Three members of the Illinois State University faculty will create new, highly focused learning experiences for instructors as part of the 2021 Summer Institute at the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology. They were selected in a blind review process from among nearly a dozen proposals for in-depth explorations, all designed to help instructors improve student learning and well-being.

Meeting the needs of instructors and students

Representing a wide-range of academic disciplines, the three inaugural members of the Teaching Scholar-in-Residence program will each focus on a particular aspect of improving students’ lives.

“Depth is the key word here,” notes Dr. Julie-Ann McFann, who leads the programming team at CTLT. “We’ve spent the last year talking to faculty and staff, gauging CTLT’s impact on their teaching and their students’ learning. As we listened to them, it became clear that instructors crave, they desire, more in-depth experiences to help them better connect with and guide their students. We’re thrilled to bring aboard three faculty members who can share their ideas and passions with fellow teachers across the disciplines as they, in turn, learn what it means to be an educational developer.”

Dr. Allison Alcorn, a professor in the School of Music, will address on student engagement and ways to enhance the attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught.

Dr. Sarah Boesdorfer, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, will explore enhancing student success—ways to help students stay engaged in the learning process while managing competing demands, creating a sense of belongingness in the campus community, and progress toward completion of their degree that enables them to pursue their career or life goals.

Dr. Ashley Hall, an assistant professor in the School of Communication, will focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She’ll help colleagues explore teaching practices that respect and value individual and social or group differences, ways to promote active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity to increase understanding of the complex ways individuals interact with systems and institutions. Her projects will also look for ways to create equal access to educational opportunities for historically underserved populations.

Teachers as scholars

In addition to developing multi-day workshop experiences for Illinois State instructors, all three of the Teaching Scholars-in-Residence will engage in scholarly projects about teaching and learning to benefit the entire campus community.

“The concept of ‘teacher-scholar’ is a critical part of multi-faceted professional development,” says Dr. Jennifer Friberg, interim director at CTLT and the Cross Endowed Chair in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. “It allows us to recognize pedagogical expertise beyond the delivery of course content. We have many instructors on campus who have such expertise. We wanted to bring the expertise of a diverse group of instructors into our Center and work hand-in-hand with them to develop programming. We think this program will play a pivotal role in not only instructors’ growth and success, but ultimately, our students as well.”

Summer Institute

CTLT continues to prepare a full slate of summer professional development opportunities for tenure-track, non-tenure track, staff, and graduate assistants at Illinois State. Registration for 2021 Summer Institute workshops and events, including those facilitated by the Teaching Scholars-in-Residence, will open around the end of April.