Faculty Communications 2017-2018
Previously, each individual department within our division determined their own communication strategy. Faculty were receiving information about resources and programming in piecemeal, with no structured format or timing for the release of that information. Often we heard the complaint that faculty were “inundated with emails” to the point where they would disengage. In June 2017 we began work to create a comprehensive communication plan to alleviate those faculty concerns and more. After completing this audit, we directed our efforts at segmenting our audience into "interest" groups rather than blasting the entire faculty population all at once. Our goal is to educate, engage, and empower faculty on their teaching & learning journey.
On Friday, July 14, 2017 the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) hosted an Admin Connection event. Administrative Assistants who support faculty, department chairs, and deans were invited to attend to learn about how TLED can help them support their faculty. This key audience has their fingers on the pulse of the faculty community and we were excited to engage them. They participated in two activities: “from innovation to action” and “appreciative inquiry" to brainstorm ways to improve college processes.
The Faculty Senate and Adjunct Faculty Association collaborated during the Fall 2017 semester to bring faculty together to discuss and define ACC Faculty Core Values. The goal of this effort was to shape future faculty programming.
- In these dialogues, faculty explored questions such as:
- What are the most important elements in your role as a faculty member at ACC?
- What do you invest your time and effort in?
- What goals are important as you teach?
- How do you serve your students, the college, and our community?
The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division has been an important partner in leading this process and providing support. We are consciously working to strengthen a collaborative relationship with faculty associations, and an important part of that process is faculty engagement in faculty-driven, grassroots efforts like this one.
TLED Employee's Contributions to Faculty Communications
Employee engagement has been vital in our research and move toward creating a cohesive TLED brand. We solicited faculty and staff advice for our communications plan during an "All TLED" meeting in August 2017 and received wonderful ideas to implement and more insight into what our employees enjoy about working with faculty. Another part of our effort towards branding the new "Teaching & Learning Excellence Division" was creating an email signature that all staff under our umbrella could use. We hosted a design contest! We thought this would be a fun opportunity for all TLED staff to get involved with the direction of our area's communications.
Faculty CRAM Session
CRAM stands for “Celebrate, Resources, And Meetup!”
Initiated by the Faculty Senate, and in collaboration with other faculty association leadership, the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) hosted ACC’s first-ever Faculty CRAM Session. Faculty from across the district gathered at the ACC Highland Campus for this drop-in, "just-in-time" development day designed to support faculty as they prepped for the start of the Fall semester.
Faculty Connect Newsletter
Each month TLED releases a newsletter that works to empower ACC faculty to improve the learning environment for their students. Professional development events for the month are shared. We regularly feature faculty successes, teaching & learning resources, our "behind the scenes" work, and more.
ACC #TLEDupdates Webcast
ACC TLED Updates is a monthly webcast series hosted by the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) where faculty & staff can learn about our ongoing initiatives that support their teaching & learning experience at Austin Community College. Each month we feature a different office in our division and share innovative new projects, updates to our services, and informative resources. These webcasts are filmed in our television studio with an amazing technical support staff available for direction, audio/visual setup, and editing.
ACC Faculty Events Digest
Our division offers countless resources, services, and even more professional development events! We started sharing a weekly events digest with faculty to showcase our online and in-person PD opportunities. We pay close attention to our open & click rate data, or our "paying attention and taking action" date. Early on we polled faculty about what sort of content they'd like provided in this publication. We've found more success sending this communication on Sunday afternoons rather than first thing Monday morning when faculty are more likely to be overwhelmed with planning their week. We also use this communication for important reminders about Testing Centers, Blackboard, etc.
Each year all ACC faculty and staff are invited to our largest event of the year for breakfast, State of the College address, and keynote followed by lunch and strategic planning breakout sessions. Since our social media presence was in its infancy at this time, we hosted a contest to entice ACC employees to engage with us online. We also offered a Twitter wall using Slido to encourage attendees to Live Tweet during the event.
