About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 263-267
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain

A SHIFT IN LEARNING CULTURE – COLLABORATING TO LEVERAGE RESOURCES IN CRITICAL TIMES

M. Fuchs, S. Cheney, R. Zyirek, K. Britton, R. Frattura, B. McNamee

Wentworth Institute of Technology (UNITED STATES)
Uncertainty in challenging economic times has reached all organizations, including institutions of Higher Education. Compared to Europe, the density of U.S. private and public colleges is particularly high in urban areas with a primary focus to sustain student enrollment numbers and operations. Established support services such as faculty development are considered necessary and essential, but are also vulnerable during economic hardships. As a result, colleges had to be cost-cautious and innovative in their efforts to build scalable and sustainable faculty development initiatives.

Wentworth Institute of Technology, a small urban college in Boston, Massachusetts, has focused on faculty development services for the last six years through the Division of Technology Services (DTS). This included workshops and initiatives related to the integration of learning technologies, general teaching strategies, and the transformation of a learning culture at Wentworth. More recently, additional offices began offering faculty development initiatives. Some programs were unique to each office, where while others shared similar learning objectives with DTS. It was determined that faculty members’ time was very limited to participate in all the training opportunities from offered by different offices, and that it would be beneficial to consolidate and streamline efforts. In 2008, four offices - the Counseling Center, Center for Teaching and Learning, DTS’ Training & Development, and the Library - joined forces to leverage efforts, create more sustainable offerings, and increase their impact on campus. The collaboration was named CONNECT, symbolizing the connection between the offices, but also between departments, faculty, staff and students.

Initial meetings surfaced vision, hopes, and concerns. First and foremost, CONNECT participants needed to formulate a solid partnership to more effectively utilize and leverage limited resources, as well as improve each office’s reach to the faculty community while positively impacting the learning and teaching environment at Wentworth. Although its founding members perceived the initiative positively, it took two semesters to overcome departmental issues of tentativeness, build trust among the participants and formulate a strong working relationship that still maintains the unique identity of each office participating in this collaborative.

Today, CONNECT constitutes one of the most successful collaborations on campus. Ideas are shared freely and, more importantly, resources are streamlined, and each other’s services are more efficiently promoted resulting in significantly increased attendance. The CONNECT collaborative has consolidated the quest for more profound and meaningful faculty development, while also strengthening each office within the organizational fabric of Wentworth.

In this virtual presentation we will share how this collaboration could be used as a model for other organizations interested in building strong collaborations across departmental boundaries, breaking down silos and re-defining a new learning culture in challenging times. Concrete suggestions will be discussed on how to build trust, minimize or neutralize disruption while recognizing, respecting and maintaining the varying goals and needs of individual participants and its impact on relationships.

@InProceedings{FUCHS2009ASH,
author = {Fuchs, M. and Cheney, S. and Zyirek, R. and Britton, K. and Frattura, R. and McNamee, B.},
title = {A SHIFT IN LEARNING CULTURE – COLLABORATING TO LEVERAGE RESOURCES IN CRITICAL TIMES},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {263-267}}
TY - CONF
AU - M. Fuchs AU - S. Cheney AU - R. Zyirek AU - K. Britton AU - R. Frattura AU - B. McNamee
TI - A SHIFT IN LEARNING CULTURE – COLLABORATING TO LEVERAGE RESOURCES IN CRITICAL TIMES
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 263
EP - 267
ER -
M. Fuchs, S. Cheney, R. Zyirek, K. Britton, R. Frattura, B. McNamee (2009) A SHIFT IN LEARNING CULTURE – COLLABORATING TO LEVERAGE RESOURCES IN CRITICAL TIMES, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 263-267.
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