Linda D Bloomberg


Faculty in the School of Education at Northcentral University, a fully online institution, receive ongoing coaching as part of a faculty development plan to enhance their teaching practice and thereby strengthen student engagement. Promoting engagement among students and faculty is an important part of the University’s long-term success and strategic plan, and faculty are encouraged to strive for teaching excellence by engaging with their students in multiple ways. The coaching approach is built upon a theoretical framework that encompasses adult learning and adult development in order to respond to strengths and learning needs of faculty as adult learners. The values that form the basis of this coaching approach are culture of learning and collaboration, growth academic mindset, and reflective practice.  Coaches work toward developing an organizational culture that supports and guides learning for continuous growth and performance improvement. The goal of coaching is to develop faculty as reflective practitioners who see the value of engaging deeply with learners and who are also invested in their own development as teachers so that their students can be maximally successful. The process is collaborative, and coaches welcome faculty input as to how they can more fully support their teaching practice. This article discusses the faculty coaching model of one online university and how this model serves to provide faculty with development opportunities in an effective and meaningful way.  A qualitative case study was conducted with a sample of 18 adjunct faculty members teaching in the School of Education graduate program. The researcher was both a faculty coach and teaching professor in this program. Structured interviews as a data collection method provided rich data to better understand faculty’s’ experience and insights regarding coaching, and the perceived impact of coaching on their practice. Findings of this study, derived by way of thematic qualitative analysis are presented and discussed. The study’s findings shed light on faculty perceptions and insights regarding the value and benefits of the coaching they received. Findings illustrate how faculty coaching contributes to establishing and maintaining ongoing pathways to enhance practice for purposes of continuous growth and performance improvement regarding online teaching practice. This research has practical implications as we continue to offer increasing numbers of effective online courses and programs and provide support to faculty who work in the online learning environment. The lessons learned from this study may be transferable and applicable to other similar online higher education contexts in their quest to ensure faculty success and strong student support.