And Gladly Support: Behind the Scenes of the FPP Program

The name Maria D’Addiego-Kettle is most likely familiar to all 142 Macquarie academics who have participated in the Learning and Teaching Centre’s Faculty Partnership Program, and many others besides. Maria told us a bit about her role supporting the program behind the scenes, and why she thinks it has become such a successful embodiment of the University’s motto, And Gladly Teche.

What is an FPP project all about?

“FPP stands for Faculty Partnership Program, and it is partnership that’s perhaps the strongest element within these projects. Academics seeking support are paired up with expertise from the Learning and Teaching Centre to look into new teaching approaches, bring more innovation into their content delivery, learn new technologies or simply redesign or redevelop their units. It is all about a systematic approach to improving teaching practice, supporting Macquarie’s Faculties and ultimately delivering a more dynamic and engaging experience for students.”

“The essence of FPPs is also about building academics’ capacity, as opposed to just doing the work for them, creating a very sustainable practice.”

What has your role been with the FPP program?

“With the launch of the Program in 2012, the Educational Design and Development Group led by Helen Carter embarked on a new way of working through a partnership with each of Macquarie’s Faculties. This new project-based approach to faculty support meant we needed to develop and set up processes, systems and project management resources to support the establishment of what was to become a very successful program. I was responsible for most of those aspects and I was very fortunate to be right there from the very beginning. My role has been focusing on embedding this program and providing project management assistance and coordination support to up to 17 projects per session.”

“Maria at 3D Symposium” by Mike Catabay ©2014
Maria at 3D Symposium 2014 (Mike Catabay ©2014)

“I have also been part of several FPP project teams, which was a very rich experience. Working from ‘inside’ the project gives you a very different perspective. It has been very dynamic and fulfilling. The program has grown enormously since its launch, and so have I.”

Why do you think the collaborative approach has been so successful?

“I think the basis of its success has been the call for a commitment from both parties, as well as the reciprocal benefits we both get from working together as a team. Each project is a shared responsibility between academics and LTC staff. It is very re-assuring for academics to know there is a team of experts on hand to support them, but equally for us, each of the projects, with their inherent challenges, have given us countless opportunities to grow professionally. Each project has pushed us to know more and learn more, in order to offer better support.”

As an educator yourself, what has been the most satisfying thing for you about working on the FPP program?

“As an educator, I believe in the transformative power of teaching. Being involved in a program that systematically supports academics across Macquarie who want to improve their teaching practice – to ‘And Gladly Teche’ – has been most rewarding.”

“What has been most memorable for me is to have witnessed the evolution of this program and all its very positive outcomes over the last four years. There have been so many successful stories, transformational experiences through hard work, collaboration and scholarship. I feel we have definitely made a difference, and that feels great!”