The Value of a Faculty Framework

Last issue, I introduced the general outline of a new framework for training, developing, and evaluating faculty. At our AGS Faculty meeting held recently on January 31, we presented this to the faculty in attendance and had some very rich discussion.

4CQ-model-12We presented the visual model shown here and briefly explained each area.

Along with a host of other great features and information, we’ve added a whole section here on the Connect:ED faculty site just for the 4CQ model. As we go, we’ll continue to add important and useful resources to this section.

NOTE: To those of you who have already seen this model and interacted with it some, we have made a major revision to it based on feedback from the January AGS meeting. The new version, which is shown here, has been streamlined from 16 characteristics down to 12, making the model much easier to use without being any less effective.

Take some time and look through the materials we’ve posted here at the 4CQ Model. Feel free to jump over and take a look at the tools we’ve put in this section of the site. Click the link to make the leap. You can also access this section via the menu at the top of the Connect:ED blog site.

I want to ask you to reflect on the questions similar to what we asked each table to discuss at the winter faculty meeting. These questions really help us better understand why such a framework is valuable. Those questions are:

  • Why are these 4 Qualities important for an AGS instructor to possess and demonstrate?
  • Which of the  4 Qualities do you feel you struggle the most with as an AGS Adjunct?
  • In which of the 12 characteristics do you think you are really strong? Which ones do you see you could improve on?
  • Which of the 4 Qualities or 12 Characteristics do you feel you or other faculty need more support or recognition from AGS or the institution?
  • What is one insight from this model that you could takeaway and immediately apply to improve your quality as an adjunct faculty member?
  • What important characteristics, behaviors, or attitudes are missing from this quadrant of the 4C Model?

Want to go the extra mile? I’d love if some of you were willing to think through these questions and then send me your reflections via email at beasley@okwu.edu.

Over the next several issues, we will highlight different ones of the 16 characteristics. We will share from the material we are now using in our Faculty Online Learning Training course. It will also be included in the Advanced Online Teacher training that is going to be developed later this year.

Also, just as a reminder: I am regularly putting some good stuff out on Twitter as a handy, fast way to share ideas and resources. You can follow me @bryeasley. I am using #OKWUonline to flag related posts, so if you are using Twitter, just do a hashtag search for #OKWUonline and you’ll have a good library of resources and ideas. Of course, you can also then contribute to that dialogue in the Twitterverse by posting a helpful link or a good idea. Just add the hashtag and it will join the stream!

Bryan Easley Signature

Blessings,

Dr. Easley

Q&A with Karen Carlson

Karen3

Q.    What do you do here OKWU?

A.      My job is working with faculty to make sure they have the material they need to teach their courses.  This includes syllabi and the most up-to-date edition of any text.  When new editions are published, then it is time to nag some poor unsuspecting dean to schedule a curriculum update.  I also send reminders out to faculty about a month before their classes to double check that they have what they need.  Every Monday I compile and send out a weekly schedule of on ground classes to Security and Buildings and Grounds and send a schedule of all on ground classes at all sites to other staff members.  I make sure someone checks classrooms here on campus every evening that we have classes and get laptops set up, if necessary.  I put faculty into Power Campus as they are assigned.  I am available for any other project for which Trish might need assistance.

 

Q.    What do you like most about working at OKWU?

A.    Most definitely the people. I really love seeing adults realize a dream of getting an education.

 

Q.    How did you end up here?

A.    After many years of volunteer work, I decided when my youngest son was old enough to drive, that I wanted to go back to work.  I graduated from the adult ed program in 1994 and found that I really missed the campus.  When the job here came open, I was thrilled, and came to work in 1996.  [My sister] Rene’ was working in the education division on campus at that time so it was nice to work at the same place then and now.

 

Q.   Where did you originally call home?

A.    I was born in Memphis but grew up in Oklahoma

 

Q.    Where did you go to school and what did you study there?

A.    I went to OU after high school but left in the middle of my junior year due to illness.  I was in secondary education to be an English teacher with minors in journalism and history.  When I was well enough, I took some courses at TU and later at Rogers here in Bartlesville just to make sure my brain still worked.  Then I got up the courage to enroll at what was then Bartlesville Wesleyan.

 

Q.    What is your family like?

A.    I was married to Alan for 42 years before his death in 2013.  We have two sons, Eric (38) and Kevin (35).

 

Q.    What hobbies, activities, or topics do you most like spending time on?

A.    I love reading and probably spend most of my time away from work doing that.  I like mysteries, biographies, and historical novels.  As a family, we enjoy going to the family ranch at Ramona or the farm at Alva and just being outside together.  Even the yard work is fun when we are all together.

