ACUE and Rutgers University-Newark Partner to Promote Excellence In Instruction

We are excited to share news about our partnership with Rutgers University–Newark, which RU-N announced this week. Educators at Rutgers-Newark have made ACUE a cornerstone initiative its innovative P3 Collaboratory, a comprehensive new faculty development center. Check out details from the announcement below, which has been cross-posted from Rutgers’ official news site.

Effective college teaching is a moving target. Staying on top of your game as an instructor across generations requires constant attention to what drives student learning. But unlike K-12 education, higher education has not had in place the kind of professional development infrastructure needed to support faculty members in making evidence-based refinements to their teaching. That is why Rutgers University–Newark (RU-N) has launched a five-year partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) to train and credential instructional faculty through ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices. Faculty are a central part of RU-N’s strategic vision and student success plans, and the program is part of a long-term partnership to significantly improve student learning outcomes through instructional excellence.

The ACUE program is a cornerstone initiative of RU-N’s new P3 Collaboratory for Pedagogy, Professional Development, and Publicly-Engaged Scholarship, a comprehensive faculty development center that supports excellence in teaching, scholarship, and leadership while maintaining a healthy work-life balance for the emerging (that is, Ph.D. students) and existing professoriate.

“Research confirms that students’ success and instructional practices are directly correlated,” notes Bonnie Veysey, professor and director of the P3 Collaboratory. “Because we believe in investing in faculty and student success, RU-N is providing the ACUE program to participants at no cost.” The university will be evaluating the impact of the program through a combination of metrics, including participant skill assessments, course taker evaluations, and measures of student learning. Veysey expects that RU-N’s already high graduation rates will rise, along with faculty and student satisfaction.

The ACUE program is endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE), one of the nation’s most respected leaders in higher education, which has invested in a landmark collaboration with ACUE to promote effective college instruction.  “ACUE’s course offers higher education institutions a comprehensive and scalable opportunity to support instructors through tools and techniques proven to help students succeed,” said Molly Corbett Broad, president of ACE. “ACE and ACUE have an important shared goal to dramatically expand the use of effective teaching practices to benefit students, faculty, and institutions.”

This semester, a total of 32 faculty and Ph.D. students are participating in the 13-week hybrid online/in-person program. The program features 25 modules designed to encourage classroom development, promote learning and higher thinking, increase participation and enthusiasm for learning material, and establish a more productive classroom environment. These modules feature more than 180 instructional videos, with interviews and classroom demonstrations of over 70 leading subject matter experts and award-winning faculty, which includes top instructors and experts at Rutgers-Newark.

Dr. Robert Puhak from the Department of Mathematics discusses strategies to connect with students and increase their motivation.

  Dr. Jerome Williams, Rutgers Business School, discusses the importance of embracing diversity in the classroom.

Participants view the modules, try out new learning techniques each week, then discuss the modules, refining their skills and teaching styles. At the end of this process, each participant will receive the ACE-recognized teaching certificate.

“Comprehensive support and training for instructional faculty are necessary for ensuring that all students benefit from effective instruction,” said Penny MacCormack, ACUE’s chief academic officer. “Rutgers-Newark has made great teaching central to its student success strategies and ACUE is proud to support faculty in this important initiative.”

Although the program has only been in place a couple of months, it’s already making an impact. “I feel like my job in the classroom changed from lecturer to facilitator of student learning,” explains Christina M. Zambrano-Varghese, who teaches psychology.  “In the beginning, I was just testing out new techniques each week, but now that I am putting all of the strategies together, I envision my time with my students differently and set better goals to make sure they are really learning the information, not just hearing me talk about it. I see how much the students are enjoying and learning, and I think my passion for the course material and helping my students learn has really had a chance to shine.”

Zambrano-Varghese adds, “I am most excited for teaching next semester, when I can plan out my whole course structure and syllabus based upon these new principles I have learned and implement them throughout the entire semester.  I am also looking forward to assessing whether students are performing better during the class because it seems like they are truly comprehending the material on a deeper level.”



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