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Center for Teaching Excellence

East Tennessee State University

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Classroom

Welcome to the Center for Teaching Excellence

The purpose of the Center for Teaching Excellence is to promote excellence in teaching at ETSU by providing instructional development opportunities for faculty, serving as a "one-stop shop" for teaching resources, and creating communities of practice among faculty. I invite you to read more about the goals for the center and to get involved in our work.  Please  if you have ideas about programming, want to nominate a teacher to be featured on our website, or if you want to contribute the resources available on the site.  We're looking forward to a great inaugural year and to growing the instructional development services we offer.


Featured Teacher: Jennifer HuntDr. Stacy Brown

Jennifer Hunt, MPH, CMRP (AHA-CC), RHA/ACLFA works with the College of Public Health as a Lecturer and MPH Advisor.

A turning point in Jennifer Hunt’s teaching came when she began to see teaching as a kind of conversation. In a conversation, both sides play an important role. Though the teacher may do more of the talking, the students have an important say as well. The conversational approach helps Hunt come out from behind the podium, meet students where they are and help them make meaningful connections with class content and each other. Conversation is also about caring. Jennifer puts a lot of attention into making her classroom one students want to walk into, one in which they feel immediately welcome and safe. Creating this kind of environment allows the messy but real elements of learning to emerge. This involves equal parts humility and humor. “I admit my own mistakes and limitations and show them I am human just like them. This helps them see they can do this too, and we can have some fun along the way!”

In her four years with the College of Public Health she has rarely done the same thing twice. As soon as she began teaching she poured herself into professional development opportunities and soon found a rich vein of research and best-practices to consider and adapt to her teaching. “It is a bit overwhelming at first, but every year I get a little braver in making small changes.” These changes are always in the direction of increasing student engagement and active learning. Small changes might be a new way of organizing groups, presenting examples from the field, incentivizing participation, or just getting students to talk. She typically follows the fifteen minute rule, chunking content lectures and interspersing opportunities for student feedback and activity. Sometimes small changes lead to larger innovation projects, such as when she successfully flipped a strategic planning class often perceived as rather tedious by students. The flipped class model allows teachers to devote more class time to problem solving, discussion, and structured group work.

Group work is one of the most important parts of any class Hunt teaches and she devotes considerable attention and organizational acumen to making students in her groups work well with each other. Using online survey tools and spreadsheets, she brings together individuals whose interests, personalities, and schedules sufficiently overlap. Within groups, each member is assigned a role and held accountable by having other members do peer evaluations which are figured into the overall grade for the project. One reason she goes to such lengths is that she knows from experience the importance of “soft skills” employers seek from graduates and she wants to give her students ample opportunity to develop these essential communication and empathy skills.
Graduation Cap RibbonHer experiences working in various roles in the healthcare industry informs her teaching practice. Graduates from Public Health go on to careers in roles such as hospital management, healthcare marketing, public health departments, and nonprofits. Hunt believes the time for students to start thinking and acting like professionals is now and so she designs her classes to include practical applications, case studies, and current events. Her guiding question for course design is: “What would I want to see if I was a student in this course?” One senior level course she has taught focused on current events in healthcare management and policy. Her approach here was to spend one class period introducing a particular issue and pre-assessing student background knowledge. For the next session an invited guest speaker with related professional experience would present their perspectives and invite discussion. Toward the end of the semester, students would group up and focus on an issue important to them and present it to the class.

The work Jennifer does in the classroom extends far beyond it. As both a lecturer and graduate advisor, she mentors and guides students both inside and outside the classroom, and students love her for it. As undergraduate Public Health major Casey Lunceford says, “Ms. Hunt goes beyond the normal duties of an instructor to ensure we, as students, are getting a world-class education. I have had the privilege of having her not only as a professor, but as a mentor and role-model during my academic career. No matter the situation or circumstances, Ms. Hunt works hard to make us successful students in-and-outside-of the classroom by acknowledging our academic and personal lives and feats. She embodies the true qualities of a great professor."

 

By Phil Smith

The Center for Teaching Excellence will feature a different faculty member each month.  If you'd like to nominate a teacher to be featured on the site, contact .

See past featured teachers here.

 

Conference for High-Impact Instructional Practices (CHIIPs)

Igniting the Spark of Learning

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

8:30 am - 4:00 pm

ETSU's Millennium Center

Early registration* until March 15, 2019

Featuring Keynote Speaker

Dr. Sarah Cavanagh

Dr. Cavanagh

*Early registration entitles you to attend the late afternoon workshop also held by Dr. Cavanagh,
2:30 - 4:00.  

*Registration is Free*

Register soon - Space is limited!

Click here to Register

Conference Website

 

 

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