Supporting Community College Faculty
John Min, Northern Virginia Community College
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From my perspective, the two things that discipline-based NSF-funded projects do particularly well in supporting educators are first enabling project managers to publicize and leverage the "NSF" brand to marshal additional resources – in terms of facility, marketing and funding - from their institutions (and administrators) to support their project. Second, NSF-funded projects are ideal for bringing like-minded folks together from diverse backgrounds to share thoughts on "how to best teach" economics in their classrooms to bring about a meaningful impact in their student lives. For example, with a NSF funding support, Northern Virginia Community College and Montgomery College were able to collaborate, publicize and host a first ever NSF funded "best teaching practice" workshop for "principle" instructors in Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland earlier this year. The workshop was well attended (despite a bad winter snow condition), and a post workshop survey clearly indicated that most participants were swayed to attend because "it was a NSF event."
If I could propose (and obtain funding for) one new activity to engage community college instructors in professional associations and other discipline-based projects related to teaching and learning, I would ask for funding to build and maintain a teaching "portal" for hosting teaching "apps" that can be readily accessed via computer, PDA and smart phone. The portal would enable instructors to search and utilize appropriate teaching apps in in their classroom to further illuminate key economic concepts and demonstrate their relevance with current news, indicators and real world examples.