Lessons Learned about Building an ASSERTive Community
According to our lessons learned paper there is underwhelming faculty development related to scholarship other than on how to submit and sometimes how to write proposals. This de facto service model misses out on everything before and after the proposal-writing process; which is the least important, but is often the most celebrated, rewarded, and supported phase. Inspired by national Centers for Teaching & Learning, and modeled after the emerging Communities of Transformation literature, we are piloting a Center for Transformative Research at Boise State. The vision of our Center is to build and sustain an ASSERTive community -- for Aligning Stakeholders and Structures to Enable Research Transformation. As a cohort, fifteen faculty were recruited as fellows with the goal to spend a year exploring what it means to be a scholar and how to move a bold and transformative idea forward. To minimize the energy to apply, the application process included an instagram post, twitter response, and/or haiku. To ensure university-wide accountability, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by each fellow, as well as their Provost, Vice President for Research & Economic Development, College or School Dean, and Department Chair. Once signed, each fellow was asked to complete a survey and an individual structured interview to determine their specific needs, providing validation or perhaps challenging our a priori observations of risk inhibitors at Boise State that prevent germinating bold ideas. By profiling the fellows, we were able to look at what may inhibit them from taking risks – personal attributes and beliefs, and the structural and cultural issues within their academic unit, the university, and in their academic field. Based on the survey results and individual structured interviews, an off-campus retreat was held. In addition to the off-campus retreat, on-campus workshops were custom made for the fellows and included: (a) how to germinate transformative ideas by no longer seeing ideas as precious; (b) how to become an effective collaborator by adapting the Toolbox Project; (c) how to move ideas forward by drawing on the game “Chutes & Ladders” where the chutes represent common obstacles and the ladders are shortcuts; (d) how to manage time at work, and in life; and (e) how to classify, understand, and know when and how to implement intentional versus emergent research strategies. As a culminating activity, the faculty then pitched their ideas to university and community leadership. In conjunction with the pitch event an advocate was assigned to each faculty to help connect their ideas to future resources. From our motivation to our faculty application to our custom learning community, lessons learned will be shared via a lightning talk.
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