty prepare better-designed courses, achieve more student-centered implementation, and establish outcomes-oriented evaluation criteria. Bloom’s taxonomy is explored from a historical perspective and examined for its applications in Process Education. Pacific Crest’s adaptation of Bloom’s taxonomy includes five different “levels of learner knowledge.” Each of these is defined and illustrated with key words and questions for use in designing curriculum and instructional materials.


Facilitation Methodology

The Facilitation Methodology is a tool to help a faculty member prepare for, facilitate, and assess a learning activity/process/learning experience. This methodology is helpful in situations in which one needs to shift from being a “sage on a stage” to being a “guide on the side.” Examples of such situations include teaching students in a classroom, administering a grant project, chairing a department, and running a faculty development event. Faculty members have found increased confidence as facilitators with improved learning outcomes by following the Facilitation Methodology. The vital role of assessment appears as a thread throughout the methodology and the importance of defining learning outcomes, setting up the activity, and providing closure is emphasized. Additional modules discuss facilitation issues and tools.

Annotated Bibliography―Instructional Design

Instructional design involves the determination of the content, methodologies, activities, sequencing, and assessment of learning. The instructional design process follows a recursive structure of analysis of learning outcomes, design and development of learning events, implementation, and assessment. The design process is driven by learning outcomes which are derived from desired long-term behaviors. These behaviors are assessed with measures that can be compared to performance criteria. This structure operates at the levels of program design, course design, and activity design. This annotated bibliography provides a starting point for finding resources on instructional design, with an emphasis on program and course design.

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