It didn’t take long to see something special in the faculty cohort that launched ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices at the College of Lake County (CLC).
“The level of collaboration, and even vulnerability and transparency, that this group of faculty had with each other just demonstrated to me how much they wanted to learn and help our students succeed,” said Kari Proft, an ACUE-credentialed instructor at CLC.
Proft was one of nearly 60 faculty who recently completed ACUE’s year-long program at CLC; she also served as a co-facilitator for the course. In recent weeks, these educators reflected on the unique learning experience in a video, celebrated their accomplishments in a virtual graduation ceremony, and offered welcoming words of wisdom to the 2020-2021 faculty cohort.
Proft and Michelle Proctor, CLC’s ACUE co-facilitator, initially planned to have just one 30-faculty cohort last fall, but doubled the size in response to interest and demand. The buzz came, in part, thanks to CLC President Lori Suddick, who encouraged faculty to participate, and through strategic recruitment efforts by CLC Faculty Development Chair and ACUE campus lead Page Wolf.
Crystal Radcliffe, an ACUE-credentialed English instructor, said she was motivated to participate because of her passion for seeing her students transform over the course of a semester.
“One of the most gratifying things about being a teacher is being able to see students grow,” said Radcliffe. “Being able to see students go from the very beginning of the semester to the end and see how much they’re able to achieve in such a short amount of time is really fulfilling.”
CLC, a comprehensive community college serving diverse communities in northeastern Illinois, is anchored by a mission to provide equitable high-quality learning experiences to students. Faculty say they are drawn to CLC’s student-focused culture.
“Whatever hurdles stand in their way, we are willing to work with them in order to be able to break down those barriers and give them the resources they need to be successful,” said Jeff Varblow, an accounting instructor.
Varblow said his own approach to teaching changed when he noticed that an ACUE-recommended practice that he implemented made a difference with his students. “I realized that as good as I thought I was, I can do so much more from a motivation perspective.”
Last month, the CLC faculty participated in a virtual graduation ceremony, an event that they weren’t able to do after COVID shuttered college campuses across the country this spring. The event also served as an opportunity to welcome the 2020-2021 ACUE course-takers, who said they felt inspired to get started.
“Congratulations faculty — we are proud of you and appreciate your dedication. Let’s keep this energy moving forward,” commented Suddick.