Cohort-based faculty development is a great choice for faculty who wish to progress through a planned developmental pathway on a clear timeline with a group of their colleagues.
What is a cohort?
At the Center for Teaching Excellence, we use the term "cohort" to denote a specific kind of faculty development opportunity. The word cohort
comes from the Latin (with cognates in Greek and English) meaning court
, and the term has come to refer to a company of persons united for a common purpose. Drawing on this etymology, we see cohort-based faculty development opportunities as involving “a contained program framework and closed membership” (Dawson, 2002:98). Cohorts are not open enrollment or casual (i.e., participants do not join at any time and sample from a variety of content areas as in standalone or multi-session development opportunities) because participants begin the opportunity at the same time, progress through the curriculum together, and complete the requirements as a group (Saltiel & Russo, 2001:1).
Cohort-based learning will be familiar to faculty in disciplines that have implemented this approach in their degree programs, where it is preferred for its potential to build community among students. Similarly, some faculty cohorts form a sense of community; however, their shorter duration (when compared to academic degree programs) make this less likely, and the aims of cohort-based faculty development are different than those of a community-based faculty development. The advantage of cohort-based faculty development is its capacity to leverage collaborative learning and group support and accountability to encourage completion of an established curriculum.
Learn about the Center’s faculty development cohorts below.
Dawson, J. (2002). Cohort Programming and Learning: Improving Educational Experiences for Adult Learners. Iris M. Saltiel and Charline S. Russo. (2001). Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company, 121 pages . Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education
, 16(2), 98–100. Retrieved from https://cjsae-library-dal-ca.srv-proxy2.library.tamu.edu/index.php/cjsae/article/view/1882
Saltiel, I. and Russo, R. (2001). Cohort Programming and Learning: Improving Educational Experiences for Adult Learners
. Malabar, Florida: Krieger Publishing Company.
The Texas A&M University System is partnering with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE; www.ACUE.org
) to offer Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success
. This strategic initiative promotes faculty development for student success. Courses are provided by ACUE and facilitated locally by consultants from the Center for Teaching Excellence.