Please enjoy part two of this three-part series from guest blogger Melissa Hortman, NCCE Professional Learning Specialist! Be sure to check out parts one and three.

Preparing for the Unknown

Faculty are stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out. If we go by Steven R. Covey’s Habits of Highly Effective People, which says to seek first to understand then be understood, we should be listening to faculty to learn how to help them. With adjusting instructional models that have been used by some all their careers to new technologies shaping and changing teaching methodologies, faculty have more to worry about outside of the actual teaching of a student than ever before. Faculty have a lot of questions like:

  • Is this the permanent new normal?
  • How will I continue to do this without burning out?
  • What does the future hold for higher education?

There may not be a direct and easy answer to many questions on faculty’s minds right now, but there is hope to prepare for the unknown in the future. NCCE professional learning focuses on three aspects to ensure the faculty voice is heard and seen:

  1. Chunk learning: give faculty the right amount of content to learn while not overloading or overwhelming them
  2. Focus on the “why” and “how”: make learning applicable to take and use immediately within professional workflows and teaching
  3. Provide flexibility in access: meet faculty where they are with live sessions and asynchronous support

Simplicity to Make Complex Topics Stick

Chunking is a best practice for teaching students; we should use this same technique when working with faculty. When content is broken down into smaller pieces, it is much more manageable to understand and digest.

[bctt tweet=”Richard Moore said, Simplicities are enormously complex. There is so much information to cover each time you get with faculty, but nothing will stick unless effort is simplified.”] NCCE thoughtfully designs and delivers professional learning that gives faculty opportunities to learn, reflect, and practice. Filling time with content doesn’t always mean it is effective in its delivery; it is more about breaking down the content so that faculty at every level have an opportunity to learn.

The Essential “Why” to get to the “How”

The 2021 Educause Horizon Report discusses the essential need for ongoing investment in faculty development in higher education due to the continual changes in teaching and technology. As the faculty role and instructional technology become more complicated, professional learning plays an essential role in supporting faculty in the “why” and “how.” NCCE brings in the big picture/”why,” then goes into the details of the “how” so that faculty can walk away from a session seeing an immediate application. This type of professional learning is the bridge that can help to connect the pieces when they seem overwhelming and disjointed.

Flexible Professional Learning for a Flexible Educational Environment

A longitudinal study published in 2021 discussed that students would continue to want to have flexibility in their learning, but also faculty want asynchronous flexibility in their access to professional learning. Flexibility is no longer a luxury, and it is common practice now. Professional learning should reach faculty in different ways and teach faculty in other modalities. NCCE creates professional learning opportunities that break out of the traditional mindset to be dynamic and flexible to reach faculty where they are at. Professional learning models what faculty will take into their teaching, so flexibility in professional learning will teach faculty to be flexible for their students.

Partnering in the Trenches

Over the past year, every higher education institution has been trying to give as much information as possible to faculty. We need to prioritize collecting feedback from faculty as much as we communicate out. How is NCCE listening to understand faculty stress and burnout? NCCE puts the faculty voice first by designing and delivering high-quality professional learning through chunking, bridging the “why” to “how,” and creating flexible opportunities to gather information necessary to each faculty member. NCCE is more than a professional learning company; they are a partner in trenches through change. When stress and burnout hit, NCCE stands beside higher education institutions to ensure their faculty are supported.


Faculty Wellness and Careers – Blog (

Teaching during a pandemic: a longitudinal study | Tony Bates

2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: Teaching and Learning Edition

NCCE delivers professional learning to support the future of higher education


Melissa Hortman
NCCE Professional Learning Specialist

I am passionate about innovation in delivery of education with and through technology. It is important to take risks and embrace both successes and failures to make the education of tomorrow better than today.

I am the Director of Instructional Technology at MUSC, and I specialize in educational technology consulting that includes but is not limited to technology integration and planning, strategic planning for online and blended learning technologies, digital accessibility, and instructional design. I also specialize in team science and the science of team science. I am a TeamSTEPPS Master trainer, which helps me work with teams through forming, storming, norming and performing.

I am highly qualified in school improvement efforts for higher education, specializing in online learning. I have a Master’s in professional counseling and a Bachelor’s in Architecture. I am a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 2020-2021.

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Continue to part three of this series.

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