Scholarship and Hiring Practices

I’ll admit, I haven’t been able to focus much on digPINS this week. It’s been a tough one, marked by exhaustion, overeating of carbs (for good reason, colleague got her PhD), and an unfortunate and hostile situation with a faculty member. I have a little space to write today, and I want to document some of my thoughts about basic digital scholarship (or maybe professional development) and hiring practices. This is me, as an instructional designer, looking from the outside at faculty who teach online.

  • I’m fortunate that the majority of faculty I partner with are excellent online instructors, and if they aren’t excellent, they are invested in bettering themselves through various means available to them.

  • There is a small, but highly visible, group of faculty who are slated to teach online but lack basic digital literacy and more importantly: the desire to teach online.

  • These faculty often want someone to sit next to them as they build their entire course in an LMS, or worse, expect someone else to build their class for them.

  • These faculty often are adjunct faculty, self described as the “bottom of the barrel,” and “forced” to teach on online class.

  • Most academic technology (or similar) departments are not equipped for this (slash their departments are not intended to provide white glove service), and if they are, it’s not scalable >>> the staff burdened with accommodating these faculty quickly become burnt out.

It becomes a point of contention, these are questions I have heard/seen: Why aren’t you helping me? Why are you turning my faculty away? What do you even do anyway?

Also: There are spoken/unspoken opinions about adjunct faculty. One is an elitist take that adjunct instructors create less quality learning experiences. THIS IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. This attitude pisses me off, to be frank. It comes from a place of privilege and obliviousness. Really, this mentality is a symptom of the bigger problem: hiring practices for faculty.

Here are some of my easy questions for schools/departments/units about their hiring practices.

  • Are you transparent in the interview process about the probability of this position teaching online?

  • Do you ask about experiences in teaching online, using technologies (including an LMS)?

  • How do you onboard faculty to your department? Whether they teach f2f or online, digital literacy and digital scholarship are integral parts of higher ed.

I am tired. This is a starting point.