June 16, 2017

What is expected of faculty and departments once a course is RS designated?

A course portfolio is required the first time that a course is taught with the RS designation, and after any substantial changes to the course. This portfolio is reviewed by the Faculty and Curricular Activities and Assessment subcommittees. The purpose of this portfolio is NOT to review how “good” the professor is. Instead, our goal is to find out what works and what doesn’t in teaching students about research, inquiry, and the scholarly process. By putting together the portfolio, faculty have an opportunity to reflect on what went well and what they would like to change next time the course is offered, and our review committees learn more about the courses. We have already used this information to make clearer guidelines for RS courses, and to provide additional resources earlier in the semester to RS faculty.

The portfolio consists of a narrative statement that answers a series of questions about the course, a copy of the most recent syllabus, an evaluation of the class on the identified student learning outcomes, and samples of student work that exceeded, met, and did not meet the faculty’s expectations. These materials are submitted through Blackboard, and are due in January for fall classes and end of May for spring classes.  The portfolio takes three to four hours to put together, and less if you have attended the faculty development meetings. Faculty who have not been supported by a Scholarship Development Grant are given a small stipend for completing the portfolio. Faculty who have taught the class before are also encouraged to continue to submit portfolios, and will be eligible for the stipend.

The first time someone teaches an RS class, we ask that she/he attend a series of three professional development meetings. The first meeting, an RS Orientation, takes place before classes begin.  Mid-way through the semester you first teach, we meet again to talk about progress in the courses and share sample assignments. The final meeting, towards the end of the semester, focuses on assessment-both less formal methods that can help faculty learn more about the course, and the nuts-and-bolts of putting together the RS course portfolio.

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