Faculty Studies

In addition to studies of student outcomes, external evaluators have studied effects of participation in ACE professional development by faculty and administrators. At any college implementing ACE, faculty who are going to teach an ACE class participate in a five-day Faculty Experiential Learning Institute (FELI). Other teachers and administrators at the college may also choose to participate for their own professional growth. The curriculum, structure, and delivery of the FELI are similar to the Foundation Course. This is not only so that faculty will empathize with the students or understand the content, but because they need to experience and embody the changes they hope to see in their students. We will review three studies below.


1. Becoming an ACE Teacher (2011)

In this report, Dr. Rose Asera qualitatively describes three aspects—and expectations—of teaching in ACE that are different from typical community college teaching:

      1. Getting to know students well, with explicit attention to affective dimensions of teaching and learning
      2. Using a scripted curriculum for the ACE signature courses
      3. Working collaboratively with faculty colleagues

      Read the full report: Becoming an ACE Teacher by Rose Asera, Ph.D. (2011)

      The Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community (CJTC) at University of California Santa Cruz conducted two studies that examined faculty participation in and effects of Digital Bridge Academy.


      2. Passing the Torch: An Evaluation of the Digital Bridge Academy Replication  (2006)

      Based on observations, questionnaires, individual interviews and focus groups, the study concluded that faculty besides the program director could successfully teach the Foundation Course and that it is relevant for students of many ethnicities, genders and ages. The faculty who were trained to teach the Foundation Course found it to be a transformational experience both professionally and personally and all were interested in participating in an ongoing community of practice.


      3. Feeding the Fire – Professional Development and Digital Bridge Academy Faculty Training (2007)

        1. School should be relevant to students and an effort should be made to relate course material to students’ lives
        2. Personal reflection and self-awareness is valuable
        3. Student learning communities are a powerful tool for helping students learn and stay in school
        4. The classroom should be safe and fun
        5. Authentic communication in which instructors are honest and self-reflective is useful for connecting with students and building their trust
        6. Expectations should be clear

        In this study, CJTC researchers looked at further effects of faculty participation, and followed faculty from the 2006 study to see effects on teaching, including teaching in non-DBA classes. In interviews, teachers reported—and gave examples of–introducing a number of principles to their classrooms:

        Faculty also reported improved interactions with students, colleagues, and in their personal lives.

        Read the full reports:

          1. Passing the Torch: an evaluation of the DBA Replication 2006 (pdf)
          2. Feeding the Fire: Professional Development and the DBA Faculty Training 2007 (pdf)