With the help of the CFE’s Faculty Learning Community on Strategy and Leadership, Psychiatry Professor John Gilmore organized and strengthened an innovative program of service, research and training
John Gilmore is the Alice and Thad Eure Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He is Vice Chair for Research and Scientific Affairs and Director of the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (CECMH).
The Center provides evidence-based care for patients with serious mental illness in Orange, Wake, and Chatham Counties, and also provides a variety of consultative services throughout the state. In addition, the Center provides training opportunities for students, is a research site for faculty, and offers models of care and innovative ideas for mental health providers and policy makers in North Carolina. CECMH aims to be a national model for comprehensive, community-based behavioral medicine.
John first sought assistance from the CFE to help him design and carry out a process of strategic planning that would aid the CECMH in managing the rapid growth of programs, clinics and sites. With the help of CFE, the staff held a half-day highly interactive workshop that brought together the leadership of the CECMH’s programs for information sharing, reflection, and planning.
John then joined the CFE’s Faculty Learning Community on Strategy and Leadership (FLC), a cohort program of 20 faculty leaders from all parts of Carolina that met monthly during the 2014-15 academic year. FLC participants heard presentations from and dialogued with experts on various aspects of strategic management including innovation, entrepreneurship, engaging stakeholders, strategic analysis, strategy execution, communication, resource development, and measurement.
Using ideas from the FLC, John and his senior staff created a situational analysis, a vision statement, and a plan to engage external stakeholders in order to sustain and manage growth over the next three years. Speaking of his yearlong experience in the FLC John said:
“The FLC was great. It provided basic information about strategic planning that I never had the opportunity to be exposed to in my previous training.
It can be lonely doing strategic planning for the first time and it was great to have a peer group when you are going through this process with your own organization. Every month I took what I learned from the FLC back to the process in the Center and it really informed how our strategic plan formed over this year.
It was very valuable also for CFE Leadership Coordinator David Kiel to come and do a workshop for our group that helped everyone feel included and to feel a part of the process at the beginning. He also gave us guidance when we began to put our strategy documents together. In general he helped shepherd us through the various steps of the process and this was extremely useful for me and my staff.”
Vaughn Upshaw Prioritizes Writing in the Summer Writing Group (SWG) Program
Vaughn Upshaw is a Lecturer at the School of Government. Her scholarship has focused on teaching leadership and governance to public officials. Her Board Builder Series of publications have been widely disseminated and well received by North Carolina local government officials. To expand her scholarship to larger audiences in public administration and leadership, she continually seeks opportunities to work with other faculty and scholars in supportive writing group settings.
When Professor Upshaw joined the CFE/IAH co-sponsored Summer Writing Group program in Summer 2013 (inaugural year), she had some idea of what to expect given her past writing group experiences. That summer, her writing group included faculty from law, psychology, and mathematics. They met weekly, focusing on whether or not each of them met their writing goals for a given week. They even created a tool that all of them could use to qualify their writing productivity using a traffic light as a metaphor for accountability: red represented no words on paper; yellow represented doing some editing and revising of words that were already written; and green represented getting new words down on paper. Her group was extremely productive that summer. Professor Upshaw completed a book for the Board Builder series, but most importantly, she gained a lot of confidence in being able to write regularly as opposed to the typical binge writing she was used to doing before.
Professor Upshaw had such a good experience the first year in the Summer Writing Group program that she joined again in Summer 2014. This time, however, she wanted to do something different. She was put in a faculty writing group where sharing of each other’s writing was preferred. The other faculty members in her group were from health affairs, public policy, library sciences, and English. She was chosen to be group facilitator and they adopted the traffic light tool she and her former group used. They met regularly with one faculty member’s writing being the focus every week. What was great and different about her experience in the program this time, was having to write and be understood by an interdisciplinary group of faculty. More importantly, she was having to write with the purpose of making her work relevant to a broader community of scholars. She was able to complete a manuscript for a well-known publication in the area of public administration, and her group peers had similar writing successes as well.
Professor Upshaw felt that the Summer Writing Group program not only helped with getting her to write, she also stated, “This program really helped me elevate writing as a priority.”
Viji Sathy Flips Her Large Lecture Course and More Students Learn Better
Dr. Viji Sathy, a faculty member in the Psychology Department, has been teaching Statistical Principles of Psychological Research each fall and spring semester for the past five years. She was concerned about the number of students in this class of 180 who struggled to keep up in lecture and quickly fell behind. So in 2013, working with the CFE, she redesigned the course to allow her to interact more with her students.
The biggest change was shifting most of the in-class lectures to a series of 5- to 8-minute recorded online segments for students to view before coming to class. This approach, popularly known as “flipping the classroom,” allowed Dr. Sathy to cut her in-class lecture time by about 75% and devote more class time to active learning methods.
In a typical in-class assignment, Dr. Sathy would assign students to work together on problems and post their answers through a class polling system (Poll Everywhere). She would then lead the class in discussion of the problem and the results. (See video.) “I liked that the format I implemented gave me more opportunities to interact with students one-on-one,” said Sathy. “I could walk around the room when they were working on a problem; it felt like I was more accessible to them.”
CFE worked closely with Dr. Sathy to evaluate the results of these changes, and they have been very encouraging. The percentage of students earning A’s and B’s on the final exam increased significantly in the redesigned course (39.0% vs. 25.7%). Meanwhile, students representing historically underperforming populations also saw higher scores on the final exam. Students reported that the video lecture format let them view materials at their own pace and to review challenging segments multiple times. Students were more likely to come to class prepared.
Despite the amount of work that went into planning and implementing the redesign, Dr. Sathy thinks it was worth the effort. “For me, it is tougher than lecturing,” she says, “but I’m excited by the potential this has to change what I can do in an introductory statistics class.” She plans to explore additional interventions for students who continue to struggle with the course content. For example, she is interested in the use of structured learning groups and new instruments that may help address stereotype threat and other metacognitive barriers to learning.
Dr. Sathy received a grant through CFE’s 100+ program to help support her work on the project. She has been a very active member of one of CFE’s first faculty learning communities on large course redesign. She is currently preparing an article on her findings that she plans to submit for publication.