3 Steps to Improve Faculty Engagement

Image of people sitting around a table with laptops collaborating. The text says: 3 steps to improve faculty engagement.

When was the last time you checked in with your faculty?

You know the challenges they are facing:

We understand the critical role faculty engagement plays in ensuring a thriving online learning environment. Engaged faculty members bring their expertise and passion to the virtual classroom, fostering an atmosphere of enthusiasm and motivation among students. Investing in faculty development can enhance performance and reinforce your institution’s reputation for excellence.

Why Faculty Engagement Matters

Faculty members serve as the backbone of any educational institution, and their level of engagement significantly impacts the overall success of online learning programs. Engaged faculty members are more likely to embrace innovative teaching methodologies, provide personalized attention to students, and actively participate in professional development initiatives. By fostering faculty engagement, online learning directors can create a vibrant community of educators committed to student success and continuous improvement.

On a recent DigitalEDU Dialogues podcast, Dr. Eboni Mathis talked about how faculty engagement correlates to improved retention. She said, “The more informed, the more engaged and knowledgeable faculty is, the more you can expect to see some student success outcomes as well as retention. Retention is everybody’s business, but it absolutely is a faculty member’s business to be concerned with how well a student is doing in your classroom and helping to retain those students because we all sign up to teach so that we can make a
difference in the lives of our students. And so that’s one way we definitely make a difference is to ensure that we are facilitating in a way and providing a welcoming environment for our students to be successful, and so if they’re successful, then that leads to us being able to retain those students.”

Get more from Dr. Eboni Mathis on the full DigitalEDU Dialogues podcast here.

To empower faculty to provide the best education for students, you need to invest in the best training for them. We offer three practical steps to enhance faculty engagement within your institution.

Step 1: Foster a Culture of Collaboration

It is crucial to create a culture that values collaboration and communication. It’s easy to work in silos within our departments and for full-time and adjunct faculty to feel disconnected. Online learning directors can establish platforms for faculty members to share ideas, resources, and best practices. Encourage regular virtual meetings, discussion forums, and social networking groups where educators can connect, exchange insights, and learn from one another. By facilitating collaboration, you empower faculty members to take ownership of their professional growth and contribute to improving the online learning experience.

Step 2: Provide Effective Professional Development Opportunities

Investing in high-quality professional development opportunities is essential for enhancing faculty engagement. Online learning directors should offer a range of development programs, including workshops, webinars, and conferences, that address pedagogical and technological advancements in online education. Include a mix of self-paced opportunities and synchronous learning where faculty can connect. These initiatives should align with faculty members’ needs and interests, enabling them to continually enhance their teaching skills and stay up-to-date with emerging trends. By valuing professional development and providing relevant resources, you demonstrate a commitment to faculty growth, encouraging active engagement in learning.

Step 3: Recognize and Reward Excellence

Recognizing and rewarding faculty members for their accomplishments is a powerful motivator for continued engagement. Establish a system that acknowledges outstanding teaching, innovative practices, and contributions to the online learning community. This recognition can take various forms, such as awards, certificates, or opportunities to lead workshops or mentorship programs. By celebrating faculty achievements, you inspire them to excel further and create a more positive and supportive environment fostering pride and belonging.

Faculty engagement lies at the heart of successful online learning experiences. By nurturing a culture of collaboration, providing practical professional development opportunities, and recognizing excellence, online learning directors can create an environment that encourages faculty members to actively participate in the growth and improvement of their institution’s online programs.

At The Babb Group, we understand the significance of faculty engagement. Many of us serve as faculty at institutions around the US. We offer comprehensive faculty training services to help institutions empower their educators and drive success in online learning.

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Angela Britcher

Angela Britcher is an instructional designer and content creator with The Babb Group. She is also an adjunct professor of business and communications.
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