 

Q.    What is one interesting fact that many people might not know about you?

A. I don’t know how interesting it is but I have sort of a varied work history.  I have been a dental assistant, a physician’s assistant in internal medicine, then neurology and finally orthopedics.  I was an EEG technician for a while (fascinating) and learned to do some x-rays.  I was a proof reader at a newspaper before I came to work at OKWU.  I sometimes assisted my husband in his law practice by answering interrogatories, creating settlement brochures, and helping review medical records.

 

Q.    What is the most interesting country you have visited or would like to visit? Why?

A.   Bahamas.  It was so gorgeous.

 

Q.    Is there anything else you would like people to know?

A.    Since July 9, 1996, I have seen over 100 people come and go from this office.  When I came to work I was the only clerical person in this building plus I was the janitor.  My job included providing all faculty and student materials, purchasing books from the publishers and then repacking and shipping them or delivering them, sending out grades, payroll, sweeping, etc.  My boss was also the athletic director so I did basketball stats and we published a little booklet every season.  Things have changed.  There were about 80 students and it was really a lot of fun.

 

You Are the Face of OKWU

Totidem Verbis

In each issue of Connect:ED, I will share “with just so many words” from my desk and my bookshelf, from my experience and my heart. Often, I will include questions throughout my words to give you the opportunity to respond or apply “with just so many words” also.

The emails and phone calls I have received so far this year have reminded me of the vital role each of you plays to walk out our mission. You – AGS adjuncts – are the face of the university not only in our evening classrooms where you may physically reach out to touch a student as you encourage or pray but also online where your hands move to type an encouraging word as your mouth utters the prayer.

We live in challenging times and our students are not exempt from those challenges. For example, consider the following excerpt from a faculty member’s email to me this week:

The students and I had a special time of prayer and grief support last night for F (whose husband had died) and for other students in [the cohort] as well.  T’s husband was diagnosed with MS last week. She missed class last night to attend a training session to give him injections at home.  M’s husband was diagnosed with an abdominal mass last week and will need further testing to determine what it is. L had requested prayer in previous classes for her son. Students and their families have also been hit with the flu bug.

A snapshot from just one cohort, yes, but this is not out of the ordinary. Adult students face some of life’s toughest challenges as spouses, parents, employees/employers, children, friends, citizens, and students. So many hats to wear! So many responsibilities to juggle!

With the specific scenario above from an evening cohort, think about the following questions:   Were those students ready to discuss concepts from their nursing course when they came to class this past week? Were they ready to present or to take notes? No – they needed a time of transition from the demands of their day, a time of ministry to be encouraged from God’s Word and to pray for one another. The faculty in place was sensitive to this need and followed God’s leading to help the students through prayer and support.

You are the face of the university; you represent our mission and pillars week after week, lesson after lesson to our students. As the FACE of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, consider the following acronym:

F – Fresh – Come to each session prepared with a fresh perspective on faith and to the content of your course: a fresh word from your walk with God and a fresh look at reaching the academic objectives. In a nutshell, fresh faith and fresh facts.

Fresh faith: What has God been sharing with you that you can share with your students? As you lead the devotion in class or post in the spiritual life discussion online, is it a fresh word from God’s living word?

As you dive into the textbook and requirements, have you reviewed the concepts and prepared the lesson to give a fresh look at the information? Is the information current?

 

A – Atmosphere – Your preparation in prayer and in study will contribute to a rich, meaningful atmosphere in the classroom that encourages student engagement. Your students do not care about how much you know unless they know how much you care.

Merriam-Webster (2015) defines atmosphere as “a surrounding influence or environment.” Your attitude and approach to each session will infuse the atmosphere you create and impact your influence.

How would students describe the atmosphere in one of your courses? Is the atmosphere conducive to a lasting influence on students?

C – Connection – Your fresh approach and the enriched atmosphere in your classroom will invite the students to connect with you. The connection may be content-related or life-related. It may be a text after your course with a question or a thank you; it may be during class with a prayer request.

More than once I have seen the impact of faculty making a connection with a student when the latter intentionally chooses an emphasis because of his/her experience in the core MBA course, (Corporate Financial Management, HR Leadership, or Strategic Marketing Management).

Review your teaching experience. What evidence do you have that you are connecting with the students?

E – Empowerment – Your teaching, sharing, guiding, and mentoring empowers the students to make new connections, to set new goals, and to pursue new paths. Empowerment may come in the area of faith, of understanding, or of critical thinking.

At our recent Adjunct Faculty Meeting (1/31/15), I was reminded that empowering others is the very essence of our opportunity to teach. During the meeting, Bill Hurd, former AGS Master Faculty, commented to me that there were at least 10 current adjuncts in attendance whom he had taught and/or mentored. His former students are now teaching; his former mentees are now mentoring. Empowerment is the power to reproduce oneself.

