New ATD Teaching & Learning Toolkit Released

Earlier this week, ATD released its inaugural Teaching & Learning Toolkit, a research-based and faculty-informed resource designed to support colleges as they strengthen institutional capacity in teaching and learning. The guide builds upon recent ATD teaching and learning initiatives – Engaging Adjunct Faculty in the Student Success Movement and the Open Educational Resources Degree initiative – as well as synthesized research and stories from ATD Network colleges. It includes an appendix addressing issues emerging as it was being prepared – from the COVID-19 pandemic to the growing movement to end centuries of racial injustice.

A sharper focus on teaching, learning, and faculty professional learning is essential to advance success for all students and close the equity gap: this requires building a culture of teaching and learning excellence and investing in high impact professional development programs.  Strengthening support for faculty and staff with collaborative engagement across all areas of the college is essential to building this new culture.

“This toolkit aims to equip colleges with evidence, success stories, and the applicable tools they need to transform the culture around teaching and learning on their campuses,” said Bret Eynon and Jonathan Iuzzini, the toolkit’s co-authors. Retired from LaGuardia Community College, Eynon serves as an ATD Teaching & Learning Coach and Iuzzini is ATD’s Director of Teaching and Learning.

ATD president and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout said faculty must be at the table as colleges implement these changes.

“Our full-time and adjunct faculty must be at the center of colleges’ work to building cultures of excellence in teaching and learning. Educators are our students’ primary and most frequent point of contact, regardless of whether this is in person or virtual. Now more than ever, we must invest in building institutional capacity in teaching and learning.”

The Toolkit integrates the best new research on teaching, learning and professional development.  It draws on the work of the New Learning Compact, a team of national professional development experts including Isis Artze-Vega, Adrianna Kezar, Peter Felten, Jose Moreno, Mary Deane Sorcinelli, and Iuzzini. Led by Eynon, Randy Bass of Georgetown University, and Laura M. Gambino, formerly at Guttman Community College and now at the New England Commission on Higher Education, this team synthesized the literature to identify a “done well” framework for high-impact professional learning.

Drawing on this framework and its recent teaching and learning initiatives, ATD identified four Cornerstones for campuses building a culture of teaching and learning excellence: 1) Full-time and adjunct faculty use evidence-based instructional practices to foster student learning, 2) Collaborative partnerships link faculty and student affairs professionals in shared efforts to cultivate learning and support student success, 3) Educators join students as active learners in an accessible, empowering, personalized, and supportive academic community, and 4) The institution embraces professional learning for continuous improvement, realigning related expectations in hiring, evaluation, promotion.

Structured around these Cornerstones, the Toolkit has five chapters plus the appendix.  Each brings together evidence-rich research, sidebars of resources and case studies, and worksheets designed to help teams develop an effective, tailored campus professional learning strategy.

  1. Evidence-Based Pedagogy & Practice: This chapter surveys the growing body of research that demonstrates the value of evidence-based teaching practices, and highlights key active learning and culturally inclusive pedagogies shown to advance equity in student engagement, retention, and achievement.

  2. Supporting Student Success: This chapter focuses on holistic student supports, which are strengthened through collaborations between faculty and student affairs educators.

  3. A Community of Learner/Teachers: This chapter examines how to use high-impact professional learning to implement evidence-based practices developed in prior chapters, and how to strengthen across campuses.

  4. Strategic Action to Support Teaching & Learning: This chapter highlights institutional and systemic support needed for high-impact professional learning.

  5. A Hub for Innovation & Change: This chapter focuses on the role of Centers for Teachers and Learning and other professional learning hubs as a vital resource for supporting faculty in advancing evidence-based instruction.

  6. Appendix: Teaching & Learning in Times of Upheaval: The appendix represents an initial attempt to consider the implications of current events for attempts to advance equity-focused teaching and learning.

The Toolkit is designed as a resource for ATD campuses, coaches, and the field as a whole.  ATD’s teaching and learning team recently launched a virtual seminar and coaching series for Frontier Set institutions to test the Toolkit in action.  Working together, campuses will use the Toolkit to engage students, faculty and staff and advance their own growth as agile and adaptive learning organizations.

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