INTERDISCIPLINARY GROUP DISCUSSION AS A ROLE MODEL TO IMPROVE LECTURER’S PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Arina Rohmatika IAIN Surakarta, English Education Department, Central Java, Indonesia [email protected]
Abstract Professionalism needs commitment, work-hard and creativity to make it come into being. For Indonesian university lecturers, to be professional means to maximize their ability and competence particularly in teaching learning, research and development, and community services, as mentioned in Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi. In IAIN Surakarta, there is an interdisciplinary group discussion which consists of around twenty lecturers from various disciplines. This group is aimed at improving their professional development as lecturers. Some of their routines are discussing about academic culture, quality improvement, and spreading out academic atmosphere to all civitas academica in IAIN Surakarta. Based on the case study approach, through participant observation and in-depth interview with the group members and other related components, this study shows that the members successfully develop their professionalism in teaching, research and social services. In a relatively short time, this interdisciplinary group discussion has shown encouraging results such as academic journals and teaching methodology. The activities, not only can improve the members’ professional development but also contribute to the institution’s development. Finally, it can be used as a role model and alternative way to improve lecturers’ professional development for other universities. Keywords: Professional Development, Lecturers, and Interdisciplinary Group Discussion. Introduction Professionalism is an attitude generated from beliefs towards owned profession as something of high value that is beloved consciously. It appears from the continuous efforts and sustained improvement in developing the quality related to owned profession. Thus, professional competence is an ability which grows integratedly towards owned knowledge of certain disciplines. It is skills to apply essential knowledge and a positive attitude to promote improve and develop those skills in a sustainable manner, combined with a firm determination to make it immersed in everyday life. Being professional, for Indonesian lecturers, means to follow and fulfill what so called by Tridharma Perguruan Tinggi (Three Pillars of Higher Education). These pillars focus on comprising Education, Research and Community Service). Referring to Undang-Undang Republik Indonesia No. 14 year 2005 on lecturers and lecturers, in order to be able to be a professional lecturer, one should have four competences namely pedagogical competence, personal competence, social competence and professional competence. The term professional competence here refers to mastery of the subject deeply and thoroughly, the ability to design, implement, and develop the research report, ability to develop and disseminate innovation, the ability to design, implement and assess community service. Thus, professional educators must try to bring about the attitude and behavior in attempt to produce learners who have desire, determination and ability to advance the profession based on science and technology. With the attitude and behavior, lecturers continuously make betterment, improve their creativity and productivity and optimize the utilization of the resources that exist in their surroundings. However, professionalism is a shifting, rather than a concrete phenomenon (Whitty, 2000). It means that there must be continuous progress in developing it instead of stagnancy once a better condition has been achieved. Their creativity and productivity must not be limited only to their teaching quality but also go beyond their scope of knowledge, think and do out of the box. However, there are always financial consequences in order to develop creativity and productivity of an institution. Through professional competence, lecturer is hoped to dynamically develop scientific insights, generate science,
art, and technology based on research and service delivery to the public of the results of research, and ultimately develop the culture and civilization of communities as stakeholders. Furthermore, their contribution towards institution is also urgent. Thus, being professional lecturer means being able to fulfill Three Pillars of Higher Education and as the same times give contribution to institution. In more specific scope, such an Islamic institution like IAIN Surakarta surely faces that kind of financial challenge in developing its faculties and quality in all aspects especially if it wishes to be UIN. Certainly for some, the establishment of UIN reflects long-term goals. There are others for whom there was never any intention of become anything more than an institution for studying normative forms of Islam. The debates about whether or not the PTAIN system should engage in more than its original mandate are not only ideological in their orientation. There are real financial consequences for these changes. The financial aspects of these changes are on both sides. Opening up other faculty can draw new students and increase enrollments. Wider mandates also allow IAIN to compete with nonreligious educational institutions (Lukens-bull, 2005). However, the challenge does not stop at that point because once this IAIN becomes UIN, it should also deal with how then these faculties can get along well and develop together to fulfill Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi regardless the condition of each financial condition later. In short, in order to be a professional lecturer, one should commit to fulfill those three pillars of higher education focusing on comprising Education, Research and Community Service that must be fully supported by institution. Thus, if there is a way to develop those professional developments with low budgeting, it will be a great benefit for the lecturers themselves and the institution. The term interdisciplinary is quite common used in the field of education and sociology. It involves the combining of two or more academic disciplines into one activity. It is about creating something new by crossing boundaries, and thinking across them. Interdisciplinary is defined as communication and collaboration across academic disciplines. Among sociologists, interdisciplinarity is lauded as an ideal, scorned as a threat, and embraced as a practice (Jacobs & Frickel, 2009). Interdisciplinary usually used in terms of research and studies. However, currently this term is widely used in a wider context. Interdisciplinary studies and activities are now a focus of attention for institutions promoting learning and teaching, as well as organizational and social entities concerned with higher education.