The Delphi Award for Faculty Models That Support Student Success

April 5, 2018

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By Adrianna Kezar and Daniel Scott

The Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success has announced the inaugural Delphi Award, which is designed to recognize campuses that have made changes to their policies and practices for college instruction, particularly for the non-tenure-track faculty.

The purposes of the Delphi Award are (1) to encourage campuses to rethink faculty models, practices, programs, and policies, and (2) to help overcome the barriers to scaling innovative faculty supports that aid them in promoting student success.

Each winning group, program, department, or institution will receive a cash award of $15,000, which will be given out at the 2019 Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Meeting. One 2-year and one 4-year institution will be chosen each year for the award. The submission deadline is June 1, 2018.

Delphi Award Selection Criteria

Focusing on non-tenure-track faculty is a central component of the Delphi Award. Recognizing that there are a multitude of valuable ways to support non-tenure-track faculty, the Delphi Award criteria highlight many different forms of support:

  • Policies and practices that support non-tenure-track faculty. For example, multi-year contract policies that reduce the uncertainty contingent faculty face every semester as they wait to learn what courses they will be teaching.
  • Professional development opportunities specifically for non-tenure-track faculty. These opportunities might include orientations, communities of practice, faculty learning communities, or institution-supported learning modules designed to provide information relevant to non-tenure-track faculty on a schedule that is accessible to them.
  • Inclusion of non-tenure-track faculty stakeholders in the process of developing the policies. Many departments, programs, institutions, or groups that have successfully made changes to support non-tenure-track faculty have done so with the explicit inclusion of their perspectives, or are groups that themselves comprise, at least in part, non-tenure-track faculty. Individuals who have participated in an initiative that has resulted in changes to support for non-tenure-track faculty are particularly well-positioned to apply for the award or to encourage others involved in the process to apply.

Despite the spread of practices negatively impacting faculty that interfere with achieving desired educational outcomes, many institutions recognize the centrality of quality instruction to higher education’s mission and have made positive changes to support faculty. Some examples of institutional change efforts and practices are outlined on the Delphi Project website.

Ultimately, with the Delphi Award, we seek to reward efforts that support non-tenure-track faculty in providing quality instruction to nurture student success. The future of higher education relies on the continued creation of challenging and supportive environments for student learning, and empowered and supported faculty play a central role in this endeavor.

The Delphi Award is a part of the Delphi Project on the Changing Faculty and Student Success, a project of the Pullias Center for Higher Education in partnership with the AAC&U. The Delphi Award is made possible by the generous support of the Teagle Foundation. Follow the Delphi Project on Twitter at @USCPullias and #DelphiAward.

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