A Letter from President Hartzler About CNM's New Quality Teaching & Learning Initiative

A working team of faculty will research, review, create, and recommend the principles of quality teaching and learning that will benefit students, faculty, and our larger community as we boldly move into the future as a leading-edge community college.
June 30, 2022

Dear CNM Community,

We have finished another challenging, but successful year. More than 8,100 students earned certificates and degrees over the past year – many continuing to another college or university or entering the workforce in our local economy that urgently needs our skilled graduates. And it took a team effort over the past year to help them reach the life-changing achievement of becoming college graduates – including advisors, financial aid and scholarship staff, library staff, food pantry volunteers, instructional technicians in the classroom, after-hours tutors, and student life staff to help celebrate their milestones. Of course, nobody had a more direct impact on our learners than our faculty – whether in a physical or online classroom, a lab, a one-on-one meeting during office hours, whether in-person or remotely, or other moments of sharing wisdom and knowledge. I couldn’t be prouder of the CNM Team.

As we prepare for another year, I remain committed to making sure faculty have the resources needed to help our students succeed and enter a rapidly changing world. That is why I’ve supported the reorganized instructional support department in Academic Affairs, naming permanent staff to support the Cooperative for Teaching & Learning, and expanding resources to help faculty and students succeed in our evolving learning spaces.

I have also heard the call from the CNM community, including faculty, who seek greater opportunities to participate in the College’s direction and strategies for fulfilling our mission to “Be a leader in education and training.” There are many efforts needing our continued attention and work. However, none is more important than defining student success for all students, including our most challenged, during their time with us and after they transfer to another institution or enter the workforce – both at CNM and CNM Ingenuity.

There are groups working on this. The Deans and Associate Deans are focused on defining student success and how we know our students are successful during their time at CNM and beyond. Our staff in the Enrollment Management & Student Success and the Workforce & Community Success divisions are adding more context to the definition, including their roles in supporting students as they enter CNM, choose a major, progress, access program-related work experience in the community, graduate, and transfer or gain quality employment that supports our community and economy.

Our faculty members do amazing work. They strive to ensure that our students learn, grow, and are prepared to gain quality employment – while navigating complex life situations. They mentor their colleagues and revise courses and programs to meet emerging needs. An important provision common to the CNM/CNM Employees Union (CNMEU) collective bargaining agreements for full-time faculty, part-time faculty, and instructional support staff focuses on student success and everyone’s role to help students achieve. As higher education continues to evolve rapidly, I invite faculty to participate in CNM’s effort to identify the forward-leaning principles of quality teaching and learning, as well as scalable strategies, that will guide us to higher levels of student success in the years to come.

I have asked Christine Goshorn, Executive Director of the new Innovation and Instructional Support Department, and Erica Reed, Academic Affairs Director for the Cooperative for Teaching & Learning, to coordinate this effort. As a Department and Cooperative led by educators with missions to help faculty evolve in service to students, they will help build the foundation and roadmap for this work. They will form a working team of faculty to research, review, create, and recommend the principles of quality teaching and learning that will benefit students, faculty, and our larger community as we boldly move into the future as a leading-edge community college. The recommendation will provide the foundation of a comprehensive faculty development framework in service to student success. The working team will represent faculty and instructors from across the CNM community – full-time and part-time faculty, CNM Ingenuity instructors, members of the CNMEU, faculty from career technical and academic transfer programs, former Presidential Fellows, CNM Distinguished Faculty Award recipients, and others.

The process for sharing and refining this work will be inclusive and college-wide. During the 2022 Fall Term, the team will vet its work with faculty and instructors and with other Divisions and Departments at the College and Ingenuity. The recommended principles and implementation framework will be shared by December 2022. I will work with the team and others – Dr. Sydney Gunthorpe, Vice President of Academic Affairs, the Academic Affairs Team, and the Executive Team – to develop a plan for implementing the principles, framework, and strategies that will support the advancement of quality teaching and learning, and in turn the advancement of student success.

Based on my study, the principles and framework should address the following questions, in addition to others identified by the team: 

  • What are the central challenges in student learning, particularly in our rapidly evolving, technological world?
  • What are the qualities of effective instruction across the College and Ingenuity, as evidenced by students earning their certificate or associate degree and transferring and earning their bachelor’s degree at another institution or entering the workplace?
  • What is the faculty’s role in creating an equitable, post-secondary educational or training opportunity and serving as facilitators of social mobility?
  • How is effective instruction delivered, assessed, and improved upon?
  • What are the techniques, structure, and context that the faculty use to develop learning outcomes and competencies?
  • How do faculty and instructors create and sustain a learning community among themselves?
  • What have we learned over the past five years about what works and doesn’t work to produce better and deeper student learning across the College and Ingenuity?

I realize that this is additional work for Christine, Erica, and our faculty, but we’re not starting from scratch. This effort builds on a trusted and tested body of work undertaken by the Cooperative for Teaching & Learning and faculty who strive daily to enhance their individual journeys as educators through activities such as participating in the CTL’s learning circles, leading Faculty Focus Day sessions or other conference sessions for colleagues, and many other professional development venues. There are many institutions across the country that have undertaken this important work, resulting in a strong support system and commitment to faculty growth and development, ultimately leading to measureable improvements in student success at their colleges, at the university level, and in the workplace.

The CNM community is made up of amazing faculty and staff who are extraordinarily passionate about our vision of “Changing Lives, Building Community.” With our focus on helping our students, community, and faculty and staff thrive in the years ahead, let’s engage in this critical work that will help CNM and CNM Ingenuity evolve for the future while improving how we serve our students and their aspirations for a great life. I’m excited to see what we’ll achieve together in the months ahead.

With much appreciation for our CNM community,

Tracy Hartzler

CNM President