New Peer Group Application Information
A peer group is an association of 12 or more full-time or part-time personnel associated with teaching and learning. Within the VCCS there are peer, work, and governance groups. The definitions below will clarify which groups are able to apply for peer group status.
The objective of the peer group meeting is to encourage intra/interdisciplinary collaboration, creativity, problem solving, planning, forecasting, learning and networking in the Virginia Community College System. Faculty meet to discuss substantive issues related to discipline updates, curriculum revision, integration of technology and instructional innovations.
A bi-yearly schedule to serve peer groups on a rotating basis will be developed based upon tier status and available resources for the year:
Attendees of regular technology training updates and workgroup and governance group meetings not directly related to teaching and learning, although important, are not intended audiences.
As previously stated, each peer group face-to-face meeting will be based on tier determination and availability of resources. Because professional development is a 3-legged stool supported by the individual, the college, and the System, colleges are encouraged to match System Office support when possible. This is particularly important to partially-funded, face-to-face meetings.
Peer group meetings are organized by a planning committee comprised of individuals familiar with/appointed by those in the field. A peer group planning committee needs to be representative of the discipline as a whole. A peer group may be asked to meet with other groups, but will retain its own programming and can share some joint programming if it wishes. In this case, the program would be akin to a “track” in a larger “mega-group” meeting.
Peer groups have other ways to connect and work throughout the year. These include: 1) a Blackboard site (to be managed by the group), 2) using Elluminate, Breeze, Google Apps, or other collaborative virtual meeting tools, or 3) other ways to be determined.
Peer Group Criteria:
Applicants will apply online to become a peer group within the VCCS. Approvals last for six years, at which point the peer group will reapply. Criteria are as follows:
1. The purpose of the proposed peer group is directly related to discipline content, teaching pedagogy and/or career advancement in the field.
2. The peer group will serve a significant number of VCCS community colleges or will support important existing or emerging academic programs that might not demonstrate high numbers of students, but are important to the VCCS.
3. The peer group will serve a significant number of VCCS full-time or part-time personnel associated with teaching and learning or will support personnel involved in important existing or emerging academic programs that might not demonstrate high numbers, but are important to the VCCS.
4. The peer group clearly states its outcomes.
5. The stated desired outcomes of the peer group’s activities align with the mission and strategic directions of the VCCS as well as the mission of the Office of Professional Development (OPD) Peer Group Program.
6. The desired outcomes are evaluated in a robust manner that looks at the four process levels of professional development evaluation: reaction, learning, behavior, and results. (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, and Worthen (2004) Program evaluation: Alternative approaches and practical guidelines. New York: Longman).
7. The peer group adds value to the system and its constituents.
8. The peer group will organize itself for sustainability and be able to describe those processes.
Peer Group Application Process:
1. Volunteers for the Peer Group Planning Group submit online application - Volunteer Application
2. The Office of Professional Development (OPD) establishes a Blackboard group to help each planning group carry out their work. First applicants will be designated as course builders (along with the Director of Professional Development) and will take over the management of the group. The Office of Professional Development will enroll applicants in the group as they come in through the PD website.
3. The planning group submits a completed online application - New Peer Group Application
4. The application will then be submitted to the Conference Subcommittee of the VCCS Professional Development Committee (PDC), which will review it.
After review and discussion, the Conference Subcommittee will bring its recommendation to the Professional Development Committee, who, as a group, will approve or deny the application. The PDC will also rank the applicants within the two tiers. Resources for peer groups will be allocated based upon the amount available in the OPD budget.
5. Selected peer groups will then be notified by the OPD. Peer group approval meetings will take place twice a year for implementation the next semester (if funding is available) or the next fiscal year.
6. Peer group applicants denied peer group status may revise and resubmit their application one additional time. They will be given the reasons for the initial denial of the application and ranking within the tier.
Peer Group Meeting Period
Approval PeriodFall 2009 - Spring 2015 Allocation is based on the available resources and PDC determination of tier and rank.
Class of Fall 2015
(Fall 2009 - Spring 2015)
Class of Spring 2016
(Spring 2010 - Fall 2015)
Class of Fall 2016
(Fall 2010 - Spring 2016)
Class of Spring 2017
(Spring 2011 - Fall 2016)
Class of Fall 2017
(Fall 2011 - Spring 2017)
Class of Spring 2018
(Spring 2012 - Fall 2017)
The peer group schedule for 2008-2009 is in process and all groups currently working with the OPD will have their meetings as scheduled during the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009. Consult the VCCS Professional Development (PD) Web page for a schedule of those meetings.
All existing peer groups (those funded at any time within the history of the VCCS Professional Development Program and desiring to remain a peer group) and any potential new and emerging peer groups are to submit an application to the Office of Professional Development (OPD) by the deadlines in the chart below. Every effort will be made by the OPD to notify discipline leaders within the VCCS to accomplish this.
Technical assistance will be available from: 1) college Professional Development Committee representatives, 2) queries to the Office of Professional Development (OPD), and 3) technical assistance conference calls offered by the OPD.
All of the information needed to apply to become a peer group is found on this website. Should further assistance be needed, the following venues are offered:
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
Opening Buffet Luncheon with Keynote Speaker
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 1
2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Afternoon Refreshment Break & Hotel Check-In
3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 2
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 3
***Dinner on Own***
7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Buffet Breakfast with Keynote Speaker (if applicable)
8:45 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.
Wrap-up and Planning Meeting
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Concurrent Session No. 4
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Morning Refreshment Break & Hotel Check-Out
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Concurrent Session No. 5
If you are a committee chair, please download the Audio-Visual Equipment Form.
If you are a presenter, please contact your committee chair if you have equipment needs. It is the responsibility of the chair to fill out this document and return it to our office.
If you are a vendor, we welcome you. Please download the Vendor Registration Form and return it to the systems office.
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