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Sustained Teaching Enhancement Program Series (STEPS)

The individualized Sustained Teaching Enhancement Program Series (STEPS) is designed to help faculty design or redesign a course of their choosing to enhance student learning, motivation, and performance. STEPS provides a process for faculty members—who have received either a one-semester course release through their department or have obtained department head approval—to focus on professional development in teaching and course design. This is not a workshop/presentation style program. Instead, faculty will work one-on-one with an instructional consultant throughout the two-semester process.

During the first semester, faculty are supported by an instructional consultant as they design/redesign their chosen course. They can expect a minimum of 6-7 consultation bi-weekly meetings during this first semester and are also strongly encouraged to participate in additional professional development opportunities on the TAMU campus or through their discipline’s professional organizations. During the second semester, faculty actually teach the course and still meeting semi-regularly with a consultant.

The focus of the program is the integration of active learning techniques and formative assessment tools to promote increased student engagement for an enhanced learning experience. The program is designed to facilitate the work of faculty members at any level of teaching experience with everything from the design and delivery of new courses to the redesign and refining of methods in existing courses. STEPS is a highly-customizable comprehensive course design/redesign opportunity for faculty that promotes reflection on teaching practice.

There is no formal application, but if you would like to participate in STEPS, we ask that you please be sure to complete the following checklist to help facilitate, guide and inform our first formal program meeting:

Checklist for participation:
  • Work with their department to receive a one-semester course release or obtain department head approval (Please note: Course releases are through faculty members' respective department; not through CTE)
  • Have a course to design or redesign for a future semester
  • Have flexibility to meet with an instructional consultant on a regular basis for at least 6-7 biweekly meetings over the course of the semester
  • Have flexibility to attend professional development opportunities on campus as needed/desired
  • Complete the Survey Questionnaire
  • Send a current syllabus along with Survey Questionnaire
Once we received your completed survey and current syllabus, we will contact you regarding a first official consultation meeting.

Description of STEPS Components:

Goals Survey – At the start of the program, participating faculty members complete a brief survey stating their goals and questions.

Course Guide – The process guide for the program helps faculty establish the context for their course within their program, determine the learning outcomes for the course, and plan a well-aligned course experience.

Course Documents – Includes syllabus, assignments, assessments, samples of student work, etc.
Record of Reflection – Faculty participants will be provided with prompts to assist them with reflecting on the course, capturing important ideas and observations, and planning for future offerings.

Final Report – Based on a template, this summarizes participation activities and outcomes. It is submitted to department head and the Center.
Blog Contribution – A brief post about an aspect of the STEPS process the faculty member wishes to share with colleagues to be posted on the Center site.

Step 1: A faculty member interested in the STEPS program completes a goals survey for program participation and reflects on their key questions.

Step 2: Faculty member participates in a conversation about and completes the course guide establishing the project plan and reflects on the alignment between the plan and goals survey.  

Step 3: Based on the course guide, work begins on syllabus creation including learning outcomes, assignments, assessments, rubrics, etc. Based on the faculty member’s needs and interests, additional resources may be accessed during this process such as CTE workshops, consultations with experts in other academic units (Instructional Technical Services (ITS), Instructional Librarians, Disability Services etc.) Faculty member reflects on this process.

Step 4: Faculty member prepares for implementation of and reflection on new methods. Classroom observation, Early Feedback (collection of student feedback online during 5th week of semester and debriefing information gathered with students), and ongoing formative assessment are built in to the syllabus to monitor and adjust practices as needed during implementation.

Step 5: Results of formative assessment, Early Feedback, end of semester evaluation, and student performance on learning outcomes are examined to determine lessons learned and next steps in planning future offerings of the course. Faculty member completes a report on the project (based on a template) examining the goals, methods and strategies used, assessment date, and reflections of faculty member. This report will be shared with the faculty member’s department head and with the Center. A blog post on the project is also prepared by the faculty member for the CTE website.
Faculty interested in the STEPS program can contact:
Nate Poling, Ph. D.  |  Instructional Consultant
Phone:  979.458.0387
Email: npoling@exchange.tamu.edu