New Faculty Roles in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem (discussion results & resources)

July 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Discussion Results: Old Faculty Roles

Discussion Results: Old Faculty Roles

On July 16 I led an interactive discussion session on “New Faculty Roles in the Emerging Digital Ecosystem” at the AAC&U Institute for Integrative Learning and the Departments. This post contains the slides I used, discussions results, and some brief bibliography.

Session Description

If all information is available online and the best professors are giving their lectures away for free, do we really need so many faculty members?  This questioning provides an important opportunity to redefine the faculty role in a way that advances the goals of liberal education.  Rather than merely being repositories of content knowledge, faculty must help students progress along the path to mastering life-long learning. Terminal degrees indicate not only content expertise, but also the transferable learning skills of a master-learner, including synthesis, analysis, evaluation, and creativity. The key faculty roles, then, are mentoring and modeling learning, collaborating with students as they build learning networks, and helping students learn to self-evaluate as they develop the agency to become life-long learners.  This session will explore alternate models for understanding the faculty role drawn from digital learning models and strategies for promoting that role at the individual, departmental, and institutional level.


Discussion Results

Old Faculty Roles:

  • Lecture/information transmission
  • Grading/assessment
  • Mentorship
  • Facilitating discussion
  • Colleague
  • Shared Governance
  • Curricular design
  • Research
  • Read, write, think
  • Advising
  • Service/Administration

New roles by area:

I asked participants to list on individual sticky notes new faculty roles they had seen in the sessions so far at the institute.  Then they placed those notes on the wall, divided by area (research, teaching, service).  At the request of one participant, we added professional development as a separate area. Note that because this was an institute focused on integrative learning, we didn’t get any new roles assigned to the scholarship area.


  • Coaching
  • Social/educational gatherings; engagement
  • Backward design; process different
  • Instructional technologist
  • Tech support
  • Experimenters
  • E-portfolio directors and coaching
  • Portfolio reviewer
  • Community service learning


  • Admissions rep
  • Customer service rep
  • Career counselor
  • Quasi administrators
  • Engaged with students (residential college)
  • Change agents
  • Career guidance/job placement/networking alumni
  • Development (fund-raising)

Professional Development

  • Co-curricular work (development in)

On the wall (not assigned to any area)

  • Changing the essential question from “what” to “why”

Other (roles participants didn’t assign to teaching, research, service)

  • Coach
  • Assessment
  • Advising
  • Advocacy
  • Educational psychologist
  • Cheerleader and coach
  • Global learning
  • Mandatory reporter (title IX)
  • Helicopter parent defender
  • Good media learning
  • Resource networking


Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J.: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Sorcinelli, et al. (2006). Creating the Future of Faculty Development: Learning From the Past, Understanding the Present. Bolton, Mass: Jossey-Bass.

General Education Maps and Markers (GEMs):

General Education Maps and Markers: Designing Meaningful Pathways to Student Achievement.” Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), 2014.
Frank Levy, and Richard Murnane. Dancing with Robots: Human Skills for Computerized Work. third way, 2013.
The LEAP Challenge: Education for a World of Unscripted Problems. (2015). Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). Retrieved from

Faculty Roles

Learning Design

For example, POGIL: 


Digital Productivity & Pedagogy: Profhacker:

Dian Schaffhauser. (2015). A Simple DIY Approach to Tracking and Improving Student Learning Outcomes. Campus Technology. Retrieved from 


Sharyl Cross. (2014). Global Studies Senior Seminar. Retrieved from

Swimming with Byron


Collaboration Continuum. NITLE Collaboration Toolkit. (National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE). Retrieved from

SUNY Center for Collaborative Online International Learning (SUNY COIL):

The Center for Collaborative Online International Learning, The State University of New York Global Center. (2014). Faculty Guide for Collaborative Online International Learning Course Development (No. Version 1.4). Retrieved from

Amanda Hagood, & Grace Pang (Eds.). (2014). Case Studies on Digital Collaboration and Blended/Hybrid Learning. Academic Commons, Case Studies on Digital Collaboration and Blended/Hybrid Learning. Retrieved from

Amanda Hagood, & Grace Pang. (2015, January 6). “Collaboration: A Primer.” Academic Commons. Retrieved from

Risk-Taking and Failure

McClurken, J. (2011). Teaching and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play, and Creating Public, Online, Digital Collections. In T. Scholz (Ed.), Learning Through Digital Media Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy. The Institute for Distributed Creativity. Retrieved from

Burger, Edward. “Teaching to Fail.” Inside Higher Ed, August 21, 2012.

Brian Croxall, & Quinn Warnick. (2015). Failure. In Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, Katherine D. Harris, & Jentery Sayers (Eds.), Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments (unpublished draft). Retrieved from

Holistic Department

Ed. Hensel, Hunnicut, & Salomon. Redefining the Paradigm: Faculty Models to Support Student Learning. New American Colleges and Universities, 2015.

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