About PACE

Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence

Welcome to the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE)!

We are your one-stop-shop for professional development. Our mission is to facilitate quality and innovation in teaching and learning through collaboration, partnership, and professional development. Our office is in Goins 227A on the Hardin Valley Campus and our PACE classroom is Goins 229.
Phone: 865-539-7335 | E-mail: pace@pstcc.edu

PACE is supported by a Title III grant with the goal to increase the capacity of the College to design and implement a comprehensive faculty professional development program that will strengthen student learning and retention through improved academic quality and teaching.

The grant specified the following three institutional goals PACE plans to achieve and what the implementation strategies for reaching them are.

Institutional Goal #1:

The College will increase the capacity to deliver professional development in a focused, comprehensive manner.

This goal will be attained through the establishment of a Center for Teaching Excellence and will address the College’s need for a structured, comprehensive faculty development program. An established Center will provide a solid foundation to the College’s faculty development that will sustain over time.

Implementation Strategies

A Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) at Pellissippi State will serve the College by providing a central location through which all faculty development occurring throughout the College can be coordinated, designed, and delivered. The Center will serve three primary functions.

  1. The first function the Center will serve is to provide support to faculty by designing pedagogical training programs that will improve the quality of instruction and enhance student learning in classroom, hybrid, and online courses. The Center will facilitate training programs that will focus on high-impact teaching practices that will improve student engagement and student retention (Khu, 2008).
  2. The second function the Center will serve is to coordinate and facilitate existing faculty development programs, such as online training and certification, trainings in accessibility, and implementing Universal Design. The Center will ensure these requisite faculty trainings are clearly communicated and will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the training.
  3. The third function the Center will serve is to coordinate and facilitate faculty development being offered by programs outside of academic affairs, including advising, counseling, and student affairs. The Center would help these departments by communicating the opportunities to faculty and coordinating and facilitating the implementation of the training.

The CTE will be staffed with dedicated personnel focused on these three initiatives. The Center Director will be responsible for planning, coordinating, presenting, evaluating, and communicating training and professional development opportunities to the faculty. This individual will work with a Curriculum Specialist, who will be responsible for coordinating, designing, and keeping faculty curricula not only current, but forward-looking.  Both individuals will work closely with departments and faculty throughout the College to assess faculty development needs and design and implement trainings that address those needs. Core teams that will assist in training development, and are essential to the implementation of Title III institutional goals, include a Faculty Advisory Board, and High Impact Practice Faculty Fellows. These teams will work with the CTE staff and operate within the Center to guarantee the development of a strong, sustainable professional development program at Pellissippi State. These groups will be crucial to ensure the achievement of the key initiatives.

Institutional Goal #2:

The College will increase the capacity to manage institutional change by creating professional development opportunities that empower faculty to lead change through academics.

This goal will be attained through the creation of Faculty teams that will research, design, and implement faculty development. PSCC’s limitations in managing change initiatives will be addressed through this goal. The faculty-to-faculty professional development opportunities will create a culture of collegiality and allow faculty to sustain their own professional growth.

Implementation Strategies:

Faculty Advisory Board

A Faculty Advisory Board (FAB) will be established in the first year of the Title III initiative. The FAB will be composed of eight faculty members, one representing each academic department. The members of the team will be recommended by their academic deans and selected by the Center Director. The same eight members will persist throughout the life of the Title III grant; however, should someone leave the Board, the dean from that department would recommend another faculty member for selection to the Board. The primary role of the FAB is to serve in an advisory capacity to the Center Director and Curriculum Specialist. The FAB will help facilitate the role of the CTE in providing support to faculty to design high impact pedagogical training programs that will improve the quality of instruction and enhance student learning. The FAB will be responsible for staying up-to-date on current pedagogical practices and professional development initiatives nationwide. Members of this team will attend national professional development conferences and will share current successful practices in teaching with the College. The FAB will be responsible for communicating this information to the faculty, the Project Director, the Center Director, and the Curriculum Specialist. Additionally, the FAB will assess annual faculty development needs relevant to Pellissippi State and communicate these needs to the Center Director and Curriculum Specialist. The FAB will be the primary conduit to promote awareness of the Center throughout the College.

