UTSA Professors Complete Certification Programs to Improve Student Learning | UTSA today | UTSA

“By committing to the ACUE program, UTSA faculty are demonstrating an understanding that our students come from different backgrounds and may have been underserved in their past educational experiences,” said UTSA Provost and Vice-Chancellor. Senior President for Academic Affairs. Kimberly Andrews Spy. “At UTSA, faculty are committed to helping our students succeed by providing inclusive learning environments that recognize the unique path that brought them to our university.”

The Academic Innovation/ACUE partnership began in 2020 with the Effective Pedagogical Practices course. Strong faculty interest in the inaugural year prompted ACUE and UTSA to expand the curriculum for the 2021-2022 academic year to include two additional courses: Online Teaching Practices effective and inclusive teaching for equitable learning.

Each of the courses lasts from 10 to 36 weeks. Professors implemented what they learned from week to week in their current classes, and many said they could immediately see a change in student engagement after applying ACUE’s best practices.

“As an engineer and scientist, I love collecting data, so seeing how it visibly affects student performance, as evidenced by their grades and feedback on student assessments, is great,” said Shrihari Sankarasubramanian, Adjunct Professor at Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design. “I plan to use this data to inform my teaching practice and continually improve in teaching.”

The courses are indeed beneficial for both the students and the instructors. Ninety-five percent of faculty members reported an increase in their use of research to develop evidence-based teaching practices. Professors also reported that they were more confident in their ability to design an effective course and establish a productive learning environment that fostered active learning and higher-order thinking in their students.

ACUE programs encourage faculty and staff to collaborate with colleagues from all disciplines and departments. Participants met monthly to share their views and ideas, ask questions and support each other in their learning. The community the participants have established has allowed them to build camaraderie and bonds, especially after several years of distance learning during the pandemic.

“It is important for us as professors to take the time to invest in our methods as teachers and to constantly try to improve our courses and connect with our students in new ways,” said declared Sidury Christiansen, associate professor of bicultural-bilingual studies in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. “Whether you are new to teaching or have years of experience, I highly recommend this course. I have already used so much of what I have learned, and during the program you notice that certain techniques and methods can be implemented immediately in your classroom.

Graduates of the Effective Teaching Practices courses received a $1,000 stipend, a certificate in effective college teaching approved by the American Council on Education (ACE), and are recognized as UTSA ACUE Teaching Fellows. Graduates of the inclusive education course received a $500 stipend and a certificate of completion.

Academic Innovation, a division of academic affairs, supports faculty development and works with colleges and campus departments to create dynamic new learning experiences to promote student success.

Norma A. Roth