For a new instructional model to be successful, each of the parties that will be impacted by it must work for its success. Which is to say: it’s never easy!
Maintaining a positive attitude and arming yourself with data from successful trials can help. Complete College America has outlined the early successes of multiple co-requisite implementations. Hopefully, you’ve created a diverse committee and found successful trials from a school similar to yours which can be used when talking with colleagues. Sure, not every school is the same, and success depends on many factors. But if it worked for them, chances are, it can work for you.
Asking for help from colleagues — in particular, faculty outside of the committee — can advance the research and design of your model. Not only will this give them an opportunity to contribute to your efforts, it will allow them to feel that they’ve had their voices heard. Not everyone will have the time or energy to be a first mover, but by and large, your colleagues will be happy to invest time so that they can be involved in the decision-making process.
Of course, faculty aren’t the only members of the campus community who need to be informed and supportive of the new changes. In fact, anyone who is student-facing needs to have a firm understanding of the model, including how it works and its intended goal. The narrative around co-requisites should be positive throughout the entire campus. A pattern of positive conversations can go a long way to making sure the movement takes off. Non-faculty members of the planning committee can help you gain buy-in from their peers across campus. Because you engaged them early in the process, they are now well informed and more likely to speak positively about the new model.
Gaining buy-in from college personnel is a matter of communication (see? #7). As you make headway in the planning and implementation stages, it is vital to speak regularly with your colleagues across campus regarding your progress. Not only will they appreciate being informed, your dialogue will spark even more conversations and questions, perhaps leading to an even greater co-requisite implementation on campus.
Implementing co-requisites isn’t a one-person job. As Tammi Marshall of Cuyamaca College knows, it takes the combined effort of a diverse group that’s working toward a common goal.
“I cannot say there is one most important ally. I think it is important that everyone is involved and believes in the changes. This goes from the department (full- and part-time faculty), administration (everyone from the Dean to the President and Chancellor), IT, Counseling, Admissions, Assessment, as well as faculty in other departments. The program changes cannot be successful without everyone’s involvement.”
Patricia Parker of the Virginia Math Pathways Project believes faculty engagement is one key to success. “When piloting, faculty who believe in the model are more likely to be successful. Then, use that data and faculty outreach to show co-requisites can be successful with your particular students.”