Consistency is THE best practice

My role as the only full time microbiology instructor at NWTC has allowed me to lead my team of adjuncts in the goals of bringing consistency to the delivery of the curriculum and improving student success rates. I was able to achieve these goals by taking a collaborative approach with my adjuncts. I set out to learn what best practices each adjunct used and incorporate it into the curriculum. We had meetings before the start of the semester and agreed ahead of time what the curriculum, policies and assessments should be (in accordance with state curriculum). This approach resulted in a consistent delivery while taking advantage of each adjunct’s talent and background. While we may all think that our own way is best, collaboration is key to ensure that students are learning exactly what they need to when they come to class.

One thought on “Consistency is THE best practice

  1. Yes, it is imperative to have consistency and a collegial spirit with the adjuncts — the following communique was sent out to our adjuncts to accomplish similar aspirations and results.

    Social Science Team

    Vision of Excellence

    Instructional Team Vision for Excellence for faculty, adjuncts, and others

    Team Vision of Excellence:

    Vision statement:

    We, the social science team, strive to inform, challenge, and expand the intellectual, emotional, and social horizons of our learners so they may become a conscious and positive force for change in the ebb and flow of the social fabric.

    Students enrolled in the social science courses will reach their goal regardless of geographic location, income level, and cultural background by successfully meeting the standards established for each course.

    Mission statement:

    We, the social science team, in the communities we serve, seek to develop intellectual abilities (poised critical thinkers), to serve one’s interests while respecting the rights and needs of others (ethically responsible), resulting in people being treated reasonably, fairly, ethically, empathically, and justly. (culturally sensitive).

    Students enrolled in the social science courses will reach their goal regardless of geographic location, income level, and cultural background by successfully meeting the standards established for each course.

    809s Team Assessment Philosophy and Minimum Standards for Evaluation/Assessment

    Because the social sciences are both knowledge based disciplines and a realm for self-reflection, the assessment in social science courses should be varied. The team advocates assessments that measure students’ acquisition and retention of specific, concrete ideas. In addition, the team advocates assessments that encourage students to reflect upon and apply those concepts to their own lives and the larger world. Therefore, the team supports a varied approach to assessment that includes both written work and formal assessment of knowledge with quizzes and/or examinations. This varied approach supports the college goal of equity with the recognition that different students have different strengths that are reflected through various assessment techniques.

    The following minimum standards for assignments and assessments apply to Introduction to all 809s courses.

    • A minimum of 10 pages of writing with part of these 10 pages being at least one formal paper. By formal paper, we mean an assignment where learners are given some type of clear guidelines and must produce a final product that is typed and formatted. Other writing to achieve the minimum 10 pages can include journals, in class reflection paper, response papers, etc. It is expected that these writings will be reviewed by the instructor and formal or informal feedback/evaluations will occur.

    Exams and Quizzes
    • A minimum of 2 exams along with 2 quizzes (or 2 more exams) for a total of 4 formal evaluations during a semester. The length and structure of these evaluations at the discretion of the instructor. Ideally these evaluations would be spaced every three or four weeks during a semester to encourage students to interact with course materials in a structured way at regular intervals during the semester.


    Remember to engage students early, especially with positive feedback. Those instructors teaching on one of the NWTC campuses and using the Blackboard Learning Management System have a powerful tool to accomplish this task – Starfish. Starfish not only is a tool to interface with students, but it also allows for information sharing among instructors in different teams and departments. It also plugs students into student support services and student success resources as soon as possible. Use kudos to encourage succeeding and improving students. Use flags to alert students early and document behaviors like low participation, attendance, or impending danger of failure. It is important to clear flags once you have made contact with a student regarding the flagged situation. You can always re-raise the flag if needed in the future. Referrals to student support services can also be made using Starfish. Dr. Troy Moore is our resident expert in the A&P team regarding Starfish. Feel free to use his expertise and experience to become a Starfish power user!
    (courtesy of Marc Ditty)

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