For your final reflection here: In what ways does your teaching empower students?

You are the face of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. With fresh faith and facts, determine to create an atmosphere that invites students to connect with Christ and with you. Each connection is an opportunity to empower a student to stretch and to grow, maybe even to be the first one to graduate from university in their family. Thank you for representing us with integrity and passion.

 

Reference

Atmosphere. (2015). In Merriam-Webster dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

Totidem verbis. (2015). In Dictionary.com. Retrieved from dictionary.reference.com/

Blackboard Grade Center Quick TIps

The Blackboard Grade Center can be complicated, but it is very important to ensure that all of the grades it contains are accurate. Here are some solutions to a few common issues that will keep your students’ grades correct and organized.

Enter Zeros When Work is Not Submitted

By default, the Total column in the Blackboard Grade Center will calculate as a Running Total, which ignores ungraded assignments.  What this means is that if a student does not submit an assignment, the missing points are ignored in the Total calculation. For example, if a 200 point assignment is not submitted the final grade becomes 800/800 instead of 800/1000. This can cause confusion for students who think they are doing well in class when they really aren’t and anger when the error is discovered once the course is over and the incorrect grade is changed. Because of this, it is important to manually enter a zero for every assignment that is not submitted.

Entering a zero grade is easy to do. Open up the Full Grade Center and look for assignments that don’t have a grade entered (the cell will have two dashes in it). Be sure to scroll all the way to the right, the Grade Center is typically much wider than your monitor can display. Click on the dashes of an ungraded assignment, type 0, and then Enter. That’s it! If you want to leave feedback with the grade, select the option to Grade User Activity and enter your feedback on that page. If you notice a student consistently not submitting assignments, reach out to them to determine why and to see if they need further help.

Before you submit final grades, it’s a good idea to take a look through all grades and enter a zero for all missing assignments.

Notice that the top student has the same grade as the bottom student, despite missing an assignment.
Notice that the top student has the same grade as the bottom student, despite missing an assignment.

 

Entering a 0 for the missing grade corrects the error.
Entering a zero for the missing grade corrects the error.

 

Calculated Columns

Most of the columns in the Grade Center directly correlate to an assignment, but a few are different. Apart from columns that display information such as a student ID number or last log in date, there are calculated columns. These columns display information that is calculated based on certain criteria and the relevant assignment grades. Every course has at least one Calculated Column, the Total. Many, but not all, courses include calculated columns for assignment categories, such as discussions or tests, enabling you to quickly see how students are doing in a certain part of your course.

One common point of confusion with Calculated Columns is that the number they display cannot be changed by clicking on the cell, as you would to change an assignment grade. When you’re trying to change a grade and clicking on the cell isn’t working, you may be selecting a Calculated Column instead of an Assignment. The only way to change the grade is to change the assignment grades that are feeding into it. To keep things organized, in OKWU online courses, Calculated Columns are always to the Left of the Total, and Assignments are to the right.

Calculated Columns are to the left of the Total, and Assignment Columns are to the right.
Calculated Columns are to the left of the Total and Assignment Columns are to the right.

 

Mac Bug: Grade Center Scroll Bar Missing

Mac users are commonly missing the scroll bar at the bottom of the grade center, which can make navigation difficult. The issue can easily be remedied in System Preferences on your computer. To get started click the apple in the upper left corner, then System Preferences. Next click General, and then change the setting Show scroll bars to Always. Close System Preferences and you’re done!

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more on how the Grade Center works or how to use it I encourage you to check out the Blackboard Help site, which goes into much more detail on every aspect of the Grade Center.

Sarah Cochran’s Bio

As a kid growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I thought the plan for my life was to graduate from college in four years and move immediately into a lifelong career. The Lord had other plans. I married at 20 and had three children—one girl, two boys—before I was 24. I was a stay-at-home mom until the baby was old enough to attend all-day kindergarten. Once my family reached that milestone, I started working in the public school system, helping students and teachers reach their academic and professional goals. The students had questions to be answered, and the teachers had grade books to be organized, but I felt a tug on my heartstrings to go back to college and finish the degree I had started at 18. Though 15 years separated my sophomore and junior years, I started down the long and challenging road toward my bachelor’s degree. I would never have been able to juggle family, work, and full-time school without the Lord’s help. With humility and a grateful heart, I am happy to have earned, as of December 2013, a Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors. Now, as part of the Online Support team at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, I am well-equipped and dedicated to helping students learn and grow, both personally and professionally, in their own life’s journey. It takes solid determination and a strong faith to take the next step in God’s plan for our lives, but with His guidance, we can accomplish the goals He has set for us.

