Professional Development

Helice Agria conducting a professional development trainingHelice Agria conducting a professional development training

The Title III grant has offered several opportunities for professional development for both residential and adjunct faculty since its inception. The major training event occurs every summer at the Southern and Dobson campus.

Instructors receive one week of interdisciplinary training in active learning, student success best practices, learning styles, and more. The second week consists of training in a specific discipline (Math, Reading, or English) so that practitioners will gain or enhance their knowledge of how best to instruct developmental learners in their content area.

Other professional development includes EARS, student success strategies, and technology training. Topics such as short-throw projector training, study skills module training, and additional peer-to-peer observation training have also been covered. 

Several faculty members, both residential and adjunct, have taken part in Peer-to-Peer observations over multiple semesters (Spring 2013, Fall 2013, and Spring 2014 semesters). Faculty also participate in Professional Learning Communities where they review research and current trends in their disciplines and plan ways to integrate Best Practices into their instruction.

2012 Summer Institute

Starting in the summer of 2012, a two week FSS Summer Institute was held with the majority of developmental math faculty in attendance. Guest speakers and presentations were arranged throughout the eight-day workshop with a focus on strengthening MCC’s math developmental education program to help better serve the developmental education student. 

The Title III grant’s aim is to break down barriers for students in MAT082 and MAT09X by improving the quality of developmental education programs thereby increasing success and graduation rates of developmental education students.  The redesign of academic environments was the main focus of the first summer institute.

2013 Summer Institute  

The second FSS Summer Institute was held June 10-June 20, 2013.  Dr. Paul Nolting, national expert in assessing math learning problems – from study skills to learning disabilities – and developing effective learning strategies and testing accommodations, was one of the guest speakers. He spoke on the importance of mathematics study skills and how they positively impact student learning in mathematics. 

Dr. Erick Hofacker was another guest speaker during the 2103 Summer Institute.  Dr. Hofacker focused on different ways of modeling mathematical concepts and ideas. Visualization through technology was emphasized. Dr. Hofacker will return again this summer for the two day Math Summer Institute 2014. 

Day 3 of the 2013 Summer Institute featured Mesa’s own Beth Alsen and Megan Garvy, specialists in instructional design and education studies. Their workshop focused on how to engage learners for the 21st century classroom to promote student learning and critical thinking skills.  They gave an overview of 8 research-based standards for lesson design and delivery. They also discussed how to conduct peer-to-peer observations.

2014 Summer Institute

The third FSS Summer Institute hosted both a Math and Reading professional development component. The two-day Math Institute (June 2 and 3, 2014) brought back Dr. Erick Hofacker from the 2013 Summer Institute to further elaborate on collaborative and active learning in the Math classroom. His presentations included such topics as "Mathematical Tasks and Problems," "Technology in the Math Classroom," and "Real-World Applications in Math."

The eight-day Reading Institute brought in nationally recognized authorities in the field of Reading research. Dr. Janet Zadina spoke for two days to the group. Day one was on "Using Multiple Pathways to Enhance and Energize Instruction." Day two covered "Applying Brain Research to Classroom Practices."

Dr. Peggy Richek and Susanne Picchi presented on academic vocabulary development, entitled "Words are Wonderful: Engaging Students in Vocabulary Instruction." The day was filled with interactive activities that could be used by faculty to make vocabulary development more engaging.

Dr. Deborah Kellner presented on "Developing Resiliency for Reading Textbooks." Like the other presenters, her session was informative, interactive, and inspirational.

In addition to the guest presentations, a number of MCC faculty, staff and students spoke on more local topics, such as developing a growth mindset, information literacy, lesson design and delivery, EARS, Reading Department mission and vision for 2015, and a student panel, who gave faculty feedback on what worked and what could be improved with reading instruction.

All in all, it was a very successful Summer Institute. Here are some of the statistics for the event.

Reading Summer Institute Participation

Full-time Reading faculty: 7

Adjunct Reading faculty: 18

Total Reading faculty: 25

English faculty: 1

Total MCC Participants: 55

Total hours of training: More than 750 hours

Math Summer Institute Participation

Full-time Math faculty: 9

Adjunct Math faculty: 9

Total math faculty: 18

Total hours of training: 210 hours

When you add the two events together, we trained 73 employees and accumulated over 960 training hours.