Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning announces 2022-24 CATL Scholars

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has chosen three Elon University faculty projects, naming five new CATL Scholars for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years. The new CATL Scholars include Chris Richardson, co-scholars Ketevan Kupatadze & Elena Schoonmaker-Gates, and co-scholars Katie Baker & Dani Lane.

The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has chosen three Elon University faculty projects, naming five new CATL Scholars for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years. The new CATL Scholars include Chris Richardson, co-scholars Ketevan Kupatadze and Elena Schoonmaker-Gates and co-scholars Katie Baker and Dani Lane.

These new CATL Scholars join 50 other CATL scholars including current scholars Margaret Chapman (English), Andrew Greenland (economics), Kevin Bourque (English) and Brandon Sheridan (economics).

The CATL Scholar program fosters innovative and scholarly teaching and learning. Echoing the Elon Teacher-Scholar statement, the CATL Scholars program is designed so that participants engage deeply with the shared goals of our academic community and develop highly innovative projects.

Chris Richardson, Associate Professor of Astrophysics

Chris Richardson, Associate Professor of Astrophysics, will work on “Active Learning Resources for Large-Scale Phenomena in Upper-Level Astronomy Courses” for his CATL Scholar project. His project seeks to help reduce gaps seen in upper university level astronomy courses by developing lecture-tutorial worksheets and big-data driven Jupyter notebooks (evolved from the IPython Project).

Throughout this project Richardson aims to transform astronomy curriculum by addressing two specific gaps: the lack of resources dedicated to intermediate- through advanced-level astronomy courses and the shortage of material covering phenomena on the scale of galaxies or larger.

Richardson will start by developing lecture-tutorials (LT) that focus on topic fundamentals found in well-rounded astronomy curricula such as active black holes, galaxy evolution and cosmology. Developing LTs will play a crucial role in identifying misconceptions that inhibit student learning. Concurrently, the project will involve developing pedagogy for the use of computational notebooks enabling students to seamlessly analyze and manipulate data for large-scale phenomena and other student-driven astronomy topics of interest.

Richardson’s proposed project has implications both for Elon students and beyond. Students will benefit from an astronomy classroom environment that further promotes data competency, and Richardson plans to present findings at conferences and publish tools and pedagogical materials on public platforms available to the whole of the astrophysics community.

Ketevan Kupatadze, Senior Lecturer in Spanish
Elena Schoonmaker-Gates, Associate Professor of Spanish

Co-scholars Ketevan Kupatadze, senior lecturer in Spanish, and Elena Schoonmaker-Gates, associate professor of Spanish, both work in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. Their CATL Scholar project, “Online Language Tools: From Taboo to Opportunity,” will delve into how online language translation tools can be used to advance, rather than hinder second, language (L2) teaching and learning.

Their project will investigate student motivations and perspectives and involve student partners by: working with two student collaborators who will be involved throughout the project, trying to identify when and why students resort to online language tools through student surveys and by developing and troubleshooting new language curriculum through student feedback, classroom assignments and measurements of student success.

Through this project, Kupatadze and Schoonmaker-Gates hope to ensure L2 pedagogy is best aligned with students’ goals so that students can focus on the process of language acquisition, are rewarded for the progress they make and don’t feel compelled to (mis)use machine translation. Additionally, they aim to transform the available online language tools from being taboo to becoming pedagogical opportunities that help cultivate a classroom culture where it is OK to make mistakes, focusing on the process and progress rather than grades.

Katie Baker, Assistant Professor of Education
Dani Lane, Assistant Professor of Education

Co-scholars Katie Baker and Dani Lane, both assistant professors of education, will focus on a CATL Scholar project titled, “Exploring Co-Teaching in Higher Education.” Their project will tap into Baker and Lane’s prior experiences as co-teachers and professors of PreK-12 education to delve deeper into how research-based models of co-teaching might be integrated into courses at an university level to benefit students.

Students studying as prospective teachers in Elon’s Teacher Education Program encounter co-teaching as a commonly used practice in PreK-12 classrooms, but do not often experience co-teaching in their university coursework. Baker and Lane plan to investigate the co-teaching practices used in school districts where student teachers will do their practicum or be employed in the future. Armed with this information, they will design, implement and adapt co-teaching practice models that can be integrated into university level coursework, with feedback from students and partners.

From this project, Lane and Baker plan to affirm the need and value of co-teaching in their department and co-taught courses, integrate what they learn into other co-taught courses across the university and collaborate with PreK-12 districts to provide joint professional development around co-teaching models and benefits.

A call for applications for CATL Scholars is announced early each fall. All full-time faculty are encouraged to apply. CATL Scholars are selected by a faculty committee comprised of other scholars and CATL faculty advisory committee members. For more information, visit the CATL website or email