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Democratizing Faculty Development - Establishing a Training Program at a New Computer Science University in Russia.

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Faculty Development Round Table

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Constituent Committee

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Oksana Zhirosh Innopolis University

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Oksana Zhirosh is a Head of English Division at Innopolis University, Innopolis, Russia. With over 15 years of experience in education, she is focused on the research in teaching methodology, gender diversity in STEM, teaching intellectually advanced youth.

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Joseph Alexander Brown Innopolis University

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Joseph Alexander Brown was born in Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada, on July 6, 1985. He received the B.Sc. (Hons.) with first-class standing in computer science with a concentration in software engineering, and M.Sc. in computer science from Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada in 2007 and 2009, respectively. He received the Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Guelph in 2014.

He received the 2009 Graduate TA Award from Brock University. He is an ISW Trainer and has facilitated numerous training for Russian educational improvement.

He previously worked for Magna International Inc. as a Manufacturing Systems Analyst and as a visiting researcher at ITU Copenhagen. He is currently an Assistant Professor and head of the Artificial Intelligence in Games Development Lab at Innopolis University in Innopolis, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada.

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David Tickner Faculty professional development consultant

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David Tickner, Faculty Professional Development

I worked with the School of Instructor Education at Vancouver Community College (VCC), British Columbia, Canada, for over thirty years, conducting numerous face-to-face and online courses of the BC Provincial Instructor Diploma Program (PIDP). Course participants included faculty from public and private colleges in BC, Alberta, and the Yukon as well as trainers from government, business and industry, and other settings. I served a term as Head of VCC School of Instructor Education.

I am one of the founders of the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) Program. I have facilitated numerous ISWs and other faculty development activities over the last forty years in Canada and internationally, most recently in Taiwan, Russia, and India.

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Type of Submission: Evidence-Based Practice Paper

Abstract: Professional development of teaching staff is an essential part of quality assurance practice at higher education institutions, so this Evidence-Based Practice Paper describes the experience of establishing such a program at a new medium size computer science university in Russia and discusses teaching staff engagement. Innopolis University (IU) is a private educational organization launched in 2012 in a recently established city of Innopolis, Russia, to produce highly qualified computer science specialists. After a needs analysis was performed, it was decided to distribute training responsibilities among the Faculty and Instructors, rather than to organize a separate teacher training unit. Due to the small size of the university and its narrow specialization, it became essential to engage passionate faculty to enhance teaching. These ambassadors underwent training for particular workshops, and will eventually run the workshops on a regular basis. Thus, a community of practice is being developed with practitioners training practitioners. One of the workshops launched at IU is the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW), a three-fold experiential small-group workshop, originated in British Columbia in 1970s. The workshop focuses on lesson planning, writing lesson objectives, aligning lesson activities, effective feedback, performance assessment tools, and learner engagement techniques. At IU, the ISW was planned to be a part of teaching assistants’ pedagogical training. However, it appealed to the faculty and administration. Within twelve months a group of 5 professors was trained as facilitators, they conducted 12 workshops for 49 participants, including the Provost for Education and the Dean, 10 more ISW participants were trained as Facilitators, and the first group of 5 Facilitators was certified as Trainers. Thus, after one year of ISW practice, the university is capable of continuous workshop maintenance. To evaluate the impact of the workshop, six in-depth interviews were conducted with a representative group of ISW participants, and a survey was developed based on their observations. The ISW participants answer the survey questions after they have taught two months having participated in the ISW. Sixteen responses from teaching assistants and faculty members have been collected. The results demonstrate the impacts of the ISW have been an increased instructor’s willingness to experiment with a variety of teaching techniques, to manipulate with the teaching space depending on the goal of the lesson, and to collect and reflect on students’ feedback. The instructors also report that after the ISW they tend to articulate lesson objectives with a learner-centric approach. Further, they observe they limit content to allocate time for activities revealing learners’ results and align the assessment tasks with the stated lesson objective. Two organizational insights are: heterogeneous training groups are more dynamic than homogeneous; participants and workshop values should be paid attention to at early stages of the training program. Among the challenges: scheduling so that the participants are fully engaged; establishing the understanding of the value of the workshop in junior teaching staff. In conclusion, the ISW, being a peer development workshop, not only can contribute to the quality of teaching, but also to democratizing a university corporate culture and teaching practice.

Preferred Presentation Manner: Round Table Discussion - as we would like to discuss on our challenges and engage on how to implement such practices in participants’ own Universities.

Zhirosh, O., & Brown, J. A., & Tickner, D. (2019, June), Democratizing Faculty Development - Establishing a Training Program at a New Computer Science University in Russia. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32583

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