On Friday, Feb. 7th thirty-five Business Administration instructors, division managers, technology coaches, staff and students spent a half-day participating in a Curriculum Conference at SJVC’s Central Administration Offices.
The agenda describes the model: Curriculum conferences are instructor-focused and center on teaching tools and the learning process through the sharing and collaboration of classroom ideas, engagement in professional development opportunities and the creation and evaluation of common curriculum for program assessment.
“The purpose of the conference is to review the tools currently used to teach and assess student learning and make improvements where they are needed,” simplifies Jaimi Paschal, SJVC’s Curriculum Specialist. “The changes are initiated by the BA instructors and benefit students.”
Participants included a dozen staff and faculty members from other campuses who attended the conference online, via the Go to Meeting chat site.
The Curriculum Conference (CC) alternates every 18-months with Program Review (PR), another campus-wide meeting intended to review, assess and improve program competencies and student learning outcomes.
February’s conference is the first to include students from the BA program, who had expressed an interest in “having a voice” in their program’s review.
“I had no idea that this think tank was even part of the structure,” says Business Administration student, Betty Eddy. “I saw the concern and determination to basically put us (students) at the forefront. There should be more students involved in this.”
That is exactly what the Curriculum Conference organizers are thinking. Students are encouraged to talk to a program instructor to volunteer for their program’s next conference.
“It was wonderful to see the student reactions to their experience,” says Sue DeLong, Director of Assessment. “They were so impressed by how much time, attention and concern instructors put into ensuring the program’s curriculum meets the needs and expectations of students.”
The ideas, instruction methods and teaching experiences shared guide instructors in effective learning techniques and peak interest triggers. “How do we communicate the ‘cool’ factor of the BA program,” the conference agenda challenges.
“We are seeing a lot of action and passion behind our instructors’ efforts,” says Paschal. “Our staff and faculty want things to be the best they can be for our students to succeed.”
“These people are thinking they want us to go looking for a job and the employer sees “SJVC” and they know they have a good candidate,” says Betty. “I have even more faith in my program, as a BA student, than I did when I walked into the conference.”