How to recruit and retain faculty for online and blended learning

New case study offers 8 replicable strategies to get faculty buy-in and enthusiasm for online initiatives

faculty-online-universityUniversity initiatives to provide more online and blended learning courses are becoming increasingly crucial for today’s alternative education-minded students. However, without faculty buy-in, these initiatives may never come to fruition. However, one university says it discovered eight replicable strategies to recruit and retain faculty.

With only 14 percent of undergraduates attending universities full-time and on campus, and 90 percent of academic leaders agreeing that it is likely that a majority of all higher-ed students will be taking at least one online course in five years’ time, it’s no surprise that many universities are considering offering online and blended learning courses.

One such university, Armstrong Atlantic State University—a public comprehensive institution that is part of the University System of Georgia and enrolls over 7,000 students, of which 80 percent live off campus—in 2011 created an Office of Online Learning to work collaboratively with administration, deans, faculty, and IT to expand the university’s online and blended learning offerings, with the goal of increasing enrollments for summer 2012.

After a climate assessment, the Office developed several one-hour workshops and a four-week “Boot Camp” for course development for faculty…the only problem was, only five faculty attended.

According to Amy Heaston, chief of staff for the Office of the President, after several meetings with the deans, department chairs, and faculty, the Office of Online Learning found that increased involvement and additional data and feedback from the faculty would be needed to build the online and blended learning infrastructure.

(Next page: Problems of, and resolutions for, faculty buy-in)