(Taskoh, 2011). On the other hand, most scholars define the locus of interdisciplinarity as the integration of disciplinary perspectives. Moreover, understanding how interdisciplinarity is received, and how it is conceived, depends on an understanding of the nature of academic disciplines and their influence on faculty life in colleges and universities.(Latucca, 2001). In this study, the term interdisciplinary group discussion refers to collaboration of several lecturers coming from various disciplines in an informal group discussion that discuss about topics related to their profession as a lecturer. Academic Culture in IAIN Surakarta Every education institution must have what so called by academic culture. Related to, comprising Education, Research and Community Service as mentioned in Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi. Here is the current condition of Academic Culture in IAIN Surakarta. Firstly, in Comprising Education field, the teaching learning process in IAIN Surakarta is mainly in the form student-centered where the lecturers mainly do lecturing during the teaching learning process. In this model, lecturer usually starts his or her class by giving and explaining the materials and then asks the students to do tasks related to the materials. Student-centered learning is not a bad thing in fact that it should be totally avoided. It is just that very often this model tends to limit students’ creativity and chance to develop their skills and ability for then go beyond their limits to unveil their potency more. However, there have been some lecturers who have implemented student-centered learning, yet still a few compared to student-centered one. Furthermore, there is lack in making use of digital literacy during teaching learning process and during accomplishing tasks. Digital literacy here, for example related to referencing and citation. For instance, there are many students who are not familiar yet with how to access online-based reference and how to make use of citation manager. Consequently, they are not update with current references so that they are still printed book-oriented.
Secondly, Research field and Community Service. Related to this, it can be seen that in IAIN Surakarta the output of the research and community service program reports. HA, one of the IGD members who helps in LPPM (Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengabdian kepada Masyarakat) informs that most of those research and community service reports has not been focused to be published especially in journals. Thirdly, related to Community Service, there is the same challenge found that the output of community service reports has not been optimally oriented to publication. Most of the outputs are still focused to fulfill the standard requirements (Beban Kerja Dosen). In addition, related to group discussion In IAIN Surakarta, there have been some groupdiscussions exist. However, many of them still focus on the same majors for example language consortium in FITK and some other consortium in its faculties. So far, there has been no such interdisciplinary group discussion. The lecturers mainly still focus on their work individually based on their own discipline. Thus, this kind of group discussion is still rare in civitas Academica in IAIN Surakarta. Methodology This study is qualitative research in the form of case study on interdisciplinary group discussion in IAIN Surakarta. The data was collected through participant observation and in-depth interview the members of the group which consists of twenty two persons coming from various disciplines such as Education, Sharia, Economics and Business, Ushuluddin dan Dakwah and language laboratory staff. Those data were used as the primary data while for the secondary data, other related components and documents were used such as syllabus and feedback from institute’s leaders. Professional developments Whitty said (2000) professionalism is a shifting, rather than a concrete phenomenon (Whitty, 2000), it means that in order to reach professionalism, transformation is needed. In line with that, according to Dewey, every individual has a unique potential, regardless of any given physical or psychological inequality. The goal of education is to aid every individual to achieve their unique potential that they may make their unique contribution to society. As a lecturer, transformation is important especially transformation that is related to self quality and development of his potentials. Moreover, this transformation is hoped later to give contribution and beneficial to the society especially to this academic environment and institution. Thus, there is a transformation from self to social, from personal to social transformation. For an educator, Personal transformation can be described as an educator who has been able to improve his potentials for then share it to contribute to his society, (Kafid, 2014). More specific, in Dewey’s theory related to teaching learning context, education should not be the teaching of mere dead fact, but that the skills and knowledge which students learned be integrated fully into their lives as persons, citizens and human beings. From this, it can be concluded that transformation for the sake of professional development is a must for a lecturer who wants to be real professional. They must be professional as an individual that is a lecturer but also as part of society (institution). Dewey