Thursday, August 8, 2019

Lean on Me: Developing a Virtual Professional Learning Community

Title: Lean on Me: Developing a Virtual Professional Learning Community

Description or Abstract: The research team surveyed Associate (Adjunct) Faculty within the Master of Arts in Education program at Ashford University to identify their perceptions of how they fit within the program, their interests and needs for professional development, and whether or not a virtual (online) professional learning community would be valuable.

Dr. Olson
Your Motivation for Doing the Study: A significant percentage of all courses in the Master of Arts in Education (MAED) Program are delivered by Associate Faculty, and since previous research suggests that adjunct faculty are seeking a closer connection to their full-time peers and institutions, it is appropriate that a study was undertaken to identify if and how virtual professional learning communities could be a possibility.  By attempting to improve the perceived lack of connectedness that Associate Faculty have to the institution, program, and students, the researchers hoped to develop mechanisms to connect Full Time Faculty with Associate Faculty.

Bio: Kelly Olson Stewart, Ed.D., is the Program Chair and Assistant Professor for the MAED program in the College of Education at Ashford University.  She researches support systems for beginning teacher retention and developing associate faculty support practices.  Kelly is also a member of the Faculty Support and Development Committee, focusing on mentoring associate faculty, as well as providing high quality feedback to instructors.  She earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Innovation with a specialization in Curriculum and Policy from Arizona State University, a Master of Education with a specialization in Educational Technology from Arizona State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with an endorsement in K-12 Reading from Indiana University.

Dr. Belcher


Alan Belcher is Professor in the College of Education at Ashford University. He has a BA in Secondary Education, an MA in School Administration, and an MS in Information. He earned a PhD in Professional Studies in Education from Capella University. He taught French at the junior high school level before moving to the college level to teach in computer information systems. He began working in faculty development, curriculum development, and as a university registrar. He later took responsibility for student services for admissions, financial aid, registration, and student accounts. He has served as an assistant vice president and an assistant provost, supporting academic leadership in curriculum, faculty development, policy, enrollment management, and initiative development.