Charles Town, WV, March 15, 2017 — American Public University System (APUS) has received an Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Effective Practice Award for “Applying a Group Coaching and Mentoring Framework to Shift an Organization Culture,” the fifth time it has been so honored by OLC in the last eight years.
In 2016, Dean of Faculty and Student Success Dr. Grady Batchelor started a university-wide coaching and mentoring initiative to strengthen the principles and practices of teaching excellence. Core Learning Faculty Director Linda Algozzini, in turn, applied a group coaching and mentoring framework to enhance instructional practices and effectiveness within her department. The initiative had two important goals, according to Dr. Batchelor, who co-authored the OLC submission with colleagues Algozzini, Kim Bessolo, Valencia Gabay and Dr. Shannon Voyles.
“Our first objective was to improve instructional practices and effectiveness and the second, to increase faculty satisfaction by reducing isolation, anxiety, and lack of experiential foundations with course expectations that lead to gaps in daily performance,” said Batchelor. “The framework ultimately produced an organizational change that improved teaching excellence, boosted job satisfaction, decreased faculty isolation, and inspired faculty to work towards a common institutional goal.”
Through the Effective Practice initiative, the OLC community shares techniques, strategies, and practices in online education that have worked effectively in their school or program. Effective practices are peer reviewed and evaluated against OLC’s five pillars of quality in online education: access, learning effectiveness, faculty satisfaction, student satisfaction, and scalability. The winning practices were selected for recognition based on their ability to provide evidence of innovation and replicability.
“The framework has effectively promoted independent, critical thinking in the online classroom, supporting both the professional development of our faculty and the development of students as lifelong learners in today’s ever-changing higher education landscape,” said APUS Provost Dr. Vernon Smith. “Most importantly, student engagement, retention and persistence have all increased, supporting our ongoing commitment to superior learning outcomes.“
APUS was previously recognized with the OLC Effective Practice Award in 2014 for “Bringing the Library to Life: Live Librarian Instruction in a First-Year Online Course;” in 2013 for “APUS Online Learning Contact Hour Calculator: An Adaptive Model for Calculating Contact Hours;” in 2010 for “Semantic Mapping of Learning Assets;” and in 2009 for “Using the Community of Inquiry Framework Survey for Multi-Level Institutional Evaluation and Continuous Quality Improvement.” It also received OLC’s Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education in 2009.