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Teaching symposium showcases professors’ work

The Center for Academic Innovation hosted its fifth annual Teaching and Learning Symposium on Feb. 15 in the Curtiss banquet rooms between 8:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.

The event consisted of a panel presentation, keynote speakers and then three showcase sessions.

The event was designed as a come-and go-event to accommodate faculty members’ schedules, as many had to leave to teach at certain points of the event.

According to Poonam Kumar, the director of the Center for Academic Innovation, the event was meant to bring faculty together.

“The Teaching Symposium is an annual event that brings together faculty and other units on campus to recognize and share the excellent teaching and learning practices faculty and departments use to enhance our students’ learning experience at SVSU,” Kumar said.

The theme for this year’s symposium was promoting student success and retention.

“Our faculty are very passionate about teaching and are always interested in using new teaching approaches and tools,” Kumar said. “The symposium gives faculty an opportunity to share and learn about novel, innovative and creative approaches to teaching and learning.”

The symposium also aimed to applaud faculty innovation.

“The goal for all symposiums is to provide a platform for celebration and exchange of teaching and learning ideas,” Kumar said.

Robert Lane, a political science professor and member of the Center for Academic Innovation, believes teachers should always be trying to improve. The symposium offers the perfect opportunity to do so, he said.

“Teaching is always a work in progress; we’re never fully there, you know,” he said. “We’re just continuing to try and get better. So, what we are trying to do is identify and help spread what is known as best practices. What does the research show about student learning, and how can we make certain that our classes and our courses are based upon that kind of research and understanding?”

The three sessions that took up the majority of the afternoon talked about how professors are being innovative in the classroom.

“One of those showcases highlighted our Dow professors for the last year who have gotten the grant,” Lane said. “The other two showcases were simply about faculty that are doing some really interesting innovative exciting things in the classroom, and this (event gave) them the venue to share with other faculty.”

During the Dow professor grant recipients session, professors shared their hard work and accomplishments with their projects.

The three recipient groups were Julie Keil, an associate political science professor; Tina Thornton, an assistant nursing professor; David Rzeszutek, an associate theatre professor; Sylvia Sharp, an assistant biology professor; and Joseph Weaver, an assistant psychology professor.

According to Lane, faculty members can get a lot out of the symposiums, such as a sense of togetherness with the other faculty.

“To know that you’re not alone, that there is support out there, other colleagues that you can consult with and bounce ideas off of, (is powerful),” he said.

The symposium is a way to make faculty better teachers.

“It’s important for the students to know we as an institution, as a campus, as a university … we are committed to you,” Lane said. “We are committed to helping you have the most positive rewarding experience you can have.”

Reported by Shelby Mott, Vanguard Reporter

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