A New Way: Introducing Higher Education to Professional Learning Communities at Work

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9781942496298: A New Way: Introducing Higher Education to Professional Learning Communities at Work
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Drive lasting structural and cultural change. With this user-friendly guide, you'll discover how to implement professional learning community practices in colleges and universities. The authors detail the great promise the PLC process has for reshaping the way leaders think and work together to drive student achievement. Practical and research-based, the process carries significant potential for improving results in higher education.

Benefits


-Craft a clear purpose, and review the three big ideas of a PLC.
-Learn the key questions that collaborative teams must answer to improve student learning in university settings.
-Explore strategies for dealing with people who are unwilling to change their practices.
-Discover ways for improving academic advising and recruitment plans.
-Consider the barriers in university structures and cultures that make it difficult to implement concepts that promote student success.

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About the Author:

Robert Eaker, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Middle Tennessee State University, where he also served as dean of the College of Education and interim vice president and provost. Dr. Eaker is a former fellow with the National Center for Effective Schools Research and Development. He has written widely on the issues of effective teaching, effective schools, helping teachers use research findings, and high expectations for student achievement. He was cited by Phi Delta Kappan as one of the nation's leaders in helping public school educators translate research into practice. Dr. Eaker was instrumental in the founding of the Tennessee Teachers Hall of Fame and was a regular contributor to the Effective Schools Research Abstracts series.

Debra Sells, EdD, serves as vice president for student affairs and vice provost for enrollment services at Middle Tennessee State University. She has served as an administrator at a variety of colleges and universities over her career of more than thirty years, including Grinnell College, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, and Arizona State University. Along with Bob Eaker, Debra has co-authored previous articles and chapters about academic and student affairs collaboration in higher education and on the application of professional learning community concepts and practices to colleges and universities.

Review:

While many authors and reports have stressed the need for significant changes to the long-standing traditions of higher education, few have offered specific recommendations for the steps that must be taken to bring about that change. Robert Eaker and Debra Sells address that void with A New Way: Introducing Higher Education to Professional Learning Communities at Work. As two people who have devoted their careers to higher education, the authors have a deep understanding of the complexities of changing the culture of colleges and universities. They both, however, also have knowledge of and experience in the power of the Professional Learning Community at Work process. Their backgrounds make them uniquely qualified to offer specific, practical steps that can be taken to increase the likelihood of student success in higher education. They challenge college faculties and administrators to stop blaming student failure on external factors such as poor preparation in high school or bad decisions by the admissions office, and to focus instead on what is within their sphere of influence to make higher education become more student centered. This book should be required reading for college and university faculties throughout the United States.

--Richard DuFour, Educational Author and Consultant

As a former dean of education, I can't think of a more important wakeup call than the powerful message that institutions of higher education must embrace professional learning communities if they are to learn and grow. Eager and Sells capture the essence of PLCs in powerful language. They make it crystal clear what PLCs are (and are not) and what they can do as models of cultural change. With barely a 50 percent graduation rate in postsecondary institutions, PLCs represent a winning, high-yield strategy for student success. A New Way is a must way; reach for and use this great book to breathe new learning life into your institution.

--Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

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