Specific Task: Establish  & enhance the role of the Faculty Development Advisory Board

Participants: PI, Project Director; Academic Deans; VP Academic Affairs; President; Center Director and FAB (when established)

Methods: Establish Faculty Advisory Board (FAB); Provide training. Assess faculty development need

Tangible Results: FAB is in place, trained, and ready to begin assisting Project Director and CTE staff. Faculty Development Plan is created.


Methods: Attend professional development conferences; Identify annual faculty development focus areas; Promote Center awareness by making presentations throughout the College; Advise Director on implementation of the Title III activity

Tangible Results: FAB’s role is enhanced through additional professional development; Faculty development focus areas are communicated; Awareness of Center is created College-wide. Year 2 / 3 / 4 Title III activities implemented.

Faculty Fellows

Faculty Fellows (FF) programs exist in institutions nationwide. Some programs focus on connecting faculty to students, while other programs focus more on faculty supporting their faculty peers. The FF program at Pellissippi State will provide opportunities for faculty to learn from and support one another. Specifically, a FF program will consist of faculty members who design high-impact pedagogical training opportunities that will improve the quality of instruction and enhance student learning. As part of a comprehensive faculty development program, the CTE will provide support and structure for the FF program at Pellissippi State. The FF will research the needs of PSCC faculty, related-high impact teaching practices, and coordinate with the Center Director and Curriculum Specialist to design and implement faculty development opportunities designed to increase student learning. The FF will conduct trainings, roundtable discussions, provide organizational leadership, and support for faculty to improve student learning and success.

Faculty interested in being a FF at Pellissippi must go through an application process. They will present a teaching idea that will address the needs of PSCC faculty and students. The application will be reviewed by the Center Director and FAB. Faculty Fellows will be selected each year based on select high impact practices. Faculty Fellows will serve two year appointments. The FF program will begin in fall of year one with three FF selected to design and implement high impact pedagogical training opportunities specifically for Service Learning. In year two, three more FF will be selected to design and implement high impact pedagogical training opportunities specifically for Global Learning and Diversity; in year three, three FF will be selected with a focus on Mobile Technology and year four, three FF will be selected with a focus on the First Year Experience. Each cohort of FF serve two year terms, with FF rotating off in their second year as three more FF step into the role to begin their two year appointments. This will ensure in any given year of the grant, six FF will be serving the high impact pedagogical training needs of the faculty allowing for the deliberate growth of the program over the life of the grant.

Furthermore, this will allow it to become slowly ingrained in PSCC faculty culture yielding, over time, a culture of innovative ideas and approaches to teaching and learning that are shared in a structured way across Pellissippi’s faculty. In coordination with the Curriculum Specialist, the FF will develop and implement faculty development opportunities that include, but are not limited to, workshops, roundtable discussions, instructional mentoring, and faculty learning communities. The majority of the professional development opportunities directly related to successful practices in teaching will be derived from the FF program.

Specific Tasks: Implementation of Faculty Fellows program by 9/18, 10/18-9/19, 10/19-9/20, 10/20-9/21

Participants: Faculty Fellows; FAB, Curriculum Specialist

Methods: Attend professional development conferences; Identify faculty development needs related to HIP; Implement HIP trainings.

Tangible Results: HIP specific development is enhanced; HIP pedagogy is developed and implemented.

Specific Tasks: Expand Faculty Fellows Program by 5/18, 5/19-9/19, 5/20-9/20

Participants: FAB; FF; Center Director; Curriculum Specialist

Methods: Conduct exit interviews for outgoing FF; Evaluate applications for incoming Fellows; Develop and implement relevant trainings.

Tangible Results: New Faculty Fellows are selected; applicable trainings related to best HIP are developed to be implemented by FF.

