If my innovation plan to provide alternatives to the current model of developmental education at Sauk Valley Community College is to be successful, there will need to be effective professional development. As I looked at effecting organizational change, I narrowed my focus to reducing barriers and providing alternatives to traditional developmental education in the admissions and advising process. Since I am not a classroom teacher and my position at the college does not directly deal with instruction, I think this will be a more effective direction to take my innovation plan.
In developing a plan for professional development, then, I will again focus on the initial phase of this project, gathering additional relevant student data to identify trends we can use to determine what students may need additional intervention and what students are likely to be successful in regular courses with additional resources, lessening the burden of developmental education courses. This outline is the beginning of a professional development plan with the admissions and academic advising areas.
- Incorporate Gulamhussein’s 5 principles of effective professional development.
- Significant, ongoing duration – Training sessions would take place over the course of an academic year, beginning before the data collection project officially starts and continuing at least until after one full semester’s registration and advising cycle has been completed.
- Support during implementation – In addition to the training, prompts and reminders would help advisors and admissions representatives to know what they need to collect. Good user interface and database design will ease the workload and streamline the process. As aggregate data becomes available, it would be shared with employees so they can see the result of their efforts.
- Active initial exposure – Training sessions would not be just an instructor going through PowerPoint slides, but would contain hands-on exercises designed to simulate real-life experiences. Special attention would be paid to outlier situations to help employees think critically about what they should do in a given situation.
- Modeling – A mentoring program would be developed at SVCC, starting in the Student Services area to allow more experienced employees to help newer employees to understand procedures and practices.
- Content specific to area – The mentoring program will also allow colleagues to apply content specifically to their area. In addition, hands-on training sessions could be partially split up by area (academic advising, enrollment management, etc.) and partially mixed (to allow employees to see how their job contributes to the whole).
- Collaboration – Collaboration is vitally important, and it will be central to the mentoring program and in the hands-on training exercises. In addition, we should explore other means of communication such as forums, email listservs, group chats, and the like, to allow for more open sharing.
- Training leaders – Leadership would be shared among Student Services personnel (dealing with students, understanding the “why”), Institutional Research (why the data is important, how it contributes to student success), and Information Services (how to enter and share the data, information security).
- Audience – Primary audience will be academic advisors and enrollment management representatives, but should also include all student services personnel in some form.
- Instructional Design – I will develop the plan using backwards design and a 3 Column Table with a “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal” (BHAG).
- Timeline – To adequately prepare for upcoming registration periods, trainings would need to begin in the Fall 2018 for Spring 2019 registration. In addition to giving time for preparatory training, implementation for the spring semester makes for an easier implementation as spring registration is generally smaller than the summer/fall registration period.
- Resources – Will need Information Services to develop streamlined data entry screens, Institutional Research to develop data requirements, and Student Services leadership to make time for training sessions and provide guidance to employees.