Fall Commencement 2014

On Saturday, December 13, 2014, 181 AGS students were honored during Fall Commencement Ceremony.

When I think about this group of graduates, one word comes to mind: perseverance. Several students persevered while receiving chemotherapy; one student lost her husband during the program; one student drove away from her home to escape a tornado in northeast Oklahoma; one student gave birth. Students wore multiple hats personally and professionally as they persevered towards graduation. Having achieved this goal, though, several have been promoted; a couple have gotten new jobs; and several are continuing on with OKWU to earn another degree. Thank you for your investment into their lives. It is seed sown in good ground.

In this group, we graduated our first Criminal Justice grad, Jon Copeland, and two couples graduated, Curtis & Casey Spatz and Matthew & Alicia Snyder. Here is a breakdown of the graduates by program:

  • Associate of Arts – 16 (12 evening, 4 online)
  • Associate of Applied Science – 7 (4 evening, 3 online)
  • Bachelor of Science – 49 (20 evening, 29 online)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing – 79 (20 evening, 59 online)
  • Master of Business Administration – 30 (15 evening, 15 online)

Mark your calendar for Spring ’15 Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 9, 2015, 3:00 pm. Please let Trish Leggett know if you plan to be part of the faculty processional.

Jonathan Rivers Fall 2014

Jonathan Rivers celebrates the accomplishment of earning an MBA with his family.

Faculty Meeting January 31, 2015

Refocus on Mission & Excellence

AGS faculty are invited to come together 3xs each year, usually at our Tulsa site. The purpose of these meetings is to share information and inspiration, and to provide opportunity for training, collaboration, and discussion. It is an opportunity to connect professionally as educators who share the common goal of leading our students. “Iron sharpens iron” is the constant theme for every meeting.

Meeting Agenda for 1/31/15

  • 8:45 Coffee and Fellowship
  • Greeting & Update from our President, Dr. Piper
  • Presentation & Round-Table Discussion of 4C Quality Model for OKWU-AGS Faculty Development & Evaluation (see article from Dr. Easley)
  • Update regarding Rank and Promotion for Faculty

 

 

 

I Love Learning

I do recommend OKWU to anyone who is considering taking college courses. When people ask me what school I attend, I proudly tell them I am a student at OKWU and then I immediately send them the link to the university website.

I consider myself a sponge for knowledge. I know it sounds funny, but I love learning and OKWU’s curriculum is exceptional. It has to be because it made a believer out of me. Before attending OKWU, I had only attended traditional classes. Two or three different times, I enrolled in online courses and then dropped out. I was convinced I was not an online student. That all changed when I took the introductory course at OKWU. I became hooked on the idea of taking courses online.

There are a number of things I enjoy as an online student at OKWU. One of them is the weekly spiritual discussion. I look forward to them because I find myself reading more than the assigned scriptures. Many times, I find the scriptures are right on time with something that may be going on in my life. Sometimes, my posts can become a personal testimony. Also, I enjoy reading my classmates’ posts. Even though I can’t see or hear my classmates, I do get to learn about them by reading their posts. There are times I find out we share similar views regarding the topic of discussion.

Another thing I enjoy is getting to know the different professors. They are all so very different. Even though all of my courses are online, sometimes I get to learn something about the professor by communicating with them through emails and/or through phone calls. I have always enjoyed working with numbers and I was actually looking forward to taking the Accounting course in the bachelor’s program. My professor was Dr. Christopher Anderson. I was enjoying what I was learning in the course when my world was suddenly turned upside down. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my husband and I found ourselves homeless. We were forced to place all of our possessions in storage.

I remember while we were working hard to move our stuff into the storage unit, I was praying and asking God how am I going to continue with my classes and is this the end of the road for me at OKWU. Then, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said to snap a couple of photos of the full storage unit and email them to my professor. I did email the photos to him and explained what had just happened to us. He immediately responded. After that, he would call me about once a week to check on how my husband and I were doing. Each time he called he prayed with me and for me. I would be so moved I would cry every time. Despite all that I was going through and with Dr. Anderson’s prayers, patience, persistence and his love for the subject, I was able to pass the course. I can still vividly recall the phone call with Dr. Anderson when he had graded my final. He was so happy for me that I passed his course. I will never forget that. So, when I finally made it to the OKWU campus for my graduation ceremony in May, 2014, the first person on my list of people I wanted to personally meet was Dr. Christopher Anderson. And thanks to Ms. Janet Lightfoot–she made it happen. I did get to meet Dr. Anderson, and I got to thank him personally for everything he did as a Christian and also as a professor at OKWU.