Towson University: Creating a Teaching Success Culture
“If faculty wanted to take part in these new ways of supporting students, they were going to have to expand out of their particular academic fields and consider ways their work could support students at an institution level. As a result, we had to help people change the way they thought about their work.”
— Jane Neapolitan, Ed.D., assistant provost in the Office of Academic Innovation
Over the past decade, in response to an increasingly diverse student population, Towson University has had to rethink the ways it supports students. Like other institutions, Towson increased investments in a range of initiatives, including academic advising, tutoring and bridge programs, among others, to help students succeed – particularly low income and first-generation students.
To help faculty re-evaluate their own teaching and approaches to student success, Neapolitan’s team offered workshops, conferences and local topic-based learning communities for faculty. “While there is considerable value in these traditional approaches, we realized our goal was not just helping faculty learn new skills, but rather our job was to lay the foundation for communities to form and culture to be re-shaped,” said Neapolitan.
Towson recognized it needed to consider new approaches to faculty development. “For real change to take hold, we had to think differently about ourselves. This is where Faculty Guild came in,” said Neapolitan.