We aren't the only group at Austin Community College that needs to engage faculty. International Programs, our Office of Equity & Inclusion, Public Information & College Marketing, and more areas all send communications to faculty. We've been working with these partners to send communications to faculty through our digets and newsletters to cut down on their email clutter. We hope to create more partnerships with Student Life, Student Accesibility Services, and more in the future. We enjoy curating these amazing opportunities for faculty!
Faculty Forum: Forging Career Paths for ACC Faculty
We hosted a Faculty Forum on October 27th, giving all ACC faculty the opportunity to hear about the history of our faculty orientation and what successful community colleges do around the country for on-boarding. Our own history faculty member, Suzanne Summers, lead this presentation & the following dialogue. She started the discussion by asking attendees to recall what it was like when they were new to ACC. Twenty-six faculty members from diverse disciplines were in attendance. Successful faculty communication efforts were targeted at Department Chairs, requesting that they send representation to the meeting.
Over the course of Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 Faculty Communications promoted 24 large scale events and programs for the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division via email, social, and print design. Successful practices for us include: personalized email outreach from chosen "influencers," re-sending email blasts to our "did not open" audiences, creating email reminders for our designated "interested" lists, and providing easy subscription to key information (such as connecting to our Computerside Chat series online).
Champions of Teaching & Learning Excellence
More Info: Coming Soon
We created a social media campaign similar to Humans of New York. "Champions of Teaching & Learning Excellence" tells stories that breathe life into the people who improve the teaching & learning experience at ACC. This is one way we bring additional recognition to TLED, our employees, and spotlight stellar faculty at ACC all in one story arch.
The “How to Stay Sane During Grading Season” Challenge
The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED)’s tried out a new email campaign that we called the “How To Stay Sane During Grading Season” Challenge. We know the end of the semester can be hectic for faculty. That's why TLED conceived this ten-day, quick-hit intensive to help them shed the procrastination and fast track their way to winter break. When faculty registered, they signed up to receive a new challenge straight to their inbox for 10 consecutive days between December 11th through December 20th (when all final grades are due). These daily challenges were meant to enhance productivity in ten minutes or less and keep faculty calm & carrying on as our Fall 2017 semester wrapped up. Each exercise was backed by research and was carefully curated to help faculty stay on track through the chaos that the end of the semester brings (without losing their sanity!).
Many of our ACC faculty complain about receiving too many emails. However, this challenge provided an opportunity to opt in to even more. We were delighted to have 84 participants!
All TLED Winter Event
The 2017 TLED Winter Event was a day aimed at working to create an inclusive & equitable ACC. It was the first of many events focused on cultural competency training for TLED faculty and staff. Several esteemed speakers led important discussions. After the event concluded, TLED employees were invited to a Social Hour nearby.
We use social media to tell our story. Our tone is comfortable and confident. Just like our faculty, we are intelligent, academically minded, sometimes quirky, and constantly looking for researched based ways to help better the place we live. Our voice remains official and professional, but also friendly and approachable. Currently we have presence on Facebook and Twitter and are looking to expand to Instagram. Each semester we employ an ACC student intern to support our social efforts while also providing them with real-world job experience and course credit.
Faculty CRAM Week
CRAM stands for "Celebrate, gain Resources, And Meetup," and this week featured Faculty Convocation & Keynote, Open Instructional Design Office Hours, and a mini-conference day dedicated to over 50 professional development workshop offerings. Historically, all of these events have been promoted and organized separately. This year, we collaborated with Faculty Development Programs, Faculty Senate, and Instructional Designers to put together "Faculty CRAM Week" prior to the start of classes. All part-time and full-time faculty are invited to utilize Faculty CRAM Week events and resources to prepare for a successful Spring semester. This cohesive outreach campaign continued our efforts to work as a collective both within our division and with faculty.
Opportunities & Resources: Improving Access for Our Students
The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) invited deans, department chairs, and their administrative assistants to an event that focused on improving access for our students. Access to instructional resources and welcoming environments are paramount to student persistence and engagement and our goal is to support faculty leaders in these student success efforts. The event included presentations on equity and inclusive access as well as other updates from TLED that impact district-wide functions and services.