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"Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique--good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher" --Parker Palmer

About the Regional Centers

This headnote begins the Inquiry article by Bernadette Black (2.1 [Spring, 1998]: 79-84) announcing the "launch" of the virtual Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence as a component of the VCCS Professional Development Initiative, which in general fosters "peer interaction, cooperative learning, and scholarship" (79) as ways to further an ongoing dialog about teaching and learning in the VCCS.

The Centers are intended to foster "cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary exchanges among community college faculty dedicated to examining the art and practice of teaching through professional interaction and critical reflection."

The whole effort is aimed at increasing the quality of learning by helping "to ensure that faculty teach enthusiastically, with the latest discipline knowledge, instructional practices, and technological advances" (80)

As of May, 2002, the 5 Centers had 
bullethosted 77 events, since the founding of the RCTE in January, 1998, ranging from large-scale events for 100+ faculty, such as Rosalyn King's hosting Howard Gardiner, Stephen Brookfield, and other renowned educators (Northern RCTE) and the Chancellor (Tidewater RCTE), to smaller and more interactive sessions , such as a Janet Laughlin and Juville Dario-Becker's brown-bag lunch series (Central RCTE), a study group of 40 faculty on Stephen Brookfield's Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher (Southwestern RCTE),  and Eric Hibbison's subs and sodas luncheons at campuses in his region to discuss accumulated ideas on retention,  plus focus groups and surveys on adjunct faculty (Midcentral RCTE). 
bulletsponsored other initiatives, including local ones  
bulletOne chair has printed a periodical newsletter in hard copy.
bulletAnother hosted sessions on reading books purchased under a grant and has distributed 105 copies of Stephen Brookfield's book around the VCCS and is leading online discussions of it, such as http://vccslitonline.cc.va.us/mrcte/excellence.htm 
bulletOne emails all of the nearly 400 full-time faculty in the region and any of the nearly 600 adjunct who use the college-provided email system. Emails announce events but also foster reflection with brief quotations about teaching, editorials, and invitations to participate in online forums at the regional website.  
bulletMore than one have used informal sharing sessions at meals or meetings so that faculty can share their ideas on a common problem, such as retention. 
bulletTwo chairs also run a center for teaching excellence for their local campuses.
bulletThe RCTE also sponsors the National Teaching and Learning Forum online newsletter subscription for the nearly 2,000 full-time faculty and the over 3,000 adjunct faculty in the Virginia Community College System. (username = faculty   password = volume8   )
bulletThe Brookfield Project was a 2000-2001 statewide initiative to foster "critically reflective teaching" with online and face-to-face faculty groups studying Stephen Brookfield's Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher as a springboard to trials of various methods of formative feedback during a course.
bulletThe RCTE has most recently maintained contact with the VCCA and surveyed classified staff regarding their professional development, finding that the VCCA and/or the local college (perhaps with leadership or assistance from a local classified organization) provides most of the organized professional development activities for classified staff.

Principles and Activities

Six principles guide the work of the Centers to impact eventually on student learning.  The Centers should help faculty

bulletproduce a co-learner classroom environment
bulletdiscover the art of teaching as a developmental process
bulletcultivate the "reflective practitioner" approach to teaching
bulletbuild on collective ethical wisdom
bulletadvance instructional methodology through experimentation
bulletadvocate regional, cross-disciplinary collegiality

Basically, the Centers, though "virtual" (not housed in a single location) are meant "to provide a forum for dialogue and reflection" on teaching issues.

The activities by which the Centers are meeting this purpose include those listed below.  Hotlinks on this list and the center-by-center links below show some of what the RCTE is doing for these goals.

bulletregional colloquia for VCCS faculty
bulletinstructional leadership
bulletInquiry, the VCCS/VCCA journal focused on teaching and learning
bulletlistservs developed by faculty learners
bulletmentoring programs to enhance teaching effectiveness
bulletclearinghouses for articles, monographs, and resources related to community college teaching and learning (81)

Hopes

The Centers have begun to foster "valuable exchanges about teaching and learning" at many community colleges in the VCCS. We'll know we've accomplished our goals when VCCS administrators, staff, full-time and adjunct faculty, and students all recognize that they are part of a learning community--"a group of people who continually seek to expand their capacity to produce effective results that make a difference."  Part of that community experience will be to break "down classroom/office isolation through collegiality" (83).

Use Internet Explorer to click this link to a 30-slide PowerPoint 2000 report on Two Years of RCTE. (Start at the last slide for a summary.)

Current Year's Events for the MRCTE

About this Midcentral Region Center (map

1998-2001 Chair: Eric Hibbison, JSRCC, also "Chief Chair" (statewide coordinator)  for the 5 Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence (succeeding Susan Coffey, who took over VCCS professional development from Bernadette Black)

Founding Chair: Donald Spell, formerly of SVCC

Express your interests and ideas about professional development events to Eric via ehibbison@jsr.vccs.edu for PVCC, SVCC, RCC, JTCC, and JSRCC.

Current Year's Events for the CRCTE

About the Central Virginia Region Center 

Current Co- Chair: Juville Dario-Becker, CVCC Current Co-Chair: Janet Laughlin, DCC

Founding Chair Susan Coffey, CVCC, (also founding editor of Inquiry, the VCCS journal on teaching), became VCCS Director of Professional Development in 2000.

Express your interests to Juville via dariobeckerj@cv.vccs.edu  or Janet via jlaughlin@dcc.vccs.edu for CVCC, DCC, BRCC, DSLCC, VWCC, and PHCC.

About the Northern Virginia Region Center 

Founding Chair: Rosalyn King, NVCC-Loudoun

This website offers a forum on teaching, including Stephen Brookfield's reflective teaching and notes on Howard Gardner's presentation in Northern Virginia. Click on "Teaching Links" for a webliography of online professional resources, including perspectives on teaching, moral development, exceptional and cultural diversity, teaching strategies, integrating the web into instruction, copyright issues, learning and study strategies, assessment techniques, and selected teaching and learning centers.

Express your ideas and interests about professional development in the Northern RCTE to Rosalyn, especially for Lord Fairfax CC, Germanna CC, and NVCC via nvkinga@nvcc.vccs.edu 

About the Southwest Virginia Region Center  

Chair 2001-present: Melba Taylor, VHCC

2000 Chair: Don Bartholomay,  formerly of SWVCC

Founding Chair: Alfred Hoffman, VHCC, 1998-2000

Congratulations to Melba Taylor (VHCC), who has become the Chair of the Southwestern Regional Center for Teaching Excellence beginning in fall 2001. The  Chair for the Southwestern Center for Teaching  Excellence Center plans, coordinates, implements, and evaluates regional professional development activities for MECC, WCC, SWVCC, VHCC, and NRCC.  Contact Melba at mtaylor@vh.vccs.edu 

Current Year's Events for TRCTE

Archive for the Tidewater Region Center 

Chair 2001-present: Rick Dollieslager, TNCC

Founding Chair: Thomas Long, TNCC

This site links to events from the current year, as well as a few thought-provoking articles, other VCCS sites for professional development, faculty effectiveness and student success, a selection of teaching and learning centers, selected online journals, distance learning, professional development, learning technologies, and adult education.

Congratulations to Rick Dollieslager (TNCC), who became the Chair of the Tidewater Regional Center for Teaching Excellence beginning in fall 2001. The Center Chair for the Tidewater Teaching for Excellence Center plans, coordinates, implements, and evaluates regional professional development activities for TCC, TNCC, PDCCC, and ESCC.  Contact Rick at dollieslagerr@tncc.vccs.edu 

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