Faculty Guild to Scale Faculty Development Model Pioneered by LaGuardia Community College Foundation

Exclusive agreement enables national implementation of the foundation’s research-based faculty development model, including technology-enabled personalized coaching, communities of practice and pedagogical analytics

ARLINGTON, VA — October 30, 2018 — Faculty Guild, an educational services and technology organization focused on improving student outcomes through purposeful teaching, today announced that it has exclusively licensed the research, methodology and assets of the Global Skills for College Completion (GSCC) project, led by the LaGuardia Community College Foundation. LaGuardia Community College is one of 24 institutions within The City University of New York. 

“For years, we’ve seen a wide range of college and university investments in important student success initiatives. What has been underrepresented, however, is the voice of the faculty — those with the most frequent and closest contact with students,” said David Yaskin, CEO of Faculty Guild. “By authentically engaging faculty in evidence-based, purposeful teaching, we have an opportunity to get to the heart of student success in a way not previously considered. We are honored to build on LaGuardia’s impressive work — scaling their approaches to serve the diverse needs of higher education.” Yaskin is the founder and former CEO of Starfish Retention Solutions, now part of Hobsons.

Founded in 2009 under the leadership of Dr. Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, and with funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Kresge Foundation, GSCC began as a research project to demonstrate that higher education teaching matters and that pedagogy is a determining factor in student success and completion. Changes in student achievement in the tested cohorts of both full-time and part-time faculty were promising, affecting retention and pass rates with differences ranging from 4 percent to 8 percent improvement. The results of the work are documented in the book Taking College Teaching Seriously: Pedagogy Matters!

“Improving teaching is not just about exposing faculty to evidence-based practices — those are widely documented in many pedagogy books and a variety of prescriptive curriculum programs. The hard part in faculty development is getting faculty and their institutions to embrace a growth mind-set of continuous improvement — and to stick with it. This takes regular practice, time and community,” said Dr. Mellow. “The model we developed, that Faculty Guild is now bringing to scale, was designed by faculty for faculty. It leverages the latest thinking in adult learning theory to engage faculty in a way that is immediate and important while preserving their privacy and independence. We are excited Faculty Guild will continue this important work in a way that will benefit the students our foundation serves, for years to come.”

The model was developed over six years with the support of hundreds of faculty members from dozens of institutions. The project, including the refinement of 20 evidence-based instructional practices, was evaluated by Stanford Research Institute. The model consists of placing faculty members in small, online teaching circles of their peers where they each journal (in a highly structured format) about a weekly classroom activity, connect that work to any of the 20 evidence-based instructional practices, and participate in peer-to-peer analysis and feedback using appreciative inquiry. 

Inspired by this work, Faculty Guild provides a software platform that powers a national network of facilitators and faculty members as they work together to explore evidence-based teaching practices. Specifically, Faculty Guild offers two-term fellowships to full-time and part-time faculty members, as well as graduate assistants. Part-time faculty members receive an honorarium from Faculty Guild at the completion of each term.

“We are excited to be a founding partner institution with Faculty Guild. The work is promising and aligns nicely with our commitment to supporting faculty as they seek to make a difference in the lives of our students,” said Dr. David A. Vanko, interim provost of Towson University. “We have a cohort of faculty participating now — leveraging the model originally developed by the work of GSCC. Our faculty members are appreciating the opportunity to spend time reflecting on their work, connecting it in a natural way to evidence-based instructional practices and getting to see and learn from their peers across the country.” Towson University is one of more than 35 institutions, including four- and two-year institutions, that have joined Faculty Guild.

Going forward, Dr. Mellow and other project staff will serve as advisors to the company. In addition, the LaGuardia Community College Foundation will receive an ownership interest in Faculty Guild to support the foundation’s mission of helping students succeed. 

About Faculty Guild

Faculty Guild believes purposeful teaching is vital to student success. We offer a multi-term fellowship where faculty members bolster their existing teaching practices. Fellows learn by reflecting on their own teaching — not from disconnected, general guidance. Additionally, their institutions receive aggregated, non-identified data to measure return on investment. Our approach has been tested by hundreds of faculty members and is based on more than six years of research, originally led by Dr. Gail Mellow. For more information, please call 844-776-3374 or visit www.facultyguild.org

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