Faculty Learning Community in Maritime Teaching


This paper shares the issues of planning and implementing the establishment of a faculty learning community for maritime (business) administration and marine transportation faculty. A faculty learning community provides a forum for the faculty to reflect on and discuss improving the teaching portion of their scholarly role. Furthermore, the community allows a sharing of ideas and experiences in a more formal way than is generally experienced in maritime departments and academies. The paper provides an evaluation of the accomplishments and failures of the community after two years of meetings. The focus here is placed on the unique issues experienced in teaching students for a professional life in the maritime industry. Topics discussed by the maritime faculty learning community include the appropriate way to use case method teaching; the “which and when” of using simulations; the benefits and risks of faculty peer review programs particularly as they relate to professionally trained (licensed) faculty; evoking a classroom response by students with emphasis on the adult learning issues unique to undergraduates who already have sea experience; the proper use of assessment in the classroom and the revision of curriculum. Since the implementation of the faculty learning community, we find a change in the attitudes of faculty participating in the community. Further we find an increase in campus respect toward the faculty participating. Faculty have observed an increase of trust in fellow colleagues, an increase in participation in the community by additional faculty and an increase in acceptance of the unique role of professional faculty by the campus. We also observe that the community has provided a forum to discuss better integrating the curriculum goals across classes and sections of the same class.