Dr. John Geppert, professor of finance, Dr. Laurie Miller, associate professor of practice in economics, and Dr. Uchechukwu Jarrett, assistant professor of practice in economics, were named as inaugural Seacrest Teaching Fellows in October. Made possible through the generous support of Rhonda and the late James Seacrest, the fellows program cultivates exceptional teaching by identifying and recognizing instructional faculty who ignite students' passion for learning and provide high-quality learning experiences.
“In my experience, there has always been a 'disconnect' between what we as professors teach and what students learn. I view the Seacrest fellowship as an opportunity to use innovative teaching practices in conjunction with research to simultaneously understand the divide and bridge the gap, better aligning what we believe students should learn with what they actually learn,” Jarrett said.
Faculty submitted applications describing how participation in the program would support their growth as a teacher. They also provided a statement of their teaching philosophy, curriculum vitae and a description of a teaching innovation, project or other instructional-related research question they plan to address in the program. An ad hoc faculty committee selected the fellows and included Dr. Tawnya Means, assistant dean, assistant professor of practice in management and director of the Teaching and Learning Center; Dr. Sam Nelson, associate professor of practice in management and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship; Dr. Jenna Pieper, assistant professor of management; Dr. Troy Smith, assistant professor of management; and Dr. Shawn Strother, assistant professor of practice in finance.
“The faculty were selected based on a rubric, weighted on excellence as a teacher, their project idea and impact it will have on the college – specifically the students. Funding includes $6,000 per year for two years,” Means said.
The Seacrest Teaching Fellows projects include exploring student effort to see if there are specific characteristics correlated with effort, adapting teaching innovations to improve class participation and information retention, and comparing in-class cohorts based on group composition characteristics.