Individual Growth and Development
The Faculty as Change Agents program sought to support faculty Change Agents' growth as instructors and leaders so that they could have a greater impact on their students and in their programs, departments, institutions, and regional networks.
Rick Glover, Bellevue College
My involvement in the SAGE 2YC project has pushed me to focus on personal growth and departmental improvement using concrete goals and data to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation. One of the best concrete outcomes has been to learn how data about student success are disseminated at my institution. The project provided tools to review these data and through this process I have learned techniques to evaluate student success in my classroom and help other instructors also take an introspective view of teaching practices. This helps me take steps to improve student success and evaluate data to see how instructional changes impact students. As a scientist, this data-driven approach to teaching is a tangible way for me to help close opportunity and success gaps in my classroom.
I also appreciate the program level evaluation that this project has highlighted. Through this process I have developed a better understanding of how my program and administration interact, including a better sense for how we can get and use data to improve Earth and Space Sciences at Bellevue college.
Another byproduct of my work in this project has been a shift in self-perceptions from Ally to Change Agent within the context of my role in the classroom, in my program, and as a community member.
Dana Vukajlovich, Bellevue College
This project provided me with both tools and support to make change within my courses. I started this project after only two years of teaching in a 2-year college setting. As a new instructor, I benefited from the exposure to active learning and inclusive teaching strategies. I can now comfortably create and implement new teaching activities in my classes that increase student engagement and encourage reflection. For example, I have created a new jigsaw activity to teach marine organism taxonomy in an introductory oceanography class. This converted several hours of lecture time into time where students are self-directed, hands-on and involved in teaching each other. Another example was trying a group exam format for each of the major exams in a geological catastrophes class. The group exam worked to help students self-correct misconceptions or muddy concepts, while also creating a supportive and collaborative community in the classroom. Overall, I estimate that I use, on average, one active learning strategy per day in my classes and am more comfortable when trying out new ideas. I also intentionally share with my students the reasons why I take an active approach to improve their metacognitive skills and awareness of how they learn.
The second area of change for me is at the departmental level. Our department has noticed a decline in student enrollment and success in some of our classes (introductory physical geology, for example). Before this project, this issue was a topic of conversation in the department but we lacked agreement on specific strategies to address it. During the course of the SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents project, we looked closely at the data on student success to understand the scope of the issue. I was able to have conversations with colleagues and administrators about the most pressing issues. To me, the most important outcome from this process has been a shift in the roles in the department. Coming into meetings with data and ideas for programmatic change has helped me to shift into a leadership position in the department. Furthermore, being on the Change Agent project with Rick helped us develop a close working partnership with shared goals for program improvements. Overall, I feel more strongly connected to my departmental colleagues and feel ready to take on the responsibilities of departmental leadership.