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Role Reversal: When the Teacher Becomes the Student

Maria Altobello (Franklin Pierce University, USA)
Session Information
October 14, 2015 - 11:45am
Faculty and Professional Development & Support
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Northern Hemisphere E2
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Concurrent Session 1

What happens when our faculty become our students? Discover the common themes emerging from three years of faculty development seminars in this role reversal experience.

Extended Abstract


Franklin Pierce University's College of Graduate and Professional Studies had a considerable pool of adjunct faculty teaching hybrid and online courses. While the number of courses offered in hybrid and online forms had grown, professional development opportunities for adjunct faculty had remained stagnant.

Faculty were only required to receive an initial training before teaching their first hybrid or online class. The initial training focused only on the use of the Learning Management System platform.


In 2012, we implemented a recertification process for faculty teaching hybrid and online courses at Franklin pierce. Under this model, faculty are required to renew their certification to teach online every year. This recertification works in a similar fashion to renewal of professional licenses, whereby licensees are required to complete a certain number of continuing education units.

We offer several workshops throughout the year. Faculty are required to participate in at least one of them annually, but may register for as many as they want.

Since its inception in 2012, the faculty recertification model has provided a venue for faculty to move beyond the initial technical issues and discuss current topics in academia. Liberal arts and professional studies, graduate and undergraduate faculty, full time and affiliated faculty have successfully shared their experiences in these series of workshops.

A review of the rich discussions that have occurred during the workshops has revealed a series of common themes that call for further analysis, reflection, and call for action. These themes will be the subject of discussion with session attendees.


After a brief overview of the recertification program, participants will engage in a discussion of the themes identified over the course of three years. A short tour of sample workshops and demos as well as slides and other handouts will be available to participants.


After participating in this information session, participants will be able to:

1) Analyze the results of the successful implementation of the recertification model at Franklin Pierce University.

2) identify the common themes that may be relevant to their institutions and potential calls for action.

3) Extend the results of the implementation of the recertification model at their institution.

Lead Presenter

Maria R. Altobello is the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional (CGPS) Studies at Franklin Pierce University. She received an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology and Distance Education and an M.B.A. from Nova Southeastern University, an A.L.M. in Information Technology from Harvard University, and a B.S. in Business from Universidad Metropolitana (Venezuela).

Dr. Altobello joined the faculty in 2001. In 2008 she took over as Academic Program Director and in 2012 was promoted to Associate Dean of Distance Education. Two years later, she assumed her current post as Dean of CGPS.

Her main areas of expertise include: strategic management, financial management, databases, and project management. Her consulting work spans numerous industries, including: oil, precious metals, procurement, engineering, media, publishing, banking, and education. She has taught undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education students.

Her research interests relate to issues surrounding adult learners, prior level assessment, retention, and quality in distance education.