HANCEVILLE, ALA. – A new group of Wallace State instructors was recently welcomed to the college’s Teaching and Learning Academy for the 2015-16 academic year. Wallace State’s Teaching and Learning Academy initiative, now in its second year, was established in the summer of 2014 to merge new faculty together, help them learn more about the college and to grow professionally as a group.
The Teaching and Learning Academy begins each August, a week before the fall semester starts, and continues through the end of the spring semester.
“We have identified five basic competencies that every faculty member should have at Wallace State, and our participants will learn these competencies through different workshops. We divide the faculty into groups, and at the end of April they’ll present what they’ve learned and how to incorporate it into their classes,” said Wallace State’s Teresa Ray-Connell, a dental instructor and member of the Teaching and Learning Academy Steering Committee.
The five competencies taught are professional commitment, advising, teaching and learning, assessment and use of technology. Group members are also instructed on how to become an E-professor by utilizing Blackboard and other online learning tools.
“When our members complete the program, they’ll be certified as a Teaching and Learning Academy graduate as well as an E-professor and advisor,” Connell said. “We are trying to bridge the Teaching and Learning Academy and the Master Teacher experience together. They’ll spend one year with us and two with Master Teacher. It’s a three-year process designed to be a pathway for new faculty.”
Connell enjoyed the cohesiveness the inaugural Teaching and Learning Academy class displayed and believes the initiative will continue to be a positive experience for the Wallace State faculty.
“I think this academy first builds community and it also shows everything Wallace State has and what we do. We have a lot of things going on at Wallace State, and the academy gives you an overview of all of it,” Connell said. “We enjoy seeing the faculty getting to know each other and working together as a group. Our first graduating group said it was very beneficial to them. It helped them meet fellow employees they might not run across otherwise.”
The group plans to meet three times over the course of the academic year on professional development days for faculty.
Current 2015-16 Teaching and Learning Academy participants are Carrie Bentley (Transitional Learning), Susan Copeland (Patient Care Specialist), Leah Gann (Nursing), Randy Hammond (Welding), Michael Johnson (Industrial Electronics), Emily Johnston (Paralegal), Jacob Keisler (Music), Kelly Krigbaum (OTA), Karen Morris (English), Aaron Nichols (Culinary Arts), Kelli Rich (Diagnostic Imaging), Penny Rodgers (GPS), Cynthia Smith (English), Alicia Standridge (Nursing), Sally Warren (English), Jeremy Wilt (Computer Science) and Megan Zerillo (Nursing).
The inaugural Teaching and Academy group consisted of Penny Aldridge (Computer Science), Krystal Davis (Math), Brian Hall (HVAC), Marcie Hill (Child Development), Allen Keener (OTA), Gayle Ledbetter (Speech), Mary Leah Moss (Physical Education), April Sutherland (Diagnostic Medical Sonography) and Beth Williams (Biology).
Other members of the group’s steering committee are Connie Briehn, Suhana Chikatla, Dana Adams, Jim Malone, Kristi Bain and Sharon Horton Woodruff.
For more information about Wallace State, visit wallacestate.edu.
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