May 20, 2020 |
Without knowing how the academic year was going to unfold, approximately 40 Harding faculty members from across campus dedicated time to improve their courses and teaching methods through Harding’s new partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE). The program provides faculty members with the opportunity to learn and implement evidence-based teaching practices into their classrooms over the course of a year and receive a nationally recognized Certificate in Effective Teaching Practices endorsed by the American Council on Education at the completion of the program.
After receiving recommendations from multiple workshops and leaders in faculty development nationwide, Kathy Dillion, professor of English, and Scott Weston, associate dean for faculty affairs and chair of the department of pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Pharmacy, began the conversation to bring the ACUE training to Harding’s faculty and lead this first cohort of faculty members through the program.
“It’s not one person’s opinion or material that they have put together, it really is solid,” Weston said. ”Everything that they are teaching faculty to do is evidence-based. They give you the references and research and background — why it works.”
Following the kickoff event in February, the program was intended to be a hybrid experience of online coursework and on-campus workshops allowing faculty members to take the modules at their own pace. After many universities closed for the semester due to the spread of COVID-19, ACUE transitioned from in-person activities to offering online intensive workshops in which faculty members could collaborate with faculty from other universities, which would not have been part of the original program design.
“Rather than seeing it as bad timing, I think it was good timing in a way for some of us who had to do a lot of that redesigning,” Dillion said. “It’s not just a bunch of online lessons. They are online, but at the same time you are connecting in real-time in these workshops with other people in your universities and others as well.”
Faculty members were able to take advantage of the changes made during the spring semester to learn alongside students in the online education environment and apply principles they were learning through the ACUE courses.
“I’m so thankful that [Provost Marty Spears] and the leadership at Harding are committed to invest in our faculty and in helping our faculty develop,” Weston said.