Support Implementation of Change
Once project work plans are developed and team members are identified, the implementation stage needs to be supported and managed ensuring that participants are as successful as possible in completing their activities, that communication is flowing, and that information and data are available to support strategic decision making. Regular celebration of successes will help ensure that they are widely appreciated while maintaining the energy and enthusiasm of participants.
Create a Community of PracticeBefore implementing the project, team members need to be familiar with all components of the project (goals, methods, assessment, reporting) to have a global view of the project and their role. Program teams have been successful in developing a community of practice by launching with a group kick-off meeting, which may include organizational information as well as professional development.
Cultivating the Community of Practice includes opportunities to introduce new content and pedagogies to faculty who may be teaching outside their discipline area or using pedagogical strategies new to them. Initial training provides tools needed to implement new curriculum, and regular opportunities for interaction among the COP by providing additional training, opportunities to check in together on progress and areas of the project that need improvement.
The Chico team developed a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) in which faculty met regularly, at first to explore the possibilities in the ITG curriculum, and then to collaborate in it's adoption in courses in the Sustainability GE Pathway. Faculty visited one another's courses and debriefed on the successes and areas in need of improvement of activities for specific courses.
The GAC model developed partnerships between geoscience and non-science faculty to collaborate on development of climate change-related curriculum for use in non-science courses. This provided a professional development opportunity for faculty to work together and learn the earth science content and feel comfortable using it in their courses, in the context of their discipline. Faculty also used teaching circles composed of diverse faculty members to identify barriers to climate teaching and to brainstorm approaches that would remove those barriers.
In addition to yearly workshops, the USD team hosted monthly brown bag meetings to provide additional opportunities for faculty to share ideas on the incorporation of InTeGrate activities. These conversations resulted in increased content knowledge among those teaching out of discipline, which translated with greater interest and willingness to continue to incorporate sustainability and earth science projects in their courses.
Workshops brought together faculty and TA's from both El Paso Community College and UTEP together from various departments (Geology, Environmental Science, Engineering) and introduced them to various InTeGrate modules and to the importance of active learning in supporting learning objectives
Communication is Important
Faculty will implement new curriculum in the classroom but may not have the global view of the project beyond what is presented at workshops and meetings. A team leader is a valuable instrument for keeping the team on track for success in the timing of implementation, tracking the collection of data from team members, and keeping the team informed for continued development of the COP. Program teams found intellectual and creative freedom in developing the projects and implementing curriculum at the faculty level, without "oversight" by administrators, but keeping key university-level administrators informed of the progress of projects facilitates potential expansion beyond the scope of project level goals and outcomes. Communicating results across one's campus can have important results to the students and faculty involved.
At Chico, university-level administrators were kept informed from the proposal development through implementation process and were invited to attend classes in which InTeGrate materials are used. They have been kept informed of the progress of the project that infuses sustainability curriculum across the Sustainability General Education Pathway and have expressed interest in using the project as an exemplar of a faculty learning community as well as integrated curricula across the suite of courses.
PI Kantor was well-positioned to develop the interdisciplinary team at Claflin because she is a hybrid geographer teaching in Social Sciences and conducting research with students in the Natural Sciences. She is connected to both worlds which enabled her to bring together a highly interdisciplinary team and could serve as a communication bridge.
At Savannah State, wide sharing of the work and results has lead the IP leadership team to become the go-to group for many types of coastal issues such as riparian buffers, storm water management, and coastal community gardens. Recognition of this expertise comes from the Provost's office to the Dean, Faculty, and Librarian.