Faculty Interactions With Students
Purdue Global faculty members, both full and part time, engage and interact with our student population on a consistent basis, providing not only targeted and personalized feedback on their classroom performance but also encouraging support as many students become familiar with the world of higher education. New faculty members are first introduced to this Purdue Global cultural value in our New Faculty Orientation (NFO) training course, where faculty expectations are based upon Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practices in Undergraduate Education with orientation materials stressing active teaching, active learning, interactivity, student engagement, and student interaction (1987, p. 1).
Consistent student interaction is further emphasized in the Purdue University Global Faculty Teaching Best Practices Guide, which stresses the importance of setting a positive tone for students starting in unit 1 by posting a warm, friendly introduction to students (including image, video, and audio files). Faculty respond to every student’s introduction posted in unit 1 to establish rapport and create the welcoming classroom atmosphere that starts a student’s term with the expectation of success. Faculty are encouraged to welcome students by name as they enter the weekly live seminar sessions and include social support activities at the beginning of the seminars. These social interactions with students further strengthen the bonds of trust so that intellectual and robust discussions will follow, furthering the students’ understanding of the ideas presented. This interaction is additionally underscored by consistent announcements posted to the classroom, as well as email outreach and live office hours, creating a recursive communication flow between faculty members and students. Finally, all Purdue Global faculty members are monitored by their academic leadership teams on a regular basis to ensure this high standard of student outreach and interaction is not only initialized but maintained.
To support faculty members as they connect with students and meet them “where they are” both scholastically and participation wise, the Purdue Global Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) provides resources to inform and demonstrate outreach techniques and to further energize faculty for the classroom. The Best Practices Guide specifies techniques any faculty member can implement within the classroom. Additionally, all faculty must review and acknowledge the Purdue Global Faculty Handbook, which includes the following regarding specific faculty responsibilities.
- Providing a learning environment that supports student success
- Maintaining program and course outcomes along with course content at a level to ensure appropriate workplace skill levels for graduates
- Reporting concerns regarding student academic progress to the appropriate person
- Referring students with questions regarding financial aid, academics, attendance, and personal issues or concerns to the appropriate departments
- Actively assisting the University in retention and/or outreach efforts, which include directly contacting students who are not engaged in the course or absent per department or campus guidelines
- Maintaining open communication with students
- Providing students with appropriate guidance regarding academic excellence and attendance
Through the introduction of the cultural expectation of interactive student–faculty classroom experiences during NFO, faculty members first become acquainted with how to involve students on a daily basis in the learning process, regardless of discipline. This cultural expectation is a cornerstone throughout faculty members’ careers as they expand their teaching skill set to adapt to various situations, utilizing techniques learned through live events, workshops, from the Best Practices Guide and Faculty Handbook, and as underscored by their department chairs and deans.
By establishing this core expectation of faculty performance and keeping this expectation as a daily focus, we, as a University, are confident that we create an inviting, professional learning atmosphere that honors all students and encourages all to strive to reach their full potential, both academically and professionally, in the fulfillment of our University Mission.