Staff Development Practices

Goal

Staff professional development activities are vital for the academic success of a college and also for teacher satisfaction. Teachers need to enhance and build on their instructional knowledge to meet the complex challenges of the contemporary world.

Context

Handling the increasingly diverse population of present generation of students, integrating the new scientific technological atmosphere / ambience in the class room teaching, meeting higher expectations of academic standards and goals and also rising up to the standards of globalization of education -all these demand staff professional development activities to facilitate a smoother teaching learning process in an institution. And autonomy aids in not only creating opportunities for such growth in the staff but also gives that boost which triggers an effective teacher pupil understanding.

The Practice and its implementation in Jyoti Nivas College

A focus on the following content areas in professional development shows a significant improvement in the teaching and creating an active and coherent intellectual environment in which there is a free exchange of ideas. Autonomy, in a way, aids to remove the experiencing of the constraints under the affiliating system.

i) Recruitment

- Qualified and experienced faculty is recruited based on interviews, demonstration lectures, and experience of the candidates. The college has freedom & resource to appoint & pay temporary teaching staff.

- The institution has an open & participation mechanism for evaluation of teaching, research, & work satisfaction of the faculty.

- JNC celebrates, congratulates & felicitates all the silver jubilarians both the teaching & non-teaching staff.

- Many experienced retired staff are reemployed to assist in the governance of the autonomy.

- College follows the self appraisal method which is done once in six months to evaluate the performance of the faculty in teaching, research & extension programs. Here each individual member fills & submits the self appraisal form to the principal. The principal monitors the various activities of the college based on the feedback & helps the teachers to identify their strengths & weaknesses, there by assisting the teachers to overcome their weaknesses.

- The college evaluates the performance of the faculty in teaching, research & extension through the IQAC where in, the appraisal of the teaching staff is done by the students annually. IQAC suggests the format & the modality of evaluation.

- The format comprises of the following evaluative criteria.

- Regularity in conducting classes

- Punctuality

- Presentation - Voice, Clarity, Language methodology & interaction. The assessment sheets further are analyzed & evaluated by the Principal. The teachers are encouraged & given a thorough feedback to improve their skills & techniques in teaching research & extension.

ii) Curriculum reforms (Curriculum planning and the selection of relevant contents)

- Under autonomy there is freedom to enrich the syllabi with components relevant to women and the contemporary needs. With autonomy granted in 2005, curriculum development began with each department setting its own objectives and planning of courses.

- Committees were set up to frame administrative structures, standards, curriculum and evaluation schemes.

- In the wake of autonomy curriculum development, continuous assessment and examinations, record keeping and publication of results - all these implies a radical change in the teachers outlook, attitudes, skills in teaching, testing and evaluation.

- Under autonomy teaching, testing and evaluation becomes the tasks of the college, making the teachers the primary agents of participating system. The staffs in JNC are independent to undertake more administrative responsibilities in the department and the college.

- A series of staff development programmes to prepare and train them helps them to reveal their frustrations and constraints resulting from the irrelevant syllabi under the affiliated system.

- All issues concerned with curriculum development are considered by the concerned Board of studies in the subject and the academic curriculum of the college. It is obvious that these issues get openly and fully discussed with full faculty participation for a needed updating and modernization in the framing of syllabus. This encourages the innovative abilities of the staff to develop and design new concepts and contents setting in motion a continuous process of updating the curricular subject matter rather than merely attempting to ensure unitization and standardization.

iii) Methods of teaching, a new importance in education

The teachers enjoy freedom to employ several diverse methods of teaching. Non-traditional methods of teaching are tested and employed. Besides lectures other methods like assignments, group discussions, seminars, library works, project works, field works etc., are being used. The faculty has the freedom to experiment on some of the new/novel methods of teaching. This enables the teachers to aim more at making the students know the subject thoroughly than preparing the students for the exams; to try to stimulate the students to think for themselves. The management of JNC constantly encourages the use of modern teaching aids by providing the necessary infrastructure as well. Novel Class room teaching and experimentation strategies is identified as a strong professional development offering and as an 'orientation toward innovation' providing active learning opportunities for teachers. Professional development is most successful when it exposes teachers to content that helps them deepen and contextualize their subject knowledge and prepares them to respond to individual student needs.

iv) Faculty Orientation Programs

The College organizes annual orientation programs, seminars, meetings with external resource persons, workshops for faculty to introduce new ideas, integrated approach to the studies, evaluation procedures, institutional curriculum planning.

