Teaching Academy

teach

Program Description

This is the core program of the FCTE. It is a yearlong program focused on helping all faculty solidify a Learner-Centered Teaching (LCT) based approach and to implement that approach in their courses. There are 7-8 meetings each semester; five didactic sessions lasting 90 minutes are interspersed with 2-3 luncheon/early dinner sessions that are less formal and involve discussion, trouble-shooting, and presentations by faculty (usually previous TA graduates) on how they have used LCT methods in their classrooms.

The Fall Semester curriculum is more defined, following along Weimer's (2002) five dimensions of LCT as well as emphasizing issues related to community engagement and service learning. The goal of Fall semester is to help faculty understand and adapt LCT to their own personal teaching style, their content, and courses, to develop their own coherent philosophy of teaching. In addition, faculty are asked to revise their syllabus for at least one of their courses for Spring semester; these revisions should incorporate more than 1 dimension of LCT and should demonstrate the participant's application of LCT principles and methods.

The Spring Semester curriculum is more flexible and open, depending on the desires and requests of the participants. However, it is very common for didactic sessions in the spring to focus on collaborative learning strategies, classroom assessment methods, integration of technology into the classroom, and other topics. It is important to emphasize that creating cohorts of faculty who learn together in this way usually results in strong bonds between them and mutual support for engaged teaching. All didactic sessions of the TA are taught using the principles of LCT so that faculty not only understand them, they have experienced them.

Faculty are recruited into the TA in two major ways: 1) Referral by current participants. At the end of the year, all TA participants are asked to refer one or more colleagues who they feel would enjoy and benefit from participation. They are asked to inform the colleague of the referral; the FCTE follows up with these referrals at the end of the spring semester and invites participants to join the TA the following fall semester. 2) Word of mouth: during the course of the year, faculty may hear of the Teaching Academy either through mention of the program in other venues (including SCOTs), through the FCTE's website, or by talking about it with a current participant or past graduate. These faculty will usually contact the FCTE and are put on a list of interested faculty with a reminder and invitation email going out to them near the end of the spring semester. 

 

Q. What is the Teaching Academy (TA)?

A. The TA is a faculty development program designed to assist faculty in higher education from various disciplines to enrich their courses to result in increased student learning. The TA will utilize a model of engaged learning called Learner-Centered Teaching (LCT)

Q. What is Learner-Centered Teaching (LCT)?

A. Weimer (2002) defines LCT as a pedagogical philosophy that emphasizes the active role of learners in developing a deep understanding of course topics.

Q. What are the course objectives of the Teaching Academy?

A. Sessions in the TA attempt to interweave the core philosophy and coherent approach of LCT with specific
teaching pedagogies that enhance student learning. The Teaching Academy also emphasizes development of a "community
of faculty learners", blends both formal and informal interactive sessions over the course of a full academic year,
and makes use of LCT methods in the training sessions themselves.

Q. How can the TA benefit me?

A. University faculty are experts in a specific content area, but often experience frustration in trying to help
students effectively learn the material. The LCT approach shifts the emphasis from the professor to the students,
based on the science of how adults learn new material, thus, enhancing student learning and encouraging active
student collaboration in learning. This can result in a more satisfying teaching experience and better student retention of important class material. Additionally, participating in the TA can help professors evaluate their teaching approach as well as offer them practical ideas for implementing engaged learning strategies.

 


 

Bibliography

Weimer. M. (2002). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes To Practice. San Fransico: Jossey-Bass.