FYLI course certification
FYLI projects are not structured in terms of traditional “request for proposal” format, but rather, draw directly from community organizing strategies to recruit and develop projects. Within FYLI, curriculum is treated as a creative space in which faculty have the power to shape outcomes and choose approaches appropriate to their disciplines. The process also draws explicitly on the framework of “decoding the disciplines” developed by pedagogy expert Joan Middendorf, particularly emphasizing deep collaboration among faculty involved in the course.
Rather than drawing up redesign plans in isolation and sending them in for ultimate approval or rejection, faculty engage in a series of discussions with the FYLI directors before creating written redesign plans. Through these discussions, additional insights and ideas are revealed, deepening and refining the ultimate plan that is submitted. Furthermore, because of the preceding discussions, written documentation becomes less formal and less time-consuming to prepare and to review, compared to similar types of initiatives.
The “FYLI certification” process works as follows: Course coordinators and (optionally) any other people involved in the course self-identify and agree to participate in FYLI development by emailing one of the FYLI co-chairs a brief statement of intent to proceed. The chair and coordinators receive a document outlining expectations, peer TA procedures, stipending and so forth for review and approval.
To shape the process of revamping the course, FYLI facilitators provide coordinators with a set of detailed development questions aimed at uncovering how the course addresses different facets of the three areas (socializing, design, and alignment), both in its present form and in its future, post-certification form. At a series of development meetings (typically 3-5), course coordinators and FYLI facilitators discuss their responses and identify any areas of difficulty or needed resources. Concurrently, course coordinators engage in collaborative discussion with their colleagues about their common pedagogies and practices. We fundamentally believe that these collaborative discussions empower faculty to take hold of curriculum as a creative space.
Following these developmental discussions, coordinators enter their final draft of responses to FYLI questions in an online form. They also provide a “syllabus of practice,” a document that outlines and explains the design and pedagogy of the course. FYLI facilitators review these materials and either request revisions or certify the course.