The Office of Transformational Learning (OTL) is committed to supporting faculty at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business with a wide range of resources and opportunities to ensure that faculty are as well prepared as possible to deliver an innovative and meaningful learning experience to our students. We achieve this level of faculty support through a combination of coaching sessions, workshops and onboarding.
The Office of Transformational Learning offers both ad hoc and peer review forms of faculty coaching. For ad hoc consultations, OTL is offering faculty one-on-one sessions with teaching experts to discuss a wide range of teaching and learning issues. Advice can be given for those who wish to design or redesign courses, whether online, blended, in class or experiential. Consultations can address specific student feedback, peer evaluations, and building a strong teaching portfolio. Through partnerships with department chairs and the Teaching Enhancement Committee, we seek to maintain and expand our portfolio of outstanding faculty, develop creative ways to better achieve learning outcomes, and promote excellence in teaching to improve learning experience.
Peer review consultations offer faculty another approach to educational development. The Taskforce on the Evaluation of Teaching 2015-16 developed a peer review system for all Smith School faculty, and the Office of Transformational Learning will continue supporting this initiative by providing consultation for peer reviewers and reviewees. This will enhance consistency and the production of meaningful documentation for future APT decisions. This process in ongoing, as we have piloted initial peer review procedures and documentation in one department while developing general coaching procedures and documentation. In the coming semesters, we aim to increase participation through outreach across departments.
In collaboration with the Teaching Enhancement Committee, OTL offers workshops for instructors on a variety of topics related to teaching and learning. Where possible, we also collaborate with the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center on campus. Teaching workshops are in addition to new faculty orientation and onboarding activities. Strategic partnerships with Smith’s Teaching Enhancement Committee and the University’s Teaching & Learning Transformation Center support our efforts to maintain and expand our portfolio of outstanding faculty, develop creative ways to better achieve learning outcomes, and promote excellence in teaching to improve learning experience.
OTL began to offer workshops in May 2014 and currently offers up to four workshops per year. In addition, we are creating several online workshops for faculty to take anytime. Most recently, we have offered workshops on rubrics and increasing student engagement in the classroom, and we hosted a faculty discussion series called Design for Learning. For the coming semester, an academic integrity online workshop is in development as OTL continues to identify and target specific needs of teaching teams across the departments.
New Faculty Onboarding
OTL is working with departments to implement an onboarding process for all new hires, to include an emphasis on best practices in learning and teaching. Our goals include maintaining and expanding our portfolio of outstanding faculty as well as developing creative ways to better achieve learning outcomes and promoting excellence in teaching to improve learning experience. Collaborations with department chairs, Smith Human Resources, and the Teaching Enhancement Committee have further supported these efforts. Elements of training were trialed in individual department onboarding in fall 2016, with over 80 percent of new faculty completing the program at a 75 percent conversion rate. In an effort to expand this program, a more consistent school-wide approach will be deployed in fall 2017.