By: Abby E. Ryan (for Almy Education)
Higher education is typically in a state of reform. With the pandemic, that has only accelerated. When initiatives for change are enacted, having stakeholders at the forefront is critical to the amount of time needed for the initiative and its success. Which stakeholders have the most influence on the success or failure of higher ed initiatives? Faculty.
A Resource for Improvement
Faculty can be an excellent resource and engine for change. Since college faculty work directly with students, they are often seen as connectors. It is for this reason that they hold a tremendous amount of influence and power. They not only educate on specific topics, but they create and share how and when they want to communicate their knowledge.
When faculty are on board, initiatives can take off and have a true student impact. As administrator roles are often considered short-term engagements, long-term faculty are most likely to have a vested interest, be willing to take the initiative, and make sure that initiative continues from start to finish.
An Impediment for Change
As much as faculty can propel change, they can also stop initiatives right in their tracks. Most faculty are coming from a position of concern for their students, working off a set of assumptions about math, learning math, student success, placement, and courses. Because of this emotional attachment, faculty can sometimes make decisions based on emotion instead of real data.
For example, corequisite remediation can work for many students, but it’s not for everyone. Unless administrators and policymakers hear from those on the front lines, they may not know that students with low reading and math comprehension are even thinking about college.
Having Faculty at the Table
When it comes to discussions on policy, it’s vital to have faculty at the table. For instance, since course redesigns are an ongoing process, you’ll want your most affected stakeholders, such as faculty and administrators, to support the project. While faculty and administrators often all have the same goal, the approach to meeting the goal might be extremely different. Even though both parties may not see change happening in the same way, the process can still be productive. Open communication creates hard but necessary conversations that will keep your redesign moving forward. For both parties, being willing to listen is as important as getting your point across.
A Means to Education Reform
Faculty and their role in reform are among the greatest assets in getting change to happen in colleges. The secret is to involve them instead of avoiding them. To do that, administrators need to enlist people who aren’t afraid to have hard conversations with faculty plus challenge their assumptions. Both administrators and faculty are critical to change, even though that presents more challenges than only one group or other leading the efforts.
Almy Education’s Role in Faculty Buy-In
Almy Education prides itself on its ability to move the needle to make real change consistently occur. With CEO Kathy Almy’s unique experience as both an administrator and faculty member, she understands the struggles both groups can incur and perspectives both bring. That’s why Kathy’s signature strategy is to be your go-between for math faculty and administrators – not just one or the other. Almy Education serves as a neutral third party that can guide colleges and private universities through redesign to get to real change. But to do this, there must be faculty buy-in.
Although buy-in is not a phrase that everyone particularly likes, it’s incredibly critical to any redesign. Buy-in doesn’t simply refer to getting individuals on board in initiating a redesign. It also refers to keeping those individuals invested for an extended period or even indefinitely.
Almy Education not only helps you have the needed conversations for buy-in but also ensures that they’re productive. Almy’s track record reaffirms a commitment to creating actual transformation in a short timeframe, quickly and efficiently accomplishing your goals. To learn more about Almy Education and an approach used to get buy-in and redesigns off the ground effectively, check out this page.