10 Questions for the POD People Gathering In Louisville

Trying to make sense of the changing world of Centers for Teaching and Learning.

November 10, 2016

Members of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education are gathering this week in Louisville for their Annual Conference.  

My guess is that this is a supportive community in which to begin the 5 stage grief process Tuesday’s election results.  (You know…denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).  

For 3 years now - ever since I moved into my institutions’s Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL, our CTL) - I’ve been wanting to attend the POD Network Conference.  And each year I have not been able to attend - as POD (I think folks refer to the conference this way) conflicts with other (unmovable) commitments.  

My strong desire is to join the POD community.  Hopefully next year.  

If I had been able to be in Louisville with the POD people this week - these are some the questions that I would be asking:

Question 1: Is there a trend to move digital learning initiatives into Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs)?  

Question 2: How prevalent are CTL re-organizations that have grown to encompass functions such as instructional design, media education, and digital / online learning?

Question 3:  What are the models, challenges, and opportunities for CTLs to collaborate closely with units such as Academic Computing and the Library - and what sorts of projects do these collaborations occur?

Question 4:  Is the emphasis at the POD Network Conference on the “professional” development work of CTLs (faculty development), or the “organizational” development work?  What sorts of resources, networks, training, support, and communities of practice have been built around the role of Centers for Teaching and Learning to lead organizational change?

Question 5:  How much does the POD community bring in institutional change perspectives from outside of academia into their discussions, training, and leadership development opportunities?

Question 6:  Has the POD community developed language to describe the integration of organizational change leadership and learning science?  How can a “learning-first” or “pro-active learning agenda” fit into larger strategic leadership efforts around differentiation, competitiveness, and long-term financial sustainability?  How are CTLs changing how they think about and practice internal and external communications?

Question 7:  How do member of the POD community learn how to develop a leadership role on their campuses from outside the traditional academic leadership roles (such as provosts, deans, etc.?)

Question 8:  Do participants in the POD Network see a changes at their institutions in how teaching and learning is being conceived, communicated about, and resourced - including a move to invest in non-faculty educators (such as instructional designers)?  What is the role of the CTLs in this change?

Question 9:  What role are CTLs playing in generating resources for learning innovation on their campuses - through grant funding, philanthropy development, or program development?

Question 10:  Is there a database or some resource that collects information on the structure, priorities, initiatives, and funding of Centers for Teaching and Learning?  Who is doing research on the changing composition, role, and mission of postsecondary CTLs?

I know, lots of questions to answer.  If you have thoughts on any of these questions I hope that you will share.

What questions would you have for our colleagues attending the POD Network Conference?


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