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Faculty Panel: What Faculty with Disabilities Want Institutions to Know – Webinar Transcript

HOST: Hello everyone, and welcome once again to the third of Sloan-C 2013 Accessibility Webinar Series. For this webinar, we have our Faculty Panel with the topic, What Faculty with Disabilities Wants Institutions to Know. We have a wonderful group of panelists today, but I want to first thank our sponsors, 3Play Media, Perkins eLearning, and University of Illinois College of Education, for sponsoring this webinar series and for their contribution.

We are very fortunate to have our wonderful Kristen Betts, Director of Online and Blended Learning at Armstrong Atlantic State University as our moderator today. And with that, I would like to now hand the microphone over to her so that Kristen can introduce our panelists and start the discussions today. All yours, Kristen.

KRISTEN BETTS: Thank you so much, Zeren and I would like to thank everybody who is joining us today for this session. As Zeren mentioned, it will be archived. There’s closed captioning, and we do encourage you to share the information for this session as well as the others with any individuals within your institution or other institutions that would benefit from the information that’s being shared from our amazing panelists.

We have four panelists joining us today, and each of them is doing exceptional things within higher education. We have Jonathan Lazar, who’s with Harvard University and Towson University, Alexa Schriempf, who’s with Pennsylvania State University, Valerie Haven, with University of Massachusetts Boston, and Alex Cohen, with Drexel University. I’m going to ask each of them, in just a few minutes, to provide a more detailed introduction so you can learn more about their professional work and more of how they are transforming higher education.

In terms of the agenda, we will do the introductions after I go just through some key highlights of national data. Our panelists will be talking about recommendations and resources for supporting faculty success in online education. And we do want to stress this is for full time, part time, and adjunct faculty. And then we will have a Q&A session. So as we go through, if you do have questions, we encourage you, we will ask that you put them in the Chat area, and we’ll ask the questions during the Q&A session.

I wanted to start off with a quote, and this came out in 2003, but it’s very prominent also here for 2013. It says, “Faculty members are one of the most critical hires that you have to make in your online program. While traditional on-campus students form an impression of your institution based on factors from physical plant to extracurricular activities, the one face that often represents your entire institution to online students is the instructor.” And so this is something that is critical, particularly as we have more and more courses going online.

National Data on Faculty in Higher Education

Some fast facts about faculty. In 2009, there were 1.8 million faculty in the instructional workforce, and you’re going to see that approximately three fourths of that population is part time or adjunct. And when you look at the data from 1975 to 2009, you’re going to see a great shift from full time tenured faculty and even tenure track faculty to where we are today, which is looking at primarily tenure- or non-tenure-track faculty and part-time faculty.

Why is this important? Because we want to make sure that faculty development and orientations are taking place for all of our faculty because student success is going to be contingent upon that. And more importantly, we want to make sure that our faculty are all successful as well.

In terms of the shift in academia, when you pull up the chronicle, you’re going to see more and more discussions about faculty. “Faculty Retention Proves a Major Challenge,” “The Case of the Vanishing Full Time Professor,” “Adjunct Nation,” and “Adjuncts Build in Strength in Numbers.” And so as you see this, again, we need to encourage all of our institutions to provide exceptional training, orientations, and ongoing support to all of the faculty who are teaching our higher education students.

And lastly, as we move into the introductions, throughout this session, you are going to hear our panelists touch on really five critical areas– hiring, orientation, support services, ongoing professional development, and faculty success, because we need to make sure our faculty are successful so we can ensure our students are as successful as well. So on that note, I’m going to just introduce Jonathan in terms of his credentials, and then I’m going to ask Jonathan to provide you with a more detailed background about himself. Jonathan has two degrees from University of Maryland Graduate School in Baltimore. He has his Ph.D. in Information Systems and his MS in Information Systems. He also is a graduate of Loyola University in Maryland, where he has his BBA in Management Information Systems. So Jonathan, I’m going to provide you with the microphone so you can give our audience more information about your background.

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