If you are a faculty member at an institution that is a client of ICE, you may have the opportunity to participate in several ways. In each of these ways, you will be helping to provide broader access to high quality online courses for students in the WICHE West and beyond.
As an instructor at a Teaching Institution
Many of the courses in niche subject areas are getting increasingly difficult for institutions to offer because of low enrollments and tightening budgets. This is unfortunate because these are often courses that instructors enjoy teaching the most and they are of high interest to those students who do enroll in them. Sometimes they are essential courses for a student’s major or area of concentration. At other times, they make the difference in a student graduating on time or waiting for another term when the course may be offered.
Rather than deleting these courses or offering them less frequently, ICE consortium institutions are offering excess seats to other ICE consortium institutions through the Exchange. As a faculty member of a Teaching Institution (TI) with a course listed on the Exchange, you have the opportunity to teach a blended student body. This can increase the quality of the teaching and learning experience and make both more diverse and interesting. Since the faculty of the Enrolling Institution (EI) will review your course before selecting to offer seats to their students, it marks your course as one having been approved by multiple faculty review panels—an indication of the quality of the course you teach.
This can lead to the opportunity to develop and teach more courses in your specific area of expertise. Although there would not be enough student demand for this from your single institution, you may find that the demand across several institutions would make this a viable option.
In another situation, some campuses may have more students for some of their general education courses than they can supply or they may not have faculty who can teach some of these courses online. These are other opportunities where a Teaching Institution might make extra seats available in your courses or even ask you to teach another section for Enrolling Institutions with high need.
As a faculty advisor at an Enrolling Institution
Providing students with direction and support through good academic advising can make the critical difference in their success and retention. Too often students struggle alone with decisions about which courses to take or have timeframe or financial limitations that make their choices difficult. If a course they need is not available from your institution when they need it, they may select a course from a site on the Internet that they think meets their need. Unfortunately—especially for first generation students who may least afford to spend more time or money—this course may not be offered by an accredited institution so it will not transfer later. Even if it comes from an accredited institution, it may not transfer if it does not meet the specific requirements of your institution. If it does transfer, it may not articulate to the program in which your student is enrolled. And all too often, this issue makes itself known to the student when they are near graduation, resulting in a delay that is costly to both them and to your institution.
To avoid these problems and to provide better service to students, you have the opportunity through ICE to advise your students about a pre-selected group of courses from other institutions from which to choose. By referring them to courses that have been reviewed by your faculty for quality and curriculum requirements in advance of their registration, you help them stay on track toward their educational goals. You may even have the opportunity to encourage them to explore a new area of concentration which your institution does not currently offer but makes available through ICE.
Since the courses selected by your institution from the Exchange will be listed in your campus catalog, it will be easy for you to become familiar with them and to discuss them with your advisees. Be sure to make them aware that the start and end dates and other requirements may be different from your institution and to review them before registering (see UAA sample). Once they register and pay for the course at your institution, they will be enrolled in the class at the Teaching Institution. When they complete the course, the outcome will be listed in your institution’s student records system and appear on their transcript so that you have the information you need to continue providing good advising service to them.
As faculty involved in an ICE Collaborative Initiative
Perhaps one of the most exciting opportunities for faculty at our consortium institutions is the chance to participate in some of our collaborative initiatives or start new ones. For decades, faculty members have worked together across institutions on research projects. This has not been the case for faculty members on the teaching side of the institution, which has been limited by the location of their classroom. In today’s online classroom, this limit has vanished. If you have colleagues with whom you have studied and worked previously, who you have met through your discipline association, or others with whom you have bonded through a shared or complimentary expertise, you have the opportunity to develop that relationship further by sharing your resources as together you develop and deliver new online courses and programs serving students at multiple institutions.
If you are in a small department especially, you may desire an opportunity to work with other colleagues to expand or share your knowledge and to offer your students more choices. On the other hand, you may be in a large department where resources are limited and your interest in a new area cannot be supported entirely by your single institution. These and many other situations provide the opportunity to join forces with faculty at other ICE institutions in a collaborative initiative.
Through our collaborative initiatives program, we identify student needs that are currently unmet across the region. Then we seek out faculty who want to work together on shared goals addressing these needs. This blended faculty shapes the design for new projects, courses, or programs and WICHE ICE seeks the funding that will allow these goals to be met. These initiatives benefit the faculty members involved, their students, and institutions.
Who to contact
If you are a faculty member who would like to get involved in these exciting opportunities with an impact beyond your institution’s boundaries, contact your consortium representative.