Individual Growth and Development
At a basic level, the Faculty as Change Agents program sought to aid the professional development of the Change Agents (CAs) themselves so that they could have a greater impact both on their students and in their programs, departments, institutions, and regional networks.
Peter Berquist, Thomas Nelson Community College
There are three areas in which I am most proud of my development throughout the SAGE 2YC program. These are 1) offering "grassroots" professional development opportunities to faculty, especially adjunct instructors, 2) incorporating strategies in my classes that focus on developing "the whole student", and 3) initiating course projects to provide students the opportunity to develop research skills and explore the connections between science and daily life.
Over the past four years, I feel immensely privileged to have worked with Karen and Lynsey in dreaming up and offering relevant, creative, and impactful workshops for our fellow faculty members. Each semester, we developed sessions that addressed needs we saw within our communities and focused on enhancing our teaching and/or our students' experiences in our courses and at our institutions. Feedback from faculty and student participants was always positive and constructive in helping design future programs. The introduction of metacognitive strategies in all my courses is one of the most salient outcomes of this project. Each semester, it is affirming to see how appreciative students are to learn these tips and how it often impacts their academic performance, both in and outside of the Geology Department.
Karen Layou, Reynolds Community College
The SAGE 2YC: Faculty as Change Agents project began as I was settling into a new-to-me full-time position at my current institution. My participation in this work has been a catalyst to establishing connections that might have otherwise taken much longer to develop. I have been encouraged to connect more deeply with students via creative and intentional teaching techniques, to explore opportunities to share my experiences with my Reynolds colleagues, and to engage more fully with geoscience professionals across the nation. I am particularly satisfied with many of the changes I have made to my classes. Adding metacognitive strategies (e.g., exam wrappers, study skills) helps students see that they have a role in their own academic success. Integrating more active learning strategies (e.g., think/pair/shares, jigsaws) breaks up the monotony of the traditional lecture/lab format, making the lengthy scheduled class sessions more enjoyable for students and me. Specifically highlighting geoscience disciplines and showing images of diverse geoscientists in various settings sparks discussions with students curious to know more. On a more personal level, the Change Agents project has pushed me out of my comfort zone and fostered growth in my networking and leadership skills. I have been thrilled with the career mentoring workshops our team has organized, and I have made valuable contacts with geoscience professionals in both the public and private sector. I have also appreciated the camaraderie of belonging to a community of change among two-year college geoscience faculty—we are doing great things for our classrooms, our institutions, and our discipline.
Lynsey LeMay, Thomas Nelson Community College
Participating in the SAGE 2YC project has really changed me over the course of the last four years. I've grown as an educator. Through the training and networking during SAGE 2YC workshops and webinars, I've become more knowledgeable in effective teaching strategies. I've been able to institute a number of changes in my classes, many of which are small, yet mighty. One of those is an increase in active learning, such that every class includes a variety of active learning strategies. Students share with me that they enjoy the change in class structure, as it breaks the monotony of lecture, but it also helps to reinforce concepts and provides them lots of opportunities to engage with the material and with their peers. Whether it is a simple think-pair-share, or larger scale activities like gallery walks or working with real data, students consistently tell me that they appreciate the class structure, and some even share they wish other classes followed suit! Additionally, I've worked to infuse a number of metacognitive strategies in the courses, and intentionally share with students what I am doing and why. Students have responded very positively to this, some even remarking that they now use these strategies in other classes! I've also grown as a leader. Lessons learned about leadership and organizational change through SAGE 2YC have helped me develop more confidence when presenting teaching related information to my colleagues, and has inspired me to continue to work on institutional change in the areas of general education and faculty professional development. Most importantly, I am initiating efforts to develop a campus Center for Teaching and Learning.