We all want to be better at what we do, don't we? We want to know the latest research, the best practices, the tips and tricks, the state-of-the-art techniques and tools, and the most effective ways to perform our jobs.
But how do we do that? How do we keep up with all that's going on, locate the best resources, experiment with the new technologies, and still manage to work? Where do we find the time and how do we find the things that will actually help us perform to our best potential?
These are the questions the Professional Development Summit (which is actually a series of six summits throughout California) hopes to address. We hope to build a useful tool for all types of professional development in the California Community Colleges. To be useful, a clearinghouse should at least:
- Provide information about professional development options and plans. Want to learn more about SLOs (Student Learning Outcomes)? Look it up and find materials, tools, experts, training opportunities, courses, workshops, etc.
- Allow every user to take control of his or her own professional learning. Instead of dictating how and when you can learn about something you need to know, the Clearinghouse should make it possible for you to define your own professional goals and paths.
- Allow institutions to participate in and monitor training activities of members. Colleges have a vested interest in the training of all staff, faculty, and administrators. So does the entire community college system.
- Define and document the professional development activities throughout the California Community College system. Thousands of professional development activities take place across the state - seminars, workshops, Webinars, conferences, summits, online courses, mini-courses, retreats, etc. - which are largely invisible to those of us who don't participate or aren't invited. Wouldn't it be nice to know how other people do new faculty orientations or where to find an expert on course design?
- Recognize and pay tribute to good instructional and student support practices and projects. There are heroes performing stellar jobs on every campus. Why hide that light under a local bushel?
- Provide mentoring, practitioner-to-practitioner, and community-of-practice opportunities for engagement and relationships. How great would it be to find someone who does what you do and knows something you wish you knew - and who was willing to share it with you?
- Delineate accreditation standards, requirements, and system goals. Some jobs and activities require specific knowledge or skill sets. Let's build a place where you can look them all up.
- Provide information, knowledge support, and content for practitioners. That's what a traditional clearinghouse does: give you a place to look stuff up. Let's fill it with relevant, timely papers, research, printable handouts, PowerPoints, and other training materials.
- Personalize Professional Development. Allow everyone to monitor their own individual progress, set and track their own goals, store their own related materials, bookmark content in the clearinghouse, create groups of friends, form networks, and build a personal portfolio.