At JNC some of the departmental activities holding interclass & inter collegiate fests invite external experts.

They are:

Arbitrium (Commerce/Management)
Esoterique 09 - (Science based event) and Synergy - 10, 11
Manrita (Social Sciences)
Prayatna (Paper Recycling Unit)
Manasi (Psychology )

- These activities enhance the skills in the staff instilling tremendous confidence to handle their subjects.

- JNC conducts Faculty Development Projects such as Stress Management, Total Quality Management, First -Aid Classes, etc.

- Faculty members have been engaged as consultants by institutions like Karnataka State Open University, for guest lectures & writing of study material, Edurite (production of educational material through DCS & VCD's), training of personnel both from Public & Private sectors, training of language trainers & technicians in BPOS & call-centers, resource persons for management programs of prominent institutions such as Xavier Institution of Management, Entrepreneurship, Army School of Hotel Management, to name a few.

- Library online facility for staff to have extensive information for their projects, research & development.

Updating the Academic Qualification

The college has always encouraged the faculty to improve their academic qualification. We now have 107 teaching staff for UG & PG courses. 22 staff completed Ph.D., 8 more have registered for Ph.D., 36 staffs have M.Phil to their credit. They have been further motivated to increase their professional competence by participating in paper presentations, seminars, workshops, conferences and training courses, both at state, national, international levels. These are organized for each department too exposing the staff to new ideas and techniques as well as to renew their motivation, besides giving them the support, encouragement and facilities needed for the pursuit and achievement of excellence.

v) Flexible & effective governance

There is decentralization of the responsibilities for the smooth functioning of the college activities. Committees consisting of the staff members are constituted. Following are the committees.

- Time table committee
- Admission Committee
- Grievance Cell
- Examination committee
- Placement cell
- Co-Curricular committee
- Magazine committee
- Discipline committee
- Student welfare committee
- Mentor committee
- Internal Quality Assurance Cell(IQAC)
- Publicity team
- Prize committee
- Documentation committee
- Value education planning committee

The college conducts regular staff council meetings to discuss various issues. Under Autonomy BOS & BOE meetings are conducted inviting experts to form the syllabus & finalized examination & evaluation pattern. Academic council meeting is organized to discuss & decide on the various aspects of college functioning under Autonomy.

Decision making & decentralization of responsibilities starts with the IQAC (a representative committee of management, senior members of teaching staff administrative staff & library staff & library staff to ensure creation sustenance & enrichment of quality). The decisions of the IQAC are transmitted to the department heads who take them to the respective department heads who take them to the respective departments. Staff council includes all the members of the teaching staff who meet once a month.

Every department has a BOS which is comprised of subject expert's university representatives & industry experts to enable the formulation of relevant syllabi in every subject. The committee meets regularly.

vi) Research

The college has an expanded research base at the undergraduate level. Various research projects are undertaken by the different departments some existing research projects include:

- Antibacterial activity of medicinal plants - colens sps. and vinca rosea.
- Comparative effect of extracts of Annona squamosa and Punica granatum on microorganisms causing sore throat and skin lesions.
- Production of express honey by Apis cerana and its antimicrobial and antidiabetic properties.
- Prevention of lead poisoning.
- Bonsai and Vermicomposting and Beekeeping.
- Soap making.
- The paper recycling project, 'Prayatna'.

Many faculty members are actively involved in working in their M.Phil and Ph.D theses.

vii) International Participation

International Conference

A 3day conference organized by JNC in August 2008 attracting more than 750 academicians, scholars, and experts in the areas of environment sustainability, social entrepreneurship and film studies, threw a richer experience to the faculty & students through their organizing and participation.

Collaborative research

These programs enhance their research and publication endeavours. These also assist in keeping abreast with best practices in teaching and learning in higher integrated learning.

STALGS

A research project initiated by the Deakin University of Melbourne, Australia, deals with the "internationalization of curriculum". 2 faculty members from Jyoti Nivas College are taking part in this 7 months collaborative project giving them an opportunity to visit and study the culture of Australia.

