Facilitating Departmental, Programmatic, and Curricular Change through Traveling Workshops

Thursday 2:45pm - 3:30pm Admiral | Poster 16
Poster Presentation

Mitchell Bender-Awalt, Carleton College
David Blockstein, Bard College
Diane Doser, University of Texas at El Paso
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Heather Macdonald, College of William and Mary
Cathy Manduca, Carleton College
Dallas Rhodes, Humboldt State University
Catherine Riihimaki, Princeton University
Academic departments and programs in higher education face challenges in adapting to shifting institutional priorities, fluctuating budgets, evolving research landscapes, and changing employment prospects for graduates. Programs that prosper in the face of these challenges recognize opportunities for increasing their institutional value by fostering interdisciplinary research, attracting and supporting diverse students, generating cross-campus collaborations, and rethinking undergraduate and graduate curricula. In order for faculty to respond to and capitalize on potential challenges and opportunities at the department or program scale, they need customized approaches that are both informed by successful strategies from other institutions and grounded in their specific organizational contexts and goals.

To facilitate this kind of organizational change, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers Traveling Workshops Program (TWP) brings together leaders in education to offer campus, regional, and national workshops for departments and programs. The TWP offers workshop themes such as building strong departments, strengthening cross-campus programs, supporting the success of all students, and improving introductory and upper-division courses. All workshops feature exercises to facilitate discussion of strategies for change, dissemination of expertise by the workshop leaders and participants, and development of organizational or individual action plans for next steps. In all cases, two TWP facilitators work with local hosts to design an appropriate agenda tailored for the specific audience.

Since 2014, the TWP has visited over 50 institutions and reached more than 600 faculty members in the geosciences, environmental sciences, and beyond. In workshop evaluations, participants indicate attitudinal shifts towards their programs or curricula and tangible outcomes resulting from workshop action planning. Participants attribute these impacts to the guided discussions with colleagues, active workshop exercises, and examples from similar organizations. Participant feedback indicates that the TWP is a successful model for facilitating departmental, programmatic, and curricular change.

For more information on the TWP visit https://nagt.org/nagt/profdev/twp.