SSCC teachers go back to school

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Four faculty members from Southern State Community College have jumped at the chance to improve their online teaching skills by participating in a 25-week Effective Online Teaching Practices course offered in collaboration with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

Southern State Community College participants include: Dr. Gayle Mackay, professor, business; Kelly Schradin, associate professor, biology; Russ Clark, assistant professor, physics; and Cathy McClain, assistant professor, human and social services.

“This is a tremendous professional development opportunity delivered at just the right time,” said Southern State Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Nicole Roades. “Nearly a year ago, the pandemic thrust all of education into a new way of delivering courses. Today, not much has changed except that we are recognizing expansion of distance learning as the new normal. As such, the Southern State faculty aim to deliver the same high quality experiences as they did before the pandemic and this kind of training helps us meet those goals.”

These four SSCC teachers will join more than 150 faculty members from 22 Ohio community colleges as they learn and implement equity-promoting, evidence-based teaching practices shown to improve student engagement, persistence, course completion and learning.

The program is part of a collaboration between the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) and ACUE, whose programs in effective teaching practices are based on more than three decades of research that demonstrate effective teaching improves learning for all students.

Considered a graduate-level course, the program consists of 25 modules separated into four blocks — Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Online Learning Environment, Promoting Active Learning Online, Inspiring Inquiry and Lifelong Learning in Your Online Course, and Designing an Effective Course.

Equity-promoting teaching practices are among the hundreds of recommended approaches that faculty learn about and develop in ACUE courses, as demonstrated in ACUE’s Inclusive and Equitable Teaching Curriculum Crosswalk.

Faculty will be teaching classes at Southern State while taking the course, which begins this month, so they will use what they learn immediately. Faculty who satisfy program requirement will be awarded ACUE’s Certificate in Effective College Instruction, the only nationally-recognized college teaching credential endorsed by the American Council on Education.

The opportunity is offered free of charge to faculty through a partnership between ACUE and OACC’s Success Center as part of the Every Learner Everywhere (ELE) initiative, and was made possible by Achieving the Dream, an ELE network partner.

Jack Hershey, president and chief executive officer of the OACC, said the training will teach faculty ways to keep their online courses fresh and impactful.

“We are working hard to level the playing field to close equity gaps among Ohio students,” Hershey said. “Offering this course to faculty is one more way to do that.”

Submitted by Elizabeth Burkard, director of marketing, Southern State Community College.

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