later proposes that the ideal education form is the democratic one where by the standards of freedom, creativity, and dialogue, pluralistic democracy is the best possible society we know of for sustaining growth. Moreover, Dewey’s philosophy states that education is to release the human potential for growth. Growth through freedom, creativity, and dialogue is, for him, the all-inclusive ideal, the greatest good. Since growth is the characteristic of life, education is all one with growing; it has no end beyond itself (Dewey, 2004). Dewey’s concept that highlights on the importance of sharing ideas is in line with the concept of interdisciplinary group discussion that gives great opportunity to such kind of growth and development in order to reach what so called by professionalism. In this group, each member is given the chance to develop his professionalism through sharing ideas and problem-solving as proposed by Dewey. This kind of process then can be included as personal transformation. More than that, as the result of the group discussion, there are some positive side effects which can influence and contribute to the institution. Though the members are from different majors and faculties, the collaboration shows good result and
benefits the society (students to institution). Related to this difference, Dewey states that pluralism and difference is the key to becoming an individual mind, not just an individual with a mind. We need others to become free. A pluralistic democratic community that encourages dialogues across differences best meets this need. Dewey’s ideal of a participatory community is one of pluralistic community (Dewey, 2004). Thus, interdisciplinary group discussion can be taken as one of the realization of Dewey’s concept of pluralistic community which later is dedicated to develop lecturers’ professionalism where personal transformation will lead to social transformation in order to help changing academic culture to be better. If it is successful, then professional development will automatically reached as well. Interdisciplinary Group discussion as A Role Model At first, it aims at strengthening silaturrahim among the members. Second, talking about what plans to do in order to develop and improve their future career as lecturers and also sharing about current information. They shared about what to do as CPNS and about activities they are working on as individual and as a lecturer. Some of the members have been introduced to Journal before, some have already written in journals an even having publication while the rest are newcomer lecturers. This condition made them having a lot of topics and issues to discuss and share. This group discussion was firstly initiated by three members who often met. They discussed about some ideas to do in the future. Having brainstormed some ideas, the decided to form an interdisciplinary group discussion whose members was their own CPNS mates. NK, one of the initiators, stated that he saw and believed that his CPNS colleagues indeed have great potencies. Those potencies, will hibernate if they did not improve and make use of it. Moreover, He realized that they need media to share and improve that. Being together will enable them to share ideas and remind one another to be active in reaching their personal and group targets. Meanwhile, another group member AM stated that interdisciplinary discussion is important because he believes that lecturers can be professional and can contribute more if they have more than one expertise. He then took as the example some of the Ulamas in the past like Ibn Rusyd, Ibn Sinna and many more who had expertise in many fields. Based on this fact, they believed that interdisciplinary group discussion in urgent to have. The member of the group held a routine meeting every month. Usually they took first week of the month to meet. Besides, they also met on the other days for example, in the morning when they have breakfast or lunch. On the early weeks, they talked about their condition and challenge they will have as CPNS and also as PNS in the future. In this first meeting they discussed about their preparation to be professional lecturers. They discussed about strategy in teaching learning process, research and social service that they should perform in the near future. Related to teaching learning process, some members shared their plans, strategy and their experience implementing those strategies, for example using field notes, article coaching). This has benefited greatly for other members to enrich their strategy in teaching and helping students to dig their potentials. After that, they discussed about research planning as it is a duty for lecturers. They started by talking about what they have got and what to prepare. They then made some strategic plan in order to push the members’ potency and spirit. At the end of the first meetings, the member had decided to have the second meeting and would talk about their plans related to their preparation to do coaching clinic in writing for journals. In the beginning of second meeting, they discussed about journals and its condition in IAIN Surakarta. From this discussion, it can be learned that current journals have not been openly accessed. There were eleven journals yet none of them was based on OJS (Open Journal System) and not yet accredited. They shared and discussed about what efforts they can do to overcome that condition. Later, they made strategy to reconstruct the journals already existed. They coordinated and helped each others to make this strategy works and intensively coordinate with leaders of the institute to support and implement their ideas. Second, they discussed about coaching clinic about how to write in journal. Furthermore, in the coming weeks and meetings, they focused and worked on renewing the existed Journals in every department and faculty. In addition, all of the activities are conducted in a non-formal casual situation. There is no structural position like head or secretary, and no specific agenda and programs, All they do is that doing discussion based on current issues and problems they face.
