Supporting Faculty Leaders in Core Course Redesign: Overcoming Challenges and Increasing Buy-In through Faculty Development Retreats at Valdosta State University
Theresa J. Grove, Shani P. Wilfred, Jamie Landau
Valdosta State University
Institutional course redesign is a challenging endeavor. In addition to navigating the logistics associated with improving course content and assessment, strategies to reward faculty who engage in this complex process need to be developed. This case study describes a collaborative summer retreat that was designed at Valdosta State University (VSU) to address the aforementioned challenges. The retreat incorporated development of a course redesign and assessment action plan, critical reflection, and practicing implementation, including a persuasive pitch to increase departmental buy-in. Seven faculty from four departments, who were part of the Gateways to Completion (G2C) initiative at VSU, participated in these summer retreats. Retreat participants reported feeling reinvigorated and better equipped to engage their departments in the course redesign process. All plans developed during the summer retreat were successfully implemented and achieved varying levels of buy-in within each department. The retreats and the implementation of course redesign demonstrated the importance of facilitating buy-in at the department level, the importance of rewarding faculty engagement, and the value of collaborative efforts that incorporate administrative guidance and support. The development of these summer retreats laid the groundwork for expansion of course redesign efforts at VSU, which are only one aspect of our student success initiatives.