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Following a recent week of professional development provided by Maryville University’s Finch Center for Teaching and Learning, faculty are more inspired, informed and energized about the start of fall classes.
Jesse Kavadlo, PhD, professor of English and director of the Finch Center for Teaching and Learning, developed the professional development program with Laura Ross, assistant director of the Center and adjunct music instructor.
“What started a few months ago as an idea, developed all summer—one meeting, email and spreadsheet at a time,” Kavadlo said. “Finally, the session topics emerged and people came together to talk about teaching and learn about learning. I’m grateful for the many faculty members who attended as facilitators and participants.”
Beginning this year, and as part of an ongoing commitment to embrace emerging technologies and new ways of student learning, Maryville faculty will receive two weeks of paid professional development, one in the fall and a second week following the spring semester. The initial cost of the commitment is $450,000, and the funding is expected to increase over time.
All incoming traditional freshman received a fully loaded iPad through Maryville’s Digital World program, a pilot program that begins with this academic year. Many of the interactive sessions focused on integrating technology in the classroom and enhancing the learning experience using the iPad. Taught by Maryville faculty, the sessions also emphasized teaching innovation and creating engaging learning environments.
“Maryville faculty have such a wealth of teaching knowledge and expertise in their fields,” said Ross. “It was amazing to watch them share these strategies and philosophies with one another in order to enhance the student experience at Maryville.”
“We say we’re student-centered and cutting edge, and this professional development was an opportunity to prove it,” said Michael Kiener, PhD, director of the rehabilitation counseling program. “We invest in our faculty to provide the best possible education for our students.”
Michelle Unterberg, PT, director of the physical therapy program and associate professor, said, “You could feel the energy in the sessions, with all the faculty brainstorming ideas for their classrooms using information they were learning.”
Representative of the focus on technology, Ann Fick, PT, CCS, an associate professor of physical therapy, noted: “This was the first time I’ve ever had a drone take attendance in class!”
“What an honor it is to teach at a university that invests in its faculty,” said Rebecca Dohrman, director for the communication undergraduate program and assistant professor of communication. She echoed the sentiment of many faculty members who expressed gratitude for the week of professional development and the opportunity to focus on their teaching.