"Don't be a Lone Eagle:
Getting in Touch with Local & National Initiatives"
Joe Essid, Epiphany Project Site Director, University of Richmond http://www.richmond.edu/~writing
(NOTE: Professor Essid has kindly allowed me to reprint his notes here)

My own work with the Epiphany Project has taught me that strength exists in numbers. When a "critical mass" for teaching with technology does not exist within your department, it is wise to look outside. Deans and other senior administrators may be very sympathetic to initiatives of the sorts listed here. My own experience shows that insular attitudes are changing as higher education itself changes; the same administrator who once told me "I don't care what other schools are doing" now ardently supports initiatives with partner schools. Other regional and national initiatives exist, and joining one has important implications for teachers and others. For example, support staff at our institution is now talking to our Epiphany Project partners about the spread of macro viruses on our campuses.

Below are just some of the various programs that offer support to teachers: 

The Alliance for Computers & Writing:
Web Site: http://english.ttu.edu/acw/ E-mail: YKFAQ@ttacs.ttu.edu

The ACW operates through a number of regional organizations. The national organization provides links to materials provided by individual ACW members. Ideas for good lesson-plans and professional contacts abound. 

CCCC On-Line:
Web Site: http://www.missouri.edu/~cccc/97/ E-mail: cccc@showme.missouri.edu

Each year, those who cannot attend the CCCC in person can join real-time Hypernews forums and obtain important information for their local programs and efforts. 

The Epiphany Project:
Web Site: http://mason.gmu.edu/~epiphany/ E-mail: epiphany@gmu.edu

The 40+ schools of the Epiphany Project maintain a rich set of materials, including the five-semester STEPs guidelines and a "21st Century Field Guide" for teaching with technology. Information about a listserv and upcoming events can also be found at this Web site. 

What are others thinking? At a recent Epiphany Institute, Dickie Selfe surveyed participants, asking them about the challenges and goals for their colleges, universities, and high schools. This document is available on the Web at http://www.richmond.edu/~writing/TWT.html 
Crossroads Project:
Web Site: http://www.georgetown.edu/crossroads/about.html E-mail: epacs@guvax.georgetown.edu

This project focuses on American Studies, and it has a richly developed set of resources for teachers of literature, film, and material culture. Like the other sites listed here, Crossroads sponsors workshops and institutes. 

Teaching and Learning With Technology Roundtable: Web Site: http://www.aahe.org/tltr.htm E-mail: tltrinfo@aahe.org

One of the American Association of Higher Education's Technology Initiatives, TLTR aims "to improve and extend academic programs by building better bridges between academic leaders -- including faculty and others committed to improving teaching and learning -- and campus professionals and vendors who have expertise in information technology and information resources" (from TLTR Web page).

A campus TLT Roundtable often takes the form of a diverse group of individuals--ranging from a senior administrator chairing a Roundtable to faculty, librarians, registrar, and computing staff. The Roundtable is not simply another academic committee. While the chair might have "top-down" decision-making power, the Roundtable serves as a locus for change on the campus. Ideas for change may originate with the Roundtable, from the campus community, or from outside.

The TLTR Web site provides information about membership, publications, and events. It is worth noting that Trent Batson, Director of the Epiphany Project, recently noted that starting or working with a TLTR on campus is a fundamental first step to other change. Given the stature of AAHE and its projects, this is a reasonable assumption.

Questions to ask yourself:

Who on your campus could act as "Guardian Angel" as you venture into the dark forest of interdepartmental and interinstitutional projects?

Does your campus already have a TLT Roundtable? How active is it? Could you get senior administrators who are interested in technology to attend the summer TLTR workshop? Could you send an entire Roundtable team of 3-15 people?

Do colleagues at other local institutions have a Roundtable or less formal group that discusses technology and teaching? Can you join? What argument can you make to get support from chairs or deans so that you can attend on a regular basis?

Does your campus have a program that provides mentors for faculty who teach with technology? Do you want a model like UR's "Technology Fellows" Program, with designated faculty mentors in each academic department? A model that pairs students and faculty? Another model?

What do your campus technology committees do? Is it worth your while to get on one or more of these committees?

Have you included at least one "campus technologist" from your computing center on your teaching with tech. team?

Will your institution pay for you to attend an Epiphany Institute or similar event? Support you when you apply for a travel grant? Who should you convince to accompany you to start a team on your campus? How sustained can the effort be when you return to campus?

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