National Professional Development Conferences

Attendance at national professional development conferences allow faculty to expand their professional knowledge base and teaching resources. Professional development conferences keep faculty to up-to-date on the most current innovations in teaching and learning. Professionally trained faculty use their time more effectively and are more apt to experiment with new technologies and pedagogical strategies in their classrooms. In each year of the grant cycle, the CET will provide the opportunity for Faculty Fellows, members of the Faculty Advisory Board, CTE staff, and select faculty to attend national professional development conferences in an effort to keep PSCC current in national educational movements in high impact practices and other pedagogy that affect the College, faculty, and students. These professional development opportunities will be offered each year ensuring the deliberate growth of professional development opportunities that will allow them to become slowly ingrained in PSCC culture. The FAB and Center Director will create awareness of the professional development opportunities across the College. Faculty who are not FF or members of the FAB but are interested in attending a professional development conference must apply to attend and must present evidence of how they will share the information gained at the conference with the College and their colleagues. The FAB and Center Director will select the attendees.

Specific Tasks: Provide opportunities for professional development College-wide in alignment with Center goals and strategic planning. 9/18, 10/18-9/19, 10/19-9/20 , 10/20-9/21

Participants: Center Director; Curriculum Specialist; FAB

Methods: Assess faculty and staff applications to attend professional development conferences.

Tangible Results: Faculty and staff are selected to attend professional development conferences and report information gained to the College community.

Institutional Goal #3:

The College will manage declining state revenues by increasing the capacity to stabilize enrollment through increased retention.

Current fall-to-fall retention at PSCC is 52.7% and student enrollment is 10,244. At the end of the 5-year grant cycle retention will be increased 3% and enrollment will stabilize at approximately 10,600. Stabilized enrollment will help steady College financial resources. This institutional goal will be attained as a result of the concentrated faculty development efforts within the Center and across PSCC.

Implementation Strategies:

Intentional Learning Strategies and High Impact Practices

As noted in the research presented at the beginning of the Quality of Implementation Strategy section (See Table 8, page 23), faculty development, specifically in high impact practices, can lead to increased student engagement and, subsequently, enhanced student learning and retention. Each of the above implementation strategies can yield these outcomes as the College works through the CET to augment academic quality and teaching through enhanced faculty development. Intentional Learning Strategies focus specifically on working with under-resourced students. Year-to-year retention is increased when at-risk students are able to make meaningful connections both on campus and within the classroom. By offering faculty resources for assisting and supporting these at-risk students, the College can achieve its strategic goals of increased student learning and retention.

Intentional Learning Strategies

Community Colleges have historically served a student demographic that is diverse in age, socioeconomic class, and life experience. The academic success of all students is dependent on the demographic-specific, intentional strategies and actions of both the staff and faculty at the College. Pellissippi State’s Title III activities will focus on training, developed by both faculty and staff that offers classroom-based pedagogy for under-resourced students. The Center Director will work with departments outside of academic affairs to coordinate and facilitate faculty development related to intentional learning strategies. Departments, such as Behavioral Intervention and Student Affairs, have the expertise on how to best serve under-resourced students. These departments can help bring awareness to faculty about how to recognize under- resourced students in their classrooms and best work with these student populations in the classroom in order to enhance student learning. These groups of students include veterans, under-represented minorities, low-income, non-traditional, and first generation college students. The Center would help the departments by communicating these training opportunities to faculty, and coordinating and facilitating the implementation of the trainings.

Specific Task: Research best practices in intentional learning strategies. Visit and observe peer institutions’ approach to intentional learning strategies. 9/17

Participants: Faculty; Counselors; Curriculum Specialist; Faculty Fellows

Methods: Visit and observe peer institutions’ approach to intentional learning strategies.

Tangible Results: Intentional learning strategies curriculum developed based on findings.

Specific Task: Deliver intentional learning strategy faculty trainings. 10/17-9/18, 10/18-9/19, 10/19-9/20, 10/20-9/21

Participants: Faculty; Faculty Fellows; Center Director; Student Services

Methods: Deliver training and assess impact on classroom instruction.

Tangible Results: Intentional learning strategies are implemented in the classroom.

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