Concurrent Liaison Increases Cohesiveness at Arkansas State University-Newport
When Arkansas State University-Newport (ASUN) began analyzing their concurrent enrollment program as part of the re-accreditation process, they realized that, although their deans performed course observations on campus, they needed greater involvement by faculty to perform those observations for their concurrent enrollment courses. An Assistant Professor of English, Sandra Provence, was hired as ASUN’s first faculty concurrent liaison to conduct classroom observations in the high schools. Although concurrent classes have been a part of the two-year college curriculum at ASUN for years, concurrent teachers of Introduction to Literature and Freshman English II - ASUN's most popular concurrent enrollment courses - now have a consistent and reliable mentor they can turn to for support and answers.
Sandra’s role goes well beyond conducting observations and completing the accompanying paperwork. She is able to provide on-site, in-person support, and as a result, the concurrent teachers are better able to modify and adjust assignments, ask questions, learn how to use the portal to submit grades and syllabi, and find ASUN resources available to them. Sandra can more clearly explain to the high school teachers what is expected of them. When they do not understand how to make a syllabi or how to post one on the ASUN portal, Sandra is available to provide them with an example syllabus for their course or, moreover, to help them complete the syllabus and post it on ASUN’s website. This is just one example of the many ways that Sandra works to reach her goal of making their concurrent program “highly creditable and effective.”
Since she began as concurrent liaison, Sandra has seen an improvement in the program and in the attitude of the concurrent teachers. She explains, ‘The high school concurrent teacher does not receive extra pay or credit for teaching a concurrent class, yet that teacher must use a particular and unfamiliar syllabus and change his or her curriculum to account for both high school and college requirements. This is extra work and requires extra time to effectively complete. My presence hopefully eases their frustrations by helping them meet the requirements and by offering them praise for putting the needs of our students first.”
As concurrent liaison, Sandra also gathers documents for each course, such as syllabi and assignments. The concurrent liaison has been instrumental to ASU-Newport’s ability to document adherence to all NACEP standards. In addition to mentoring concurrent enrollment instructors, she has also worked with faculty liaisons in other disciplines to help them conduct effective site visits in their fields.
Sandra has a unique background that makes her particularly suited for this position. Prior to joining ASUN as an Assistant Professor of English, she taught high school for 17 years before she began teaching online and concurrent enrollment courses at ASUN. She also worked for the Department of Education for eight years as a Praxis III assessor and has served on the Jackson County School Board for twelve years. All of this experience has given her great insight into the differences between the high school curriculum and the college curriculum and what is needed to make them more cohesive. Sandra shared, “I want our concurrent program to offer the best.” ASUN’s recent re-accreditation by NACEP shows that they are well on their way to doing just that.