Prior to coming to IU, Robin Morgan worked as a clinical psychologist in mainly in-patient settings. Her love of teaching and commitment to student learning led her to take a faculty position. Throughout her career, she has sought opportunities to promote the importance of developing effective teaching strategies. Leading the development of the Teaching for Student Success (TSS) series has been a natural way to extend that work and do something more: document and share how more effective teaching leads to increased student success (in other words, how to teach for student success).
Morgan and the team conceived TSS as a high-quality professional development series that is convenient, comprehensive, personalized, and free of charge. They explicitly wanted it to be a series created by faculty for faculty, with several key features she and colleagues value most: First, materials and information explicitly relate to the daily experiences of faculty. Second, TSS provides specific strategies that can be incorporated to document excellence in teaching. Third, the series is based on best practices supported by research. Finally, it suggests specific artifacts that faculty can create for their teaching portfolios, tenure dossiers, or faculty annual reports as evidence of excellence in teaching.
Dual roles as a faculty member and as academic leadership (former FACET director and current ILTE director) have helped Morgan view things both from her own teaching perspective and that of others, informing the development of the series. She has further used TSS as an opportunity to collaborate with faculty across IU, showcasing their expertise. For her, faculty involvement—from reviewing draft modules to offering teaching insights and approaches for inclusion—ensures that each module provides a solid foundation in pedagogy and strategies shown to be effective.
Direct evidence of student learning is Morgan's (and the series') primary indicator of excellence in teaching, and TSS inherently recognizes the struggle to conceptualize and collect evidence that documents excellence. Their solutions: Each module of the series encourages faculty to create materials that can assist in documenting their teaching effectiveness, whether they teach online, in person, or both. The modules also guide the creation of assessments that can be embedded into courses to collect direct evidence of student learning. In both cases, faculty are able to document teaching excellence in ways that no longer rely on more subjective means like class observations or course evaluations.
Morgan has long focused on actively building communities of faculty committed to continuously enhancing their craft. In the TSS series, faculty can join a facilitated cohort during the introductory module, and many campus teaching and learning centers are offering Faculty Learning Communities with the TSS series as the focus. However, she stresses that neither option is required. Several faculty have already worked through the entire series, completing it independently. Ultimately, she sees TSS as more flexible than most professional development opportunities—faculty can skip around, focusing on relevant topics and completing the modules in any order and at any time.