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Rowan-Cabarrus shines spotlight on professional development

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College’s 2015 Summer Institute was a huge success, say college officials. Co-hosted by the Rowan-Cabarrus Center for Teaching and Learning, Academic and Career Advising Center (Title III) and the Perkins Grant Committee, three days were devoted to immersive faculty professional development.

“Rowan-Cabarrus Community College is committed to excellence for our teachers and our students,” said Dr. Carol S. Spalding, president of the college. “Creating the Center for Teaching and Learning provides a way for us to ensure that our faculty have access to quality resources to make our classroom experiences better than ever through programs like the Summer Institute.”

The center offers consultations and workshops about all aspects of teaching for instructors and provides support for curriculum design, development and assessment. It also facilitates faculty learning communities to promote best teaching practices and offers programs to promote and share instructional innovations.

“The Center for Teaching and Learning was established to support excellence in teaching through quality professional development and collaborative opportunities for our faculty,” said Debra NeeSmith, dean of educational resource services at Rowan-Cabarrus. “Our goal is to help instructors create robust and interactive learning experiences for our students, and in doing so, demonstrate the college’s commitment to student success and exceptional learning.”

During the the program, more than 130 instructors and 40 staff heard from three nationally known keynote speakers.

“The college’s vision is to build sustainable futures through the power of learning,” said Spalding. “Our vision influences how we view our own faculty and staff development. In order for us to complete the mission of the college, we all must enhance our skills. We’ve established a goal for each member of our faculty and staff to complete at least 30 hours of professional development per year to help them do their jobs better, more effectively and more efficiently.”

The speakers included Dr. Mark David Milliron, co-founder of Civitas Learning, who discussed using design thinking and data to help students learn well and finish strong.

Dr. Lisa M. Chapman, system senior vice president for programs and student services/chief academic officer at Central Carolina Community College, spoke on creating opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Chapman has been in the North Carolina Community College System for 27  years.

Finally, Laura Hamilton, president of Laura Hamilton Seminars Inc., spoke on building connections with students, one conversation at a time.

Attendees heard three guest presenters, four faculty presenters and 22 staff presenters. More than 37 sessions were offered with the goal of helping faculty members better serve every student.

Over the course of the institute, Rowan-Cabarrus faculty and staff earned certifications in areas including accessibility, advising, copyright, retention and more. Copyright and advising were among the top areas, with employees earning 50 and 29 certificates, respectively. In order to earn the certificates, participants were required to take part in specific presentations and pass an assessment.

Advising and Career & Technical Education were the focus of this year’s institute.

More than 92 percent of attendees agreed that the 2015 Summer Institute was both applicable to their job and met their professional learning needs.

“What I liked most about summer institute is the ability to come together with colleagues and obtain new knowledge and skills,” said one attendee.

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