We live in a constantly changing world and what we know and what we believe changes quite frequently.
Effective educators, whether teaching kindergarten or college students, provide up-to-date research-based information to their students and use up-to-date research-based techniques to instruct their students.
“Research-based” simply means that the information or technique has been studied in a systematic manner and in an environment controlled as much as possible, so that the information or technique is considered more reliable or more effective.
When we think of research, we often think of the large research universities, such as UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State. But more and more smaller institutions are conducting research, though not on the scale of the larger research institutions. Conducting research may not be as big of a part of a community college’s mission, but it is critical that faculty at any institution stay abreast of current research. Community college faculty quite frequently attend conferences to stay abreast of current research and current best practices and it is not unusual for such faculty to present at such conferences.
Faculty from Robeson Community College’s Nursing department recently presented at the North Carolina Associate Degree Nursing Conference, which is held annually.
The most recent conference included a primary presenter and four breakout sessions. Dr. Jean Giddens, dean and professor at the School of Nursing at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, was the primary presenter, but nursing faculty from Robeson Community College presented during two of the four sessions.
In one session Eva Meekins and Kelly Moran gave a presentation entitled “Incorporating Interprofessional Teamwork and Communication into a Concept-based Curriculum to Promote Transition to Practice.” Their presentation centered on RCC’s Nursing Department’s collaborations with other health science departments at the college and with Campbell University’s medical school. The presentation was well received and has sparked conversations among associate degree nursing programs across the state. As a result, Meekins and Moran have been invited to participate as podium speakers at the Southeastern Nursing Staff Education Symposium in Fayetteville in October.
In another session at the conference, Julee Cook gave a presentation on “flipping” the classroom — a concept that involves reversing the traditional method whereby students are given instruction in the classroom and practical exercises for homework. In the “flipped” classroom, students receive instruction outside the classroom, often by video, and then use class time to do practical exercises and problem solving. In this scenario the student is a more active participant in the classroom and the teacher is available to assist when a student struggles with an exercise or problem.
For those in the field of education, education never ends, but that is the rule rather than the exception for many occupations these days. Ask a plumber how many homes are plumbed with copper pipe now compared with 30 years ago. PVC pipe replaced copper for the most part and is now being replaced by PEX. Ask a photographer how much film he or she uses now compared with 20 years ago. Digital cameras pretty much dominate the industry. Those who do not keep up, soon find themselves out of business.
The field of education is no different. In fact keeping up with the latest research may be more critical in the field of education because it is educators who must initially train those in other fields. Faculty at Robeson Community College lead by example when they tell their students that education is a lifelong venture.
Dennis Watts is the public information officer for Robeson Community College.