Building Teacher-Scholar Communities out of Silos

Written by Kristi Archuleta, Ed.D., Adult Education & Safety Sciences; Jody Horn, Ph.D., Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching & Learning —

Epiphany is a common word in the world of teaching and learning.  When faculty attend book discussions or workshops on various aspects of teaching and learning, over time lightbulbs start to turn on. Faculty  often have epiphany’s as they discover through reading research or shared discussions why a student might not join in class conversations  or why one method might not work in class. As one language professor said to a music professor, “Oh, really that happens in my class too.” Another professor in math and science stated, “I came [to the book discussion] because of a colleague. When I discovered the focus was on approaches and questions about why students were having trouble learning, I was in. I couldn’t believe I found a group that discussed this topic.” Now, this professor comes to many of the events.

Photo of some of the recognized faculty

New Faculty Scholars. Left to right front row. Dr. Holmes (not new), Dr. Waters, Dr. Warehime, Dr. Steineker, Ms. Cristina Pickle, and Ms. Loucks. From left to right in back row. President Betz, Dr. Huneke, Dr. Fink, Ms. Covin, Ms. Blevins, Dr. Bentley, and Provost Barthell. Missing from the phot are Ms. Clark, Dr. Collamore, Ms. Dalinger, Mr. Dement, Mr. Fetty, Dr. Jackson, and Dr. Leon.

The new 21st Century Pedagogy Institute is part of the Center for Excellence in Transformative Teaching and Learning (CETTL). The Institute is a shared collaborative among faculty; they facilitate book discussions, share their pedagogy research, and hold discussions on issues related to teaching and learning across disciplines. Over the last few years more and more UCO faculty have been meeting to read, discuss, and critique research and books on students’ learning and learner-centered teaching. During the 2015-2016 academic over 20 separate workshops and book groups were offered for UCO faculty. Then, last year, during the 2016-2017 academic year all these workshops and book groups were systematically organized into seven faculty teaching and learning outcomes. These outcomes were a result of an intense literature review as well as discussion with academics from other universities. The Institute uses pedagogy in its title rather than andragogy because of its common usage in the higher education lexicon of faculty development. An unintended consequence of the Institute is what one faculty member stated, “Meeting colleagues from other departments makes the University more like a community and less like silos.” Teacher-scholars is an appropriate way to define faculty who use evidence-based research to teach and  a scholarly approach to teaching and learning.

CETTL hosted the inaugural Champagne and Chocolate Gala to recognize the 21st Century Pedagogy Institute faculty on April 10, 2017. Achievement awards were presented by President Betz and Provost Barthell across several categories, including New Faculty Scholars, SoTL Scholars and Mentors, and various levels of Distinguished Teacher- Scholars. The beautifully-catered event was held in Old North and was full of positive, celebratory conversations amongst Faculty-Scholars and invited guests, Department Chairs, Deans, and Cabinet Members.

At the onset of each academic year, faculty are encouraged to review the list of the Institute’s activities and to join them to reach participant or engagement levels across several categories. Faculty achievements will again be recognized at the end of each year. CETTL, and this new Institute, are excellent resources to improve what you do within the classroom and to establish connections outside of one’s discipline. Learn more at http://uco.edu/academic-affairs/cettl/cettl-events/21CPI.asp.

Leave a Reply