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Adjunct Faculty Support Program Named STLCC 2011 Innovation of the Year

May 10, 2011

Donna Dare and Christine Padberg  
Donna Dare, left, vice chancellor for academic and stu-
dent affairs, presents the STLCC Innovation of the Year
Award to Christine Padberg, assistant professor in English
at Meramec.

A program designed to support adjunct faculty through professional development workshops, online tutorial videos and a Blackboard site has been named St. Louis Community College’s 2011 Innovation of the Year.

Christine Padberg, assistant professor in English and adjunct faculty coordinator of the reading program at the college’s Meramec campus, developed this program in response to the college’s mandatory reading proficiency requirement in fall 2005 and the subsequent need to hire more part-time reading instructors. 

“That semester, we hired 16 new adjunct reading faculty members at Meramec,” Padberg said. “Having that many new staff, each of whom had many questions about working at the college and teaching our students had prompted me, as their supervisor, to develop new ways of addressing as many needs as possible.”

Since taking the position of adjunct faculty coordinator for the reading program five years ago, Padberg has developed three ways of connecting with and supporting adjunct faculty that she believes has increased teaching effectiveness and boosted morale and cohesion. 

  1. Professional Development Workshops – Padberg conducts a four-hour session on a Saturday afternoon, several weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. Participants gain resources to stay current in their teaching and understanding of student development as well as various ways to implement effective design methodologies.
  2. Demonstration/Tutorial Videos – Padberg designed this online resource to guide new faculty through various STLCC systems such as class roster access, linking a computer to a printer, a mid-term project overview, and even a map to find where Padberg’s office is located.
  3. Blackboard Site – Padberg devised this site to provide information and supporting teaching materials to all reading faculty, but specifically tailored it to assist the adjunct instructors. To keep content fresh, Padberg sends out a call for new submissions at the end of each semester and updates over the summer.

“I believe this project improves the quality of teaching and learning in general for those who attend the workshops, view the tutorials, and use the resources on the Blackboard site,” Padberg said. “New teachers, in particular, often are concerned with creating lessons, tests and other instructional materials that are appropriate in scope, length and rigor for their students. By having a set of sample instructional materials available, they are then able to get a sense of what has worked for other teachers and build off of that as needed.”

The League for Innovation in the Community College established the Innovation of the Year Award to recognize an individual or group from each of the 20 member college districts who have use creative, productive approaches to meet new needs or solve old problems. Criteria for the award are quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity and timeliness. STLCC is a founding member of the League for Innovation.