TLC Collaborative Projects

What does the TLC do?

The Teaching and Learning Center’s primary activity is to organize small groups of faculty and staff each semester, within and across disciplines, to learn, share, and solve problems together. The TLC has become an engine for positive change: our programs provide a flexible structure for faculty and staff to “Close the Loop” by putting assessment results into action. Since the TLC’s inception in 2010, more than 100 faculty and staff members in 30 different disciplines/areas have participated in these sustained, focused projects. Current projects include FIGs (Focused Inquiry Groups), which do primary and secondary research and make recommendations; APPLEs (Action Plan Projects for Learning Excellence), which take action on recommendations from prior FIGs and/or findings and action plans from SLO assessments; DARTs (Discuss-Apply-Reflect-Tools), 2-part workshops which provide guided practice for effective pedagogical practices, and the POP (Peer Observation Pool), which provides a structure for interdisciplinary non-evaluative classroom observation and reflection.

Why does the TLC work this way?

From the Basic Skills Initiative‘s Effective Practices section on Staff Development [emphasis by TLC]: According to the literature, the importance of comprehensive training and development opportunities for faculty and staff who work with developmental students cannot be overestimated…Workshops are the most common form of staff development offered by community colleges, yet they are also the most consistently rejected as ineffective by research, expert analysis, and even the faculty and administrators who participate in these activities (Murray, 1999 and 2002; Maxwell and Kazlauskas, 1992; Brawer, 1990; Grubb, 1999). There is little evidence that “one-shot” workshops produce any change in pedagogical practice; and, even when workshops do affect faculty performance, the improvements are short-lived unless they are reinforced and developed with ongoing staff development activities (Clark, Corcoran, and Lewis, 1986; Lenze, 1996; Grubb, 1999). 

What the BSI’s meta-analysis says about effective practices: How BCC’s TLC puts this principle into action:
C.2 The faculty play a primary role in needs assessment, planning, and implementation of staff development programs and activities in support of basic skills programs. Faculty and staff identify problems to solve (FIGs), action plans to implement (APPLEs), and tools to use more effectively (DARTs), and lead and participate in activities that directly affect their own areas.
C.3 Staff development programs are structured and appropriately supported to sustain them as ongoing efforts related to institutional goals for the improvement of teaching and learning. The TLC’s primary focus is to engage staff and faculty in a range of activities that go beyond the “one-shot” workshop to create real and lasting change. Expectations are clearly defined, and projects focus on BCC’s goals of improving student performance and access.
C.4 Staff development opportunities are flexible, varied, and responsive to developmental needs of individual faculty, diverse student populations, and coordinated programs/services. The TLC offers a “menu” of programs that provide a framework for staff and faculty to improve the college. The projects are both within disciplines and multidisciplinary, and address needs from student services to pedagogical strategies to course sequences, based on student needs and participant interest. Participants can choose from activities that involve different amounts of time and work. The TLC makes a special effort to make our programs accessible to adjunct faculty with complex schedules.
C.5 Faculty development is clearly connected to intrinsic and extrinsic faculty reward structures. Faculty and staff enjoy working together on projects they’ve chosen to directly impact their own work. They report greater collegiality, reduced isolation, and the satisfaction of contributing to positive change. The TLC has also been able to provide small stipends for much of the work.

The recent Student Success Task Force Recommendation 6: REVITALIZE AND RE-ENVISION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT also calls explicitly for contextualized, sustained development opportunities, shared equitably among full time and part time faculty and staff.

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