Friday, June 17, 2016

DFS Week 5 Reaction

This week, I completed approximately 6.5 hours of work.

On Monday, I met with Jason to review the interviews from last week and set up the rest of the interviews. One thing that was interesting is that Jason and I discussed mentoring programs. In the Arizona Public Health Association (AzPHA), I have run the Mentoring Program Subcommittee and Jason participates in this. We are attempting to have a mentoring program for the members of the AzPHA. Its aim it to match experienced public health professionals with students and new public health professionals in a one-to-one relationship. It is intended to facilitate the mentoring process among public health professionals, recent graduates, and current students in Arizona for one year. The goals are to provide opportunities for mentors to enrich their contributions to public health and further develop as leaders; to enhance the professional development of the public health mentee; and
to strengthen the public health professional workforce network in Arizona. In theory, these mentoring relationships are intended to help students make the transition from an academic to professional environment, and to offer an opportunity for professional development, networking, and an exchange of ideas between experienced professionals and the next generation of public health leaders.

So, Jason and I have been trying to get a pilot program going for this summer. We have three mentees who we are working on matching with mentors. I almost feel like this is a trial run for my innovation for my action research. Understanding the moving parts and training needs has been a rough process, but one we are working through. We just sent out a survey to our membership to gauge their interest in such a program and to see how much structure they would prefer to see. In less than 24 hours, we received 46 responses. I see doing something similar for my innovation to get a feel for what people would want and how to best create excitement (and buy in!).

Bringing this all back to leadership, one of the things Jason and I talked about was how to get people to buy in into this program. How do you create value for a program that does not have a proven history in a setting? He suggested to bring to my leadership at ASU the different ways mentoring has helped in other schools and even within my department. As lecturers and professors, we are matched with a mentor/mentee. This is a recent policy adoption and so I am curious to see what types of data they have been collecting in order to evaluate and assess. He said that with bringing in a policy and program that is already enacted, using their own language to justify my program, it would be easier to get it pushed through and approved.

This week, we also had a couple more interviews. The first defined success as students having higher performance scores. An obstacle to her programs was having enough funding to do what needed to be done, to carry out their programs. Once program is 21st Century. It is funded by the federal government and they have to turn away about 85% of the applicants. Many of these applicants are still qualified for the moneys and need the program; however, there is not enough to go around for everyone. Prioritizing who gets what funding is decided by several entities within the program, including a 43-person advisory board. Consensus must be a bear! Funding is one of the reasons why I want to keep my intervention small and simple. I know that funds are always a stretch coming from the college, especially in the last one to two years. The likelihood of getting funds for an action research project is rare. I am hoping to apply for a HRSA grant that may help to fund the project once I have pilot data collected. Then again, this is a grant and as with all grants, there is a time limit applied to it and it is rarely secure. Potential long-term funding sources would need to be identified if this intervention is successful.

The second interview which I just completed was with the Deputy Superintendent of Schools. It was fascinating! His focus is on highly effective teachers and leaders. They focus on what makes teachers most effective, which is not only on content knowledge, but also on understanding human cognition (the how to teach, get messages across). He is learning is a science, but teaching is an art. He talked about success as being effective across the board. Meaning students all have individual challenges and obstacles (socioeconomic status and instability are huge ones). Highly effective teachers should be ones that are able to transcend all those challenges and obstacles to reach the student.

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