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Faculty Resourcing and the Transformative Power of Utilizing a Network

Published by Acadeum

Course sharing offers institutions a low-risk way to boost student and institutional success. It also enables institutions to access flexible course offerings as a retention strategy and maintain a dynamic, responsive, and nimble catalog to support unique learner needs and academic interests. 

According to a research brief from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, “in the 2022-23 academic year, voluntary turnover for higher ed staff was the highest it has been since CUPA-HR started tracking it in 2017-18.” And, as The Chronicle for Higher Education detailed in September 2023, “faculty retention continues to be a challenge for many higher education institutions.” 

Utilizing the Acadeum network as a response to planned and unexpected faculty departures or to source courses is a viable contingency plan for many institutions. Through collaboration, the network helps institutions to strategically support faculty when they need to take leave or when an institution experiences an unexpected faculty departure. Continue reading to explore how the Acadeum network supports faculty and the institutions where they teach.

Faculty Resourcing Stories from the Acadeum Network

Locating relevant courses from partner institutions showcases the power of cross-institutional collaboration within the Acadeum network. For LaGrange College, the need for physics courses, including calculus-based physics, was crucial for students pursuing pre-engineering pathways. 

Dr. Jon Ernstberger, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and professor of mathematics, said, “One of our colleagues at the last minute took an opportunity, and we needed to provide a corporate finance class, which for us is a 3000-level finance class. We only had three students who needed the class to graduate. We could find alternate times for other students to take it, but these three students needed the class for 2023. Through the Acadeum network and our dedicated Partner Success Manager, we were able to offer those students the same class from Western Texas College.”

William Woods University also experienced the benefit of utilizing the Acadeum network for faculty resourcing. At the start of a term in 2023, a faculty member took emergency leave. Instead of searching to find someone to cover the classes or telling the students they could not take a course, the institution selected four courses from the network. 

All of the students impacted by the faculty departure accessed quality instruction and stayed on track for degree completion. Reflecting on the value of the Acadeum network to help with faculty resourcing, Dr. Aimee Sapp, provost for William Woods, said, “It worked out beautifully and got us out of a really difficult situation.” 

Sourcing language courses when students need them is a shared challenge for many institutions. The chair of the Languages Department at Albright College contacted Academic Advisor and Coach Debbie McIntyre, when Albright’s Latin instructor went out on maternity leave. Sixteen students needed the course in the spring of 2024 to continue on their path to graduation. 

McIntyre turned to the Acadeum network to help the students by sourcing the course from a partner institution. Albright College usually offers the Latin course during the day but through the Acadeum network, McIntyre partnered with Ferrum College to offer the students Latin online. 

As an academic advisor and coach at Albright College, McIntyre has seen changes within the student population and their needs. Reflecting on her role, she said, “I like to help students. I don’t want to tell a student, ‘I’m sorry that course isn’t available, you’re going to have to wait another semester or another year.’” 

In addition to offering the Latin 102 course, Ferrum created a separate section for the 16 students from Albright. This extra step ensured the students would be together with their peers who were likely on the same degree pathway and that the Latin instructor from Ferrum could easily identify this student group and offer additional support if they needed it. 

Debbie Williams-Arthur has taught Latin for 35 years and the last 10 years have been mostly online. Williams-Arthur reflected on her role as a language instructor and said, “I love teaching Latin, and I am so excited to see so many students who are wanting to learn it. It will be an absolute pleasure working with this group and welcoming them to the Ferrum family!” 

Collaboration between Teaching Institutions and Home Institutions in the Acadeum network creates an environment of opportunity for students to complete courses on their pathway to graduation by connecting partner institutions and the resources they offer to help students succeed. 

Faculty Resourcing for Institutional Sustainability and Student Success

The stories from LaGrange College, William Woods University, Albright College, and Ferrum College underscore the transformative potential of cross-institutional collaboration. From filling critical gaps in courses to supporting faculty during life changes or career mobility, the Acadeum network emerges as a vital tool for higher education institutions. 

Faculty resourcing through the Acadeum network is a valuable and timely tool that helps institutions respond more nimbly and ensures students have access to the courses they need when they need them. The experiences shared by educators and administrators demonstrate how, through collaboration, institutions can overcome challenges like faculty resourcing and ensure students stay on their graduation pathways.

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