A New Appreciation for Teaching and Working on Campus
By: Dylan Lewis
It’s a new fall semester at UMD, and by now we are used to our hybrid working conditions—splitting our time between both in-person and Zoom obligations. We wanted to hear from faculty members around campus regarding how teaching and working has changed now that we are no longer doing everything remotely. We were also interested in their thoughts on how Zoom has continued to influence their work. For example, Philip Joyce, a professor of public policy in the UMD School of Public Policy, said Zoom teaching enabled him to develop new, more interactive ways of teaching that have carried over to his in-person pedagogical practices.
Both Joyce and Rochelle Newman, Chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, spoke to us to give some insight on what they appreciate more now about being back on campus.
What are some of the things you missed most about being in person while everything was on Zoom?
Joyce: I missed actually being able to connect with the students. Looking at a bunch of ID pictures on Zoom is nowhere near the experience of actually being able to see a face, even one covered by a mask, to get feedback on whether what you are teaching is actually landing. And there are no informal interactions (before class, after class, in hallways) on Zoom.
Newman: The chance encounters in the hallway that led to real discussions - with Zoom, you only tend to talk to people when you need to or have the intention to do so. The hallway meetings tend to lead to those, "oh, by the way...." kinds of discussions, some of which end up being really important.
What are some of the things you liked about teaching on Zoom or working remotely?
Joyce: I definitely liked not having to commute, but that would be about it. I will say that I am glad I had the experience of teaching remotely, because it did make me appreciate the classroom experience and reminded me that having connections to students was one of the main reasons that I became a professor. I also feel like I now know how to teach remotely if necessary, which is not a skill I had before.
Newman: I tend to teach discussion-oriented courses, which can be hard for students whose native language isn't English, as well as for those who are simply shy or who have difficulties with language. But over Zoom, we were able to both have conversations verbally, and over chat - and the latter has a slightly slower time course, making it easier for those students who have difficulty speaking up. Having the combination of options meant that more of the students were fully included in the discussion.
Has Zoom made scheduling meetings with your colleagues, advisees, or students easier?
Joyce: Absolutely. I think this is the real continuing advantage. I now have options for meetings that I did not have before. This has made me more accessible to students, and has made it easier to convene meetings.
Newman: In some ways. But whereas in-person meetings usually ended a bit before the hour (so people would have time to walk to their next meeting), our Zoom meetings seem to go to the full hour - such that now that we're trying to do both, the in-person meetings seem to be more likely to start late and feel rushed.
Faculty Success Updates
We continue to improve the Faculty Success faculty data system. Changes in reports, data screens and the platform's functionality since last month are outlined below.
And remember: although the official reporting and approval process occurs at the beginning of the calendar year, the system is always available for you to add new activities or update information. Get a head start on your activity data today!
- The Merit Review Report has been restructured to mirror the University CV template. The report has the same order as the campus-wide CV template, making it easier to find information included in the report.
- In early 2021, Faculty Success was enhanced to allow faculty members to identify the activities that supported and/or were related to diversity, equity and inclusion. The DEI-related indicator was added broadly across the activity screens. A new report, the DEI Report, pulls together all of the DEI-related activities for faculty members during the report's date range.
- Some incremental improvements to the generation of a University-formatted CV via Faculty Success have been put in place. The most noticeable change is in the report's name: it is called the University CV in the Reports list, replacing the UMD Vita entry. Additionally, the set of publications where a faculty member has provided reviewing expertise is now included as a simple list of publications/organizations, replacing the separate citations-by-record format previously used. The logic for the inclusion of records in the subsections of IV.B. Campus Service was adjusted to correctly report these service activities.
- The Faculty Success implementation team continues to improve the generation of the University CV by Faculty Success. Known issues are documented in the UMD CV Generation Using Faculty Success resource. The team continues to work with the vendor to find ways to consolidate the ORA-managed sponsored awards data to eliminate the duplicate entries.
Enhancements to Publication Records
Some enhancements have been made to the Publications data screen to extend what can be documented in relation to a publication. It is now possible for faculty to indicate if they advised or mentored a student co-author. This appears in reports as a † postfix to their name. Additionally, it is now possible to document the funding that supported a publication. When editing a Publication record, it is now possible to link to one or more ORA-Managed Awards records as well as to one or more Other Awards and Gifts records. Lastly, when publications are included in reports, DOIs provided with the record are included in the citation and linked.
Faculty Success Platform Enhancement
You can now add and edit records through a function called “self-service reports.” Self-service reports is a feature in the platform that you may not have been aware of. It allows you to design and build a formatted report of your activities data in a WYSIWYG* interface. As you design your report, you can use custom sections, ordering, supplementary text, adjust the formatting and apply record filters and grouping. Tabular output of activity data is also supported. Now, as you review and refine your report format, you are also able to add new activity records to a section or edit existing records. This short video gives an overview of this new feature:
Read more about this enhancement and the platform's recent user experience changes.
More to Come
As the Campus Feedback: Annual Reporting with Faculty Success June 2022 report outlines, the enhancements outlined above are a subset of planned modifications. Enhancements to come include:
- Updates to the University CV template. The Faculty Success Advisory Group identified that a new section is needed in the University CV template - Section V. Public Engagement, Scholarship and Practice. The University CV template has been updated with this new section and a new Activities screen layout is in the works, along with a new screen to support documentation of these important faculty activities.
If you have other recommendations for improvement, we welcome your input - firstname.lastname@example.org.
*WYSIWYG = what-you-see-is-what-you-get