The purpose of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) Scholars program is to nurture innovative and scholarly teaching and learning. Echoing the Elon Teacher-Scholar statement, the CATL Scholar’s program is designed so that participants both engage deeply with the shared goals of our academic community and develop “the unique gifts” that each individual Scholar possesses.
Each CATL Scholar is awarded a two-year fellowship that includes compensation for two course teaching releases per year (or the equivalent amount of funding to be applied to the Scholar project) and a $2500 faculty development fund per year to be used to pay for expenses relating to the CATL Scholar’s project.
Kristina Meinking, Assistant Professor of Latin | Per Aspera Ad Astra: A New Approach to the Elementary Latin Sequence
Kristina Meinking, assistant professor of Latin, will use her Scholar project to explore the ways in which elementary Latin students’ learning and language acquisition can be strengthened by class structure, in-class activities, and pedagogical methods. In a traditional elementary sequence of two semesters, students proceed through the textbook at the same pace and student comprehension of the material is evaluated on a regular basis with quizzes and tests. In the model that Meinking is developing, rooted in a combination of SCALE-UP and Step-by-Step pedagogies, students instead progress at their own pace, work frequently with one another, and use class time as a workshop intended to support their mastery of the course material. Meinking aims to develop a deeper understanding of how student learning and language acquisition can be supported by and benefit from different types of instruction and the classroom environment, and to craft an ‘exportable’ model of the course to colleagues in other languages both ancient and modern.
Kevin O'Mara, Professor of Management | Teaching Innovation in Business Schools
Kevin O’Mara, professor of management, will focus his Scholar project on developing effective methods of integrating the teaching of innovation in both undergraduate and graduate programs in business. Innovation is a highly valued topic in business education, but many business schools struggle with how to teach it to and develop it in their students. The discrepancy between the wide agreement of the need for integrating innovation within business education and the lack of it in the curriculum is the crux of this project. O’Mara will build on his recent scholarship on innovation and creativity to develop a framework and templates to better integrate innovation within business schools, and will conduct research with students on how they best learn about innovation.
Mary Knight-McKenna, Associate Professor of Education
Mary Knight-McKenna and Cherrel Miller-Dyce, associate and assistant professor of education, respectively, will develop and assess early childhood education (ECE) students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions for partnering with families to prevent reading problems in young children who are living in poverty. This project will integrate student work in a pair of service-learning courses to build sustainable partnerships with families to enhance literacy development. Knight-McKenna and Miller-Dyce will conduct a qualitative research studies of both their students’ learning and the literacy of children involved in the program. Based on this work, they plan to create and publish a model to be used by other ECE programs for preparing early childhood educators who are skilled at partnering with families for preventing reading difficulties.
Prudence Layne, Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of African and African-American Studies | Intensive Course Formats and Condensed Semesters: Examining their Impact on Teaching and Learning
The third goal of The Elon Commitment calls for “. . . the highest levels of achievement across our academic programs.” As the Elon University student demographic changes to become more heterogeneous, how will traditional course formats, support programs, and institutional policies change to meet the needs of this shifting populace and foster excellence among all students? This study proposes a partial answer to this question through an examination of teaching and learning in the condensed semester and intensive course formats, including study abroad and online experiences at Elon. The project will explore the questions of 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 fifteen-week semester. Do course format & duration make a difference in students’ academic performance and achievement? 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, why and how do instructors, institutions, and students choose one format versus the other?
Chad Awtrey, Assistant Professor of Mathematics | Enhancing Students' Understanding of Calculus Through Writing
This project seeks to investigate the usefulness of the Writing to Learn (WTL) pedagogy in the teaching of MTH 121: Introductory Calculus. While WTL has been used extensively as a teaching tool in fields such as English, psychology, and medicine for many years, this approach represents an exciting innovation in undergraduate mathematics education. Instead of passively sitting through a lecture or rotely performing calculations, students engaging with the WTL pedagogy participate 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. In this setting, students can not only demonstrate a deeper conceptual understanding of calculus, they can also mature into more effective communicators and develop useful skills in collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving. This classroom approach aligns itself with Elon's mission to “nurture a rich intellectual community characterized by active student engagement," and to provide a “challenging undergraduate curriculum grounded in the traditional liberal arts and sciences."
Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Assistant Professor of English | Authentic Collaboration: Using Scrum Methodology in the Project-Based Classroom
Over the last three years I have developed 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. Team members meet once a day to share what progress they have made, what they will be working on that day, and what assistance they might need. Scrum builds in planning and reflection at every process phase and effectively keeps team members accountable to both their team and the larger group. I have had great success with Scrum in my own classes, and Scrum is well suited to facilitating course and project planning, providing a guiding structure for student project work, and creating a sense of accountability and authentic collaboration often missing in group projects. Because Scrum is a framework, it is not discipline-specific and can be applied to any course that requires collaboration.
This CATL Scholars project extends my existing Scrum research beyond my own classroom to the broader Elon community (and eventually beyond). The purpose and goals of this CATL Scholars project are to
David Neville, Assistant Professor, German, Director of Language Learning Technologies | Using 3D digital game-based learning environments to enhance second language acquisition
The DigiBahn Project is an interdisciplinary initiative to produce a 3D digital game-based learning (3D-DGBL) environment to teach a second language and culture to advanced high school and beginning university students. Specifically, the project will prototype and test one level of a standalone 3D graphic adventure game for PC and Mac platforms requiring students to navigate a simulated German environment while meeting specific instructional goals and managing the sociocultural and linguistic demands of an assumed in-game persona. Answering calls made by the Modern Language Association to revise and revitalize the teaching of second languages and cultures at all levels through new instructional approaches and technologies, the project will develop print-based instructional materials and lesson plans to accompany the game, maintain a download website to distribute open source project materials and source code, create a community website to support players and collect feedback to drive future game development, and generate research articulating best practices for using 3D-DGBL environments in second language acquisition.
