Keywords

faculty retreat, faculty development, active learning, collaborative learning

Abstract

A workshop-style, active-learning model was recently implemented in a Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) department retreat prior to the start of the Fall 2018 term. The department is currently undergoing a curriculum redesign, and a special committee was created to design the talking points for the retreat. Among the concerns were: meaning of grades, expectation of grade distribution, adoption of teaching pedagogies that align with the department goals, and definition of teaching excellence. Opinions were divided, and many felt strongly about each topic. New and non-tenure-track faculty were initially assigned as scribe or presenter, so as to encourage participation. A moderator in each group helped keep the conversation on track, and intervened whenever necessary.

A preliminary post-retreat evaluation of faculty satisfaction shows encouraging results. A follow-up dissemination of the retreat outcome took place during a regular faculty meeting several weeks after the retreat, and the discussion topics were revisited in an attempt to reach a consensus, particularly regarding issues that were divisive. Future work include a second follow-up meeting and creation of a task force to act upon the retreat outcomes.

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A Faculty Retreat Model Featuring Collaborative and Active Learning

A workshop-style, active-learning model was recently implemented in a Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (MIE) department retreat prior to the start of the Fall 2018 term. The department is currently undergoing a curriculum redesign, and a special committee was created to design the talking points for the retreat. Among the concerns were: meaning of grades, expectation of grade distribution, adoption of teaching pedagogies that align with the department goals, and definition of teaching excellence. Opinions were divided, and many felt strongly about each topic. New and non-tenure-track faculty were initially assigned as scribe or presenter, so as to encourage participation. A moderator in each group helped keep the conversation on track, and intervened whenever necessary.

A preliminary post-retreat evaluation of faculty satisfaction shows encouraging results. A follow-up dissemination of the retreat outcome took place during a regular faculty meeting several weeks after the retreat, and the discussion topics were revisited in an attempt to reach a consensus, particularly regarding issues that were divisive. Future work include a second follow-up meeting and creation of a task force to act upon the retreat outcomes.