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Professors named CATL Scholars for upcoming years

Chad Awtrey, Prudence Layne, and Rebecca Pope-Ruark have been selected as CATL Scholars for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

From left: Prudence Layne, Chad Awtrey and Rebecca Pope-Ruark


Chad Awtrey, Prudence Layne, and Rebecca Pope-Ruark have been selected as CATL Scholars for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning’s Scholar program supports innovative and scholarly teaching projects that aim to transform student learning. The award comprises a two-course reassignment for two consecutive years, plus $2,000 per year in project funding.

Awtrey, an assistant professor of mathematics, will focus his work on integrating Writing to Learn (WTL) pedagogies into Introductory Calculus courses. While WTL have been used extensively as a teaching tool in fields such as English, psychology, and medicine for many years, this approach represents a promising innovation in undergraduate mathematics education. Students engaging with the WTL in calculus engage in a variety of writing activities both inside and outside of the classroom, work in groups, and apply course content to explain solutions to real-world problems. Students not only develop and demonstrate deep conceptual understanding of calculus, but also mature into more effective communicators while they become more skilled in collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Layne, an associate professor of English and coordinator of African & African-American Studies, will purse a study comparing teaching and learning in the condensed semester and intensive course formats, including study abroad and online experiences at Elon. Her project will explore how students learn and how they use and apply their knowledge at the end of their experiences in the condensed semester and intensive course format compared to similar content taught in the traditional 15-week semester. Do course format and duration make a difference in students’ academic performance and persistence? Do students learn the content of their coursework more effectively, with greater retention, or with deeper reflection than they do in an intensive format or condensed setting? How do teachers select content, learning objectives and goals across these contexts and formats? Operating under the hypothesis that no significant differences exist in student learning outcomes and achievement in the traditional versus the condensed course format, this project will ask why and how do instructors and students choose one format versus the other? This study aims not only to answer these questions but also to guide institutional changes as Elon’s undergraduate population becomes more heterogeneous.

Pope-Ruark, an assistant professor of English, will continue her development of and scholarship on a pedagogy for collaboration that centers on Scrum methodology, a systematic project management process used by web software companies. Because web software development is iterative and fast-paced, Scrum was created to allow cross-functional teams to jointly plan major activities, aspects of which are then delegated to teams to plan, complete, and review. Scrum builds in planning and reflection at every process phase and effectively keeps team members accountable to both their team and the larger group. Pope-Ruark has had success with Scrum in her professional writing classes since Scrum is suited to facilitating course and project planning, providing a guiding structure for student project work, and creating a sense of accountability and authentic collaboration among students. Her CATL Scholar project extends her existing Scrum work beyond her classroom to the broader Elon community (and eventually beyond) by: creating and implementing a professional development program for faculty interested in implementing Scrum in their courses; carefully studying students and faculty in classrooms where Scrum is implemented; and, assessing the learning and other outcomes from Scrum in multiple disciplines.

Awtrey, Layne and Pope-Ruark will join 22 current or past CATL Scholars. Current Scholars include Ann Cahill (Philosophy), Samantha DiRosa (Art), Ketevan Kupatadze (Spanish), Phillip Motley/Sang Nam (Communications), David Neville (German), and Michelle Trim (English).

A call for applications for CATL Scholars is announced early each fall. All faculty are encouraged to apply.

CATL Scholars are selected by a faculty committee comprised of other Scholars and CATL faculty advisory committee members. This year’s committee was: Mary Knight-McKenna (Education), Phillip Motley (Communications), Harlen Makemson (Communications), Ayesha Delpish (Math and Statistics), Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Philosophy), Michael Terribilini (Biology) and Mary Jo Festle (History & Geography).


Eric Townsend,
11/13/2011 11:12 AM