The literature regarding workplace learning emphasizes, among other elements, the importance of learning by doing, social learning, and personalized learning pathways (J. Hart, 2015, S. Geison, 2018). This mindset is not new, but uncommon in institutions of higher education. The newly redesigned Master Teacher Program at Kirkwood Community College is fortunate to be able to apply tenets of workplace learning as the onboarding experience for new full-time faculty.
The 2017-2018 cohort of new faculty are the first cohort to live in this space. This past year, in collaboration with the KCELT team and lead by Theresa Moore, Faculty Development Specialist, the faculty thrived in a non-evaluative environment focused on self-growth. The focus on self-growth freed the faculty to question, share their work with others, and design impactful learning experiences tied to student learning outcomes.
On April 23, 2018, the faculty were honored at a capstone celebration where they shared their work this past year directly related to Kirkwood’s twelve faculty competencies. The platform for sharing was their Kirkwood e-portfolios that will be evaluated by their Dean and the Academic Vice President at the end of their third year. Honoring a growth mindset and supported by tenets in workplace learning, I witnessed this group of faculty share their insights with others freely, primed for more opportunities to grow next year. What they learned, they shared with others.
I’m grateful for all the work the faculty put in this year, the challenges they undertook, and the community that they built. This – a learning community model with a foundation of trust and free of evaluation – is the foundation for their growth going forward.