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Majors & Degrees

Successful faculty development events to continue in spring

December 17, 2018

“Improving student learning and understanding is at the heart of everything we do,” said Dr. Mark Hawkes, director for the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). One way Dakota State is doing this is through Center for Teaching and Learning faculty development events.

Established by the administration beginning in the 2018-19 school year, CTL events offer opportunities for faculty to learn instructional strategies that support student learning, according to Hawkes.

“We are drawing on both on-campus and off-campus expertise,” Hawkes said. Referencing their own experiences, speakers from the fall of 2018 have offered advice on topics such as: Crimson Hexagon, a tool for social media analytics; promoting student interaction in online courses; making sense of the world of research compliance; and empowering students to achieve their goals in research, scholarship, and creativity.

Dan Klumper, DSU instructor of social science pedagogy, and Viki Johnson, associate professor of sociology, led a CTL event about promoting student interaction in online courses.

Johnson chose to share her experiences because “through the years I have always benefited in some way from attending my colleagues’ presentations, so if what I do can give them ideas for their classrooms, I am happy to share.”

Klumper decided to participate because he saw it as an opportunity to get together with other faculty and share ideas, strategies, and experiences to design effective online courses.

“I feel it is important for everyone to share their knowledge with fellow faculty because when teachers are sharing and connecting, we are at our best,” Klumper said. “When we are at our best, then the students will be at their best. Whether you are a 30-year veteran or a new instructor, we all have things to share and things that we do well.”

This sentiment was echoed by Hawkes. “Every faculty member on this campus is trying to be the best instructor they can be,” he said. “When we help each other in that process in gains both large and small, then we’re accomplishing our core objective.” 

An advisory committee made up of representatives from all the colleges determines potential topics of interest; other ideas are suggested through the deans, or reflect topics based on regental and university priorities, Hawkes said.

“For example, our sessions on supporting undergraduate research this semester have followed our institutional goals to provide more high-impact, high-interaction experience for some of our students.”

Solicited and unsolicited feedback from faculty has confirmed that the CTL events are on the right track as the advisory committee plans spring semester events, according to Hawkes.

“As CTL matures we will implement a more systematic feedback system so our development events hit exactly the right topics, at the right time, with just the right amount of support,” Hawkes said.