April 26, 2017  

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Southern Miss Faculty Participating in Development Institute

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Piggybacking on the success of the inaugural Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Faculty Development Institute last fall, The University of Southern Mississippi has launched a two-pronged approach for the Spring 2017 semester.

One program represents a repeat of Active Learning with a new group of 13 faculty members. The other component – Assessment of Teaching and Learning – includes 22 of the 29 instructors who successfully completed the Fall 2016 series. Four of the participants – two from each group – are instructors from the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, while the remaining participants teach on the Hattiesburg campus.

The intensive, eight-week program features participants engaged in a subset of ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices, which focuses on research-based techniques for promoting active learning, increasing student persistence, delivering an effective lecture, and facilitating engaging class discussions.

Bonnie Cooper, Assistant to the Provost for Faculty Development, notes that the ACUE courses provide Southern Miss faculty with techniques to analyze, explore, and reflect on their teaching practices.

“The cohorts work online, covering a module each week, then convene to discuss the topic presented in the module,” said Cooper. “This has been a valuable process, as instructors learn from each other and from exploring new techniques in their classes.”

Faculty earn badged Records of Completion to recognize their advancement through the ACUE Course, which consists of 25 modules. Completion of each module results in a badge from ACUE, and faculty who finish the Institute earn a certificate from the Office of the Provost. Faculty members who complete all 25 modules earn Certificate in Effective College Instruction, which is endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE).

“We are delighted that The University of Southern Mississippi is building on and expanding its work with ACUE based on the very positive experiences from the first faculty cohort,” said Penny MacCormack, Chief Academic Officer at ACUE. “ACUE is proud to partner with Southern Miss as it continues to make evidence-based teaching key to student success.”

Dr. Mark Miller, Professor in the Department of Geography and Geology, is taking his first crack at the faculty development initiative. He emphasizes that the series is demanding, but worthwhile as he continues to evolve as an educator.

“I want to keep trying to be a better teacher and make a positive impact on my students,” said Miller. “This type of program will certainly help me reach those goals. I hope that they can teach this old professor some new tricks – and put some new life and fun in my teaching role at USM.”

USM’s innovative program will take center stage at ACE’s 99th Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. this month. Dr. Amy Miller, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, will discuss faculty development efforts at USM on a panel with other college and university leaders who are prioritizing effective instruction on campus. Visit www.aceannualmeeting.org for more information.