In this section you will find information about how to join POD as well as the benefits of being a member.
Who are the members of POD Network?
POD’s membership is diverse. We are faculty and instructional development center staff, department chairs, faculty, deans, student services staff, chief academic officers, and educational consultants from across the United States and Canada. While POD members come primarily from the U.S. and Canada, the membership also represents twenty-three other countries. We work in a variety of post-secondary settings: public and private institutions, two-year colleges and graduate universities, small colleges and multiversities, and educational services organizations. We view ourselves as change agents, providing leadership for the improvement of teaching and learning. We work to help develop the faculty, the instruction, the organization, the administrators, and the students. The POD Network and its members lead and support change for the improvement of higher education through faculty, instructional, and organizational development activities.
POD members’ professional activities and interests are diverse. Here are a few:
- Assisting faculty to develop critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills in their students
- Assisting faculty with the design of courses and curricula
- Improving instruction through classroom research
- Using data to improve the evaluation of instruction
- Assessing instructional and programmatic outcomes
- Gaining administration and faculty support for new programs
- Teaching effective management skills to department chairs
- Helping committees function more effectively
- Implementing organizational change
Although our responsibilities and activities differ, POD members share the belief that institutions are strengthened when their members find opportunities for personal and professional growth, for innovation and experimentation, for change and renewal. POD members, in turn, provide such opportunities for colleagues on their own and other campuses.
Like many professional associations, the POD Network facilitates the exchange of information and ideas, the development of professional skills, the exploration and debate of educational issues, and the sharing of expertise and resources. However, POD connections have an added dimension. From the beginning, POD has recognized that its members seek new ideas and fresh perspectives, but they also seek affiliation and support, and colleagues with whom to collaborate. Thus, the POD Network connects people with people more effectively than do most other professional organizations.
Opportunities to become actively involved in POD are numerous. Our executive board, called the Core Committee, is comprised of members who have nominated themselves to stand for election by their colleagues. Officers and committee chairs are selected by the Core Committee from among its own members. However, participation by other POD members in POD activities is extensive. The POD Network is a very open organization, encouraging members to choose their own levels of participation.
How can POD Help You Achieve Your Personal and Professional Goals?
An increasing number of POD programs, products, and activities serve member needs. These include:
- An annual conference unlike most other conferences you attend. The ambiance of this three-day event is designed to satisfy professional and personal needs, to nurture growth, innovation and change; and to enable people to exchange ideas and add to their professional network. With few exceptions, conference sessions are small and characterized by much group interaction and involvement – no paper reading here! The development of true community spirit and warm friendships is typical. Flexibility, as well as highly interactive sessions in relatively small groups help assure the satisfaction of individual needs. These characteristics of the annual conference are highly prized by our members.
- An annual membership directory and networking guide identifies those who share your experiences, needs, and interests.
- A newsletter from the Executive Director not only communicates POD business, but also informs you of other professional development opportunities.
- An annual sourcebook To Improve the Academy offers you a range of materials on teaching and learning written by POD members. Some articles present theoretical perspectives and experimental insights; others describe programs and approaches; still others offer practical strategies and workshop materials.
- A Handbook for New Practitioners gives you concrete, practical “how to” guidance for accomplishing developmental tasks effectively. Also written by members and covering the gamut of development activities, the Handbook is periodically updated and revised.
- A research program allows POD to award seed money each year to members with good ideas and limited financial resources. Results of this work are ultimately reported at the annual conference or in the pages of To Improve the Academy.
Occasional publications such as the Bright Ideas Network, a collection of innovative ideas generated by members at the annual conference that have improved the quality of teaching and learning. The success of these conference exercises has resulted in an annual Bright Idea Award program at the conference and the publication of the ideas generated in the Bright Idea Network.