Throughout the months of May and June, we are featuring unique aspects of programs that just earned NACEP accreditation. Congratulations to them all! We are now happy to feature the First Class at Central Methodist University.
Professional Development Transformed at Central Methodist University
The benefits of concurrent enrollment for students are evident—It makes for a more seamless transition from high school to college and helps students to be more successful once they reach college. However, the story that often goes untold is how concurrent enrollment benefits teachers, in addition to students. When concurrent enrollment instructors are offered meaningful professional development opportunities, it can help them to gain insight into their academic area and better educate their students.
NACEP’s Standards reflect the understanding that collaboration across secondary–postsecondary lines is essential to a successful concurrent enrollment program. Specifically, NACEP’s Faculty Standard 3 requires that programs provide concurrent enrollment instructors with annual discipline-specific professional development.
First Class at CMU, the concurrent enrollment program at Central Methodist University (CMU), has seen the benefits of offering discipline-specific professional development firsthand. As part of their journey to put NACEP’s standards into practice, CMU had to make some significant changes to how they were offering professional development to its concurrent enrollment instructors. Previously, CMU offered a workshop for all of its concurrent enrollment instructors, regardless of discipline. They struggled to find meaningful content that was applicable to all of the instructors and, as a result, the workshop was unfocused. Additionally, concurrent enrollment instructors only had a few minutes of time to talk with CMU faculty about discipline-specific topics.
While undergoing the process to become ready to apply for NACEP accreditation, CMU began to offer discipline-specific professional development workshops and webinars for its concurrent enrollment instructors. As a result, they have seen the relationships between CMU faculty and their concurrent enrollment faculty transformed.
Sandra Wald, Assistant Dean of the Central Region at CMU stated, “Since we changed to discipline specific professional development, everyone is more content. Input and ideas are being shared back and forth, and teachers are getting what they need, which is wonderful. It is exciting to me to see this change!”
At a recent webinar CMU offered for Spanish adjuncts by Dr. Rita Gulstad, there was 100% attendance by all adjuncts. The ease of attending a live webinar makes it easy for all participants. The main focus of the webinar was to review the new textbook option and obtain insight regarding the book. The adjuncts were all excited about the online activities for both oral and audio that the text offered. The opportunity for the students to have the ability to listen to native speakers of Spanish from several different dialects and countries was a huge boon for them.
Other points of discussion included the timeline of teaching verb structures; the importance of “vosotros;” how the new online text supplement allows students to practice listening skills outside of the classroom and how to integrate it into course work; and the importance of integrating cultural elements into course topics.
The staff all stated that they appreciated the opportunity to discuss the changes in the text and their pedagogical implications. They also valued the chance to voice their opinion as well as make curricular decisions.
The CMU dual credit program started in 1990 with just five schools. Currently, First Class at CMU partners with over 100 teachers in 84 different public and private Missouri high schools to provide over 30 concurrent enrollment courses.