Michelle Trim, Lecturer, English | So what do students do with feedback, anyway? A project to develop a tool for faculty to understand students' uses of written feedback
This project will address pedagogical questions related to written feedback: How do students use the feedback they receive on their written work? What are the barriers hampering students’ successful assimilation of feedback into their learning processes? What about the way feedback is understood keeps students from writing well? Is the use of feedback a “threshold concept” (Meyer and Land 2003) in academic writing? Through this project I want to better understand what students do with the written feedback that they receive in order to develop strategies for understanding how students are using feedback in their classes. I will seek to discover barriers that hamper successful assimilation of feedback into students’ learning processes, including the understanding of feedback and the use of a feedback “threshold concept” (Meyer and Land 2003) in academic writing. I want to better understand the assumptions that I am making about the role of feedback in my teaching in order to learn what use it has for students. Then, I want to help other teachers ask similar questions of their feedback practices in order to help them learn how their students are using feedback. Such knowledge can increase the possibilities for how I use feedback in my classes, and can benefit how other teachers use feedback as well.
Ketevan Kupatadze, Lecturer, Spanish | Rethinking the value and nature of Advanced Composition and Grammar courses in Foreign Languages
The goal of my project is to restructure the Advanced Spanish Composition and Grammar course according to the innovative techniques of engaged and individualized teaching and learning. I would like to implement pedagogy that would offer students individual guidance and attention to enable them to start learning at the level of their present knowledge and advance at their pace. Since students face challenges with grammar, syntax and formal expression, they should be given support in and out of the classroom support adapted to their particular strengths and weaknesses. With this pedagogy, I will present content that addresses meaningful and relevant social, political, literary, and cultural issues and presents them from different angles, through a wide variety of discourses. "Engaged learning" will be at the core of the course' structure and content, addressing the need for the course components and materials to be developed as a continuum, rather than separate and/or parallel with each other. The materials created for the class, the research accompanying the project and the results obtained should provide valuable information to anyone teaching not only composition and grammar courses in foreign language, but upper level literature and culture courses as well.
Ann Cahill, Philosophy | Argumentation Step-by-Step
To develop the pedagogy of an innovative, learning-centered approach to teaching argumentation more fully and to transform it into a web-based curriculum that could eventually be shared with instructors at other institutions.
Samantha DiRosa, Art | (un) common partnerships for a common purpose: focusing on art/science relationships in the study of environmental art
Phillip Motley and Sang Nam, Communications | Sustainable Learning In Technology Intensive Programs
Jessie Moore, Department of English | "Reacting to Language Policy"
Ayesha Delpish, Department of Mathematics | "Towards a Community of Learners: A Case Study Approach to Statistics"
Brooke Barnett & Ken Calhoun, Communications | "Bringing Expert and Personal Voices into the Classroom: Educational DVDs as Pedagogical Tools"
Chris Leupold , Assistant Professor of Psychology | Transformative Learning in Human Resource Management: A Multi-Unit Experiential Approach to Teaching Staffing and Selection
Alan Russell , Associate Professor of Mathematics | Scholarship in Statistics Education: Student Concepts of Distribution, Sampling, and Simulation
Stephen Bloch-Schulman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy | Understanding Philosophical Expertise: On Philosophical Evidence-Mindedness and its Development
Ashley Hairston , Assistant Professor of English | Humanizing the Law: Legal Challenges, Public Narratives, and Humanistic Priniciples
Cynthia Fair , Associate Professor of Human Services, and Pamela Kiser, Professor of Human Services | Enhancing Academic Challenge in the Human Service Internship
Sirena Hargrove-Leak, Assistant Professor of Engineering | Underwater Robots: A Model for Interdisciplinary Engaged Learning at Elon
Stephen Folger , Associate Professor of Physical Therapy Education | Practicing Clinical Decision Making with Simulated Cases: Assessing the Students' Situation Awareness
Jeffrey Coker, Biology | “Reinventing Life”: A New Paradigm for Biology Teaching and Learning
Megan Conklin, Computing Sciences | Reacting to the Past: The Steampunk Project*
Anthony Crider, Physics | Testing a “Quest-Points-Level” Game Structure in the Astronomy Classroom
Charles Irons, History | “Other Souths”: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alamance County, North Carolina
All full-time teaching faculty at Elon are eligible to apply. We anticipate that most CATL Scholar applications will be from individuals, but teams of faculty are welcome to apply.
Applicants must ensure that Scholar compensation will not affect the recipient’s status as a full-time teaching faculty member, as defined by the Elon Faculty Handbook. (see Section II-2, “Minimum Teaching Expectation”). Scholar applicants who cannot take course releases may apply funds toward other project expenses.
If you have questions about eligibility, please contact Peter Felten.
Each fall, full-time faculty are invited to apply to the CATL Scholar Program. Typically three new CATL Scholars are named each academic year. Each CATL Scholar will have two core responsibilities:
CATL Scholar applications are due each year by 5:00 p.m. on the third Friday in September.
For more information about the CATL Scholar program, contact Peter Felten.