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COC Wins Teaching Award

 The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has named
College of the Canyons’ Institute of Teaching and Learning (ITL) winner
of the coveted 2008 Exemplary Program Award — for its excellence in
providing both full-time and adjunct faculty members with an innovative
on-campus professional development program.

Sponsored By:

Sheila R. Veloz

The Exemplary Program Awards were established in 1991 by the California Community Colleges (CCC) Board of Governors to recognize outstanding community college programs across the state. 
 
Designed to provide an opportunity for colleges to showcase and share their exceptional programs, the awards recognize programs that: show evidence of the overall success of the program, including length of time in place; contribute to faculty engagement through programs directed at cohort(s) of faculty; demonstrate a response to the needs of the faculty and their colleges; provide evidence and supporting data that demonstrates how the program supports the community college mission; and can be used as models for other community colleges to adopt.
 
As a result of winning the award, the college’s ITL will receive a $4,000 cash award sponsored by the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
 
“College of the Canyons has always shown a strong commitment to professional development, and as such we are very honored to receive this award,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor, Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “We believe passionately that professional development is absolutely essential to enable us as a college to do our greatest work, which is developing our greatest resource — people.”
 
Commenting on the fact that a continued focus on such programs will remain a high priority at the college, James Glapa-Grossklag, College of the Canyons dean of distance learning said, “we are all committed to doing this together — administrators, faculty and staff — because we believe that professional development opportunities produce sustained and concrete outcomes for our colleagues, our communities and most of all our students.”

College of the Canyons implemented the ITL to support faculty efforts to enrich their teaching abilities by encouraging faculty to engage in ‘reflective practice’ (the studying of one’s own teaching methods) at every stage of the teaching/learning process. In addition, faculty members who design and perform research projects that promote reflection and/or change in classroom practices and are based on ideas and principles learned in the program, are awarded stipends for their contributions to the program.
 
Though dedicated to helping all college faculty improve their teaching skills, the ITL also features a program designed specifically for adjunct faculty members, called the Associate Program.  This program rewards adjunct faculty with the status of ‘associate adjunct’ and a 10 percent permanent pay increase upon successful completion of the program.
 
The number of both full-time and adjunct faculty members participating in ITL programs provides evidence of its success. 
 
Since 2002, 230 individuals have taken at least one ITL course.  Of the college’s 196 full-time faculty members, 102 have taken at least one ITL course — while many more have participated in the program’s individual workshops and activities.  In addition, roughly 250 adjunct instructors have completed the Associate Program since 1989.
 
“In a way, we have come full circle with this program,” said Russell Richardson, ITL director and full-time faculty member at the college, pointing out that the associate program and subsequent founding of the ITL were originally made possible with a grant from the state Chancellor’s office fund for instructional improvement.
 
In giving thanks to the support the ITL has received over the years from the Chancellor’s office, the Board of Governors, the Academic Senate, Chancellor Dr. Van Hook and the college’s administration and the program’s team of trained facilitators, Richardson went on to extend a specific thank you to the College of the Canyons students.
 
“We thank them for giving us our reason for existence and also for giving us our most important organizing principal,” Richardson said. “We try to organize our program around the students and their needs, with particular attention on shifting the focus of the program from teaching and the methods of teaching, to learning and the lives of our students. And I think that’s a part of what has made this program such a success.”