An Intensive Study Tour Course in Entrepreneurship, Commerce and motion picture technology and Semester Courses have opened new avenues of exposures for the student and staff exchange programs abroad. These support new challenges such as the implementation of new policies, strategies, espoused culture, values and leadership.

Jyoti Research Academy

Five volumes (10issues) of this journal, Academic studies: National Journal of Jyoti Research (ASNJJRA) are released by Jyoti Nivas College, giving an opportunity to the faculty for interdisciplinary, intellectual search into the domains of Science, Arts, Commerce and Management. This is an integrated model for generic staff development used at Jyoti Nivas College. Staff development interventions will be used to facilitate the implementation of the interactions that are aimed to develop both the individual and organizational levels. Staff development supports the strategy and mission of the institution to create interventions that develop the skills for staff to execute their duties. It furthers the development of best practices in the college and thus plays an integral role in career management.

Technological Resources

Departments have their own staff rooms equipped the comfortable furniture, intercom, computers & storage space. The Governing council and college management are continuously at pains to provide the kind of infrastructure & working environment that will benefit both staff & students & upgrade performance levels, through finely tuned resource mobilization & development strategies. The state of the art infrastructure is evidence of the optimum utilization of finances. The college can boast of a range of state of art technology including free internet facilities in the Library for staff, Audio Visual aids such as OHP, LCD, VCD's laptops, computers, photocopying machines tape recording, projectors with subsidised rates. Computer classes for staff have gone a long way in ensuring 100% basic computer literacy, thus making tasks such as records of attendance, marks, exam work etc., manageable, efficient & fuss free.

Loans & leave benefits for the staff :

JNC has been providing loans & leave benefit for educational, medical purposes or any other emergencies. Delays in disbursement of staff salaries by the Government are off-set by advances given to those staff that is in need of it. Substitutes are appointed for a short time absence of the teachers on educational & medical causes.

Committees, reports & feedback

Feedback has been regularly communicated to both the university & Department of Collegiate Education with positive outcome. A number of our teaching staff are members & chairperson of Board of Studies, Board of exam, Feed back committees of B'lore university & play an integral role in curriculum designing & testing patterns within the presented framework of the uni-curriculate.

Constraints & Remedies

An autonomous college has to strive toward overall planned development and it is very essential that cooperation & coordination of teachers to bring about qualitative improvement is very important. This calls for updating the qualification of teachers, orientation of teachers, redesigning of the curriculum, preparation of letter learning material, workshops & seminars, examination reforms, continuous internal assessment, better facilities & avenues for teachers & students.

The curricular changes bring a great stress on the teachers. Besides, improving their qualification to further their knowledge becomes a mandatory task. This definitely calls for a new work ethos. The teachers have to constantly recharge & reestablish their credibility. The major problem is dealing with internal assessments. The students show a fatigue & boredom towards novel self study schemes of internal assessments. While non-availability of good learning material, teaching aids & heavy work create a lack of enthusiasm among students, the teachers are burdened with completion of the syllabi & efficient handling of new learning material. There may be a pressure on the side of the management too, to stick to deadlines & keep concerned about the aims of academic growth, values, involvement etc. These become sensitive issues. The management has to constantly review the schemes & bring fresh confidence in the teachers to direct the institutional reforms to be driven to any academic advantage. The management is under constant tension to give the teachers their place of importance with suitable support & bring them centre stage. The problems double up with fresh recruitment of inexperienced teachers who have their own deficiencies to tackle the new expectations under autonomy.

But for any educational reform, the teachers need to get self-motivated & sensitized for the new challenges. This calls for greater flexibility & attitudinal changes from the part of the faculty who should learn fully welcome the thought that innovations in methodology & curriculum shall revitalize classroom procedures & are the need of the hour.

In spite of severe constraints by any autonomous college, JNC has gone ahead with curricular reforms, updating the sources, knowledge & skills. The management of JNC constantly shows & takes a positive attitude & a renewed sense of responsibility in educational planning & implementation. This gives the required boost & the faculty to be educated about the merits of the autonomy. JNC is able to draw the extra inputs from the faculty for the success of autonomy on moral, social & professional grounds alone.