Implementing Change Series: 5 Tips for Stimulating Faculty Engagement in Curriculum Change through the PTR Process

by Judy Dietrich, Jon Mandrell, & Maureen Pylman / Dec 19, 2016
  1. Invite communication and share information. Inclusive and accessible communication is key at every step of the process. Invite faculty to meetings and seek their perspectives on identified challenges while providing opportunities for them to develop solutions. Take advantage of small-sized departments by giving them leadership opportunities in a group that has institutional and financial support. Share information widely by posting all materials generated from meetings to a shared, accessible platform and make PTR a standing agenda item at monthly faculty meetings. Extend open invitations to faculty members to join consulting calls or project planning sessions.
  2. Project an attitude that you are there to help! Throughout the PTR project, researchers and administration can offer data and facilitate supports to meet department needs. Shamelessly mention that this help also comes with funding that can enable pursuit of interventions that may not have seemed feasible earlier. For example, bringing in a national consultant to revamp a curriculum became a reality at Illinois Central, providing structure and guidance toward a valuable action plan that allowed everyone to take ownership in working toward the common goal.
  3. Establish a standing PTR Committee within the institutional committee structure. This can formalize the process, further leveraging the interest of those required to participate in contractual requirements relating to committee service. This committee can shift faculty membership based on the program in focus, but suggested standing members should include the Chief Academic Officer, the Director of Institutional Research, the Career and Technical Education Dean, an industry member, an advising representative, and a general education representative. Aside from a larger committee, a smaller working group of faculty can be helpful in moving the project forward given their direct access to all faculty in the department.
  4. Align the project’s focus with program review or accreditation. Selecting a department that is up for program review or in advance of accreditation is helpful for reflection and improvement and will speak to accreditors. Incorporating the PTR process into the program review process can reduce the workload on one given person or group and provide access to data and discussion that facilitates the holistic program review process. Consult Deans for thoughts on potential PTR projects; together you can talk about the data leading to the selection of a program and work toward innovative improvement.
  5. Encourage inter-departmental interaction. Open the door to departments to allow them to share challenges and offer their resources to one another; brainstorming together can educate others on services they might not know exist or have forgotten about. At Truman, the team identified a need for reading support in Cosmetology classes. Opening the door to support from the college’s Reading Center resulted in the implementation of high-quality embedded tutoring tailored to the needs of students. Once math was determined to be a barrier for students at Sauk Valley, the math department assisted in embedding more math principles across the manufacturing curriculum. At Illinois Central, teams leverage other departments and grants in the planning phase to cross-reference options and resources that could add to the overall success of the project.