Professional Development as the Output of Interdisciplinary Group Discussion Interdisciplinary group discussion in IAIN Surakarta has shown positive results related to the lecturers’ professional developments. Here are some of those results found during the study. Firstly, in Comprising Education field, the mostly of the members of IGD in IAIN Surakarta have shown that they have implemented student-centered learning during the teaching learning process. Some of the members like NK, ES, ZA, LS even make use other strategies like field note to support students creativity to dig their potentials. In this field note strategy, they asked students to always make notes from which reports will be made. This reports, later are consulted with the lecturers (IGD members) for then be coached so that deserved to be published in targeted media such as Institute’s website and newspapers. Another strategy they applied was mini project, where they asked the students to do or make a project under the lecturers’ guidance. This mini project is usually focused on publication too to develop students’ academic writing. In the end, it is projected to improve students’ creativity. Besides that, the members also focused on making use of digital literacy during teaching learning process and during accomplishing tasks. Here, they teach students and also other lecturers how to access online-based reference, making personal online profile and to make use of citation manager. They also promoted to make use online reference and ebooks as the supplement of printed e-books. Secondly, in Research field and Community Service field. The group members kept promoting to other lecturers to publish their research and community service reports especially in journals. They also gave free coaching clinics for any lecturers who need their assistance so that the output of those reports is not merely focused just to fulfill the standard requirements (Beban Kerja Dosen). In addition, related to group discussion In IAIN Surakarta, there have been some other achievements showed related to institution’s developments. Firstly, most of the group members become Journal board members. In Dinika, journal of IAIN Surakarta, the main board member of the journal are Interdisciplinary group discussion’s members, like NK, ES, HM, ZA, AD and AR. The interesting thing is that this journal is the group’s first project. They worked really hard to create this first’s institute journal. They need to prepare many things to fulfill the standard requirements. Amazingly, in no time, they managed to present this first journal belongs to the institute. Interdisciplinary group discussion gave them chance to share, discuss and explore what they need to do, what to solve and what to avoid. Secondly, there is also collaboration in making publication for example ZA and KU. They, who are coincidently having the same background often talked about the project that they possibly can do. Through this interdisciplinary discussion they got the same idea and then working on writing a book together with their other colleagues. The publication of this book surely gives a positive impact for institution to help its branding process. Thirdly, the implementation of interdisciplinary based moderator in seminars and public lectures. AR, as one of the member of journal Dinika often becomes the moderator of this public lecture conducted by the journal monthly. She was encouraged to go beyond her expertise that is English education by the Interdisciplinary group discussion members. They share their knowledge and guide her before the event so that indirectly she could go beyond her expertise and developed her professionalism and knowledge. Fourth, most of the interdisciplinary group discussion are member of Journal DINIKA of IAIN Surakarta,more specific, ES and SU are the member of journal Shirkah of FEBI, AW of Journal Al Ahkam of Sharia Faculty, NK Al- A’raf and AD of Al Balagh, Journal of faculty of Ushuludin dan Dakwah, AR journal Leksema of FITK. Together, they coordinate and help each other to develop the journals though they camo from different disciplines. Conclusion To conclude, the study reveals that interdisciplinary group discussion in IAIN Surakarta has give positive results towards its members’ professional developments. The lecturers are able to develop their professional developments that cover three pillars of higher education (Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi). It also can be seen that the personal transformation had by each member also gives benefits to social
transformation especially in influencing the academic culture. Furthermore, there are several indicators that show the professional development by the lecturers. The first is that this Interdisciplinary Group Discussion has broadened the members’ knowledge and enables each member to go beyond their discipline. Further, it also has developed the potentials of each member individually and also enables interdisciplinary collaboration among the members. The concept that is informally organized which has no formal structure, specific time; yet optimizing social media has shown that even with casual form and zero budget from the institution, this group discussion still can contribute to institution’s development by developing students’ skills and knowledge at the same time developing the institution’s branding through the result of this group’s activities. Moreover, this group discussion also develops the members’ creativity. Thus, this kind of group discussion can be a role model for other education institutions since it does not take a lot of cost yet shows positive results. The main thing needed is just optimizing the lectures as the human resource. References Buku Pedoman Sertifikasi Pendidik Untuk Dosen (Serdos) Terintegrasi, Direktorat Jenderal Pendidikan Tinggi Kementerian Pendidikan Dan Kebudayaan 2015. Dewey, J. (2004). Introduction to philosophy of education. Studies in Philosophy and Education (Vol. 7). http://doi.org/10.1007/BF00368029 Lattuca, L. R. (2001). Creating interdisciplinarity: Interdisciplinary research and teaching among college and university faculty. Vanderbilt university press. Jacobs, J. A., & Frickel, S. (2009). Interdisciplinarity: A critical assessment. Annual Review of Sociology, 35(March), 43–65. http://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-070308-115954 Kafid, N. (2014). JURNAL KOMUNITAS From Personal to Social Transformation : A Phenomenological Study on the Life of ‘ Kyai, 6(3), 189–196. http://doi.org/10.15294/komunitas.v6i1.3313 Lukens-bull, R. A. (n.d.). Islamic Higher Education in Indonesia. Taskoh, K. (2011). Interdisciplinary Higher Educa4on : Criticism , Challenges and Obstacles, 6. Whitty, G. (2000). Teacher professionalism in new times. Journal of In-Service Education, 26(2), 281– 295. http://doi.org/10.1080/13674580000200121