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Emerson Faculty Share Innovative Teaching and Learning Projects

Emerson College faculty showcased their innovative teaching and learning projects from the past year at the second annual Innovation@Emerson Faculty Showcase, held at the Bordy Theater on Wednesday.

The event, sponsored by the Iwasaki Library with the departments of Diversity and Inclusion, Internationalization and Global Engagement, Instructional Technology Group, and Academic Affairs, featured the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellows, the President’s Fund for Curricular Innovation: Internationalization Studio, PLANS for Information Literacy, Teaching Online @ Emerson, and Training Transformational Teachers.

“The programs showcased here are either team-based projects or professional development opportunities that the faculty members are getting from other on-campus programs like Academic Affairs and Instructional Technology Group, among others,” said Cate Hirschbiel, Iwasaki Library outreach coordinator.

Throughout the year, the faculty members collaborate with several departments across the College and integrate skills acquired from these programs in their classrooms.

“We want our students, who are enrolled in our courses, to be equipped with the ability to critically evaluate and find scientific information and literature,” said Jamie Lichtenstein, affiliated faculty member in the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies, who, along with her colleagues, worked on “Improving Literacy in Scientific Information.” “We are constantly reworking and collaborating to develop best practices for our students,” she said.

Melissa Daley, a Communication Studies affiliated faculty member, took part in the Training Transformational Teachers (TTT) program to develop strategies to connect with new-age learners.

“In TTT, we get coached on how to engage students effectively and work on their holistic development,” Daley said. “For instance, the 21st-century students are visual learners, so I decode long readings and documents into infographics to provide students with an overview through imagery.”

Katherine Faigen, affiliated faculty in the Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, echoed similar sentiments about PLANS for Information Literacy, which aims to get students to “engage more with text,” Faigen said.

“This was the first [time] I experimented in the classroom, and it was an eye-opening experience [that]  refocused my teaching approach,” she said. “I want to continue to apply these approaches in all my classes.”

Meanwhile, instructors for the training programs said it is inspiring to see professors working passionately to make their teaching styles creative, inclusive, and innovative.

“I want students to know that their teachers are investing a lot of time and effort in making their courses better,” said Pratt Bennet, director of the Training Transformational Teachers program and an assistant professor of liberal arts at Berklee College of Music. “Teachers that I work with invest their time because there is one student they haven’t reached, or there is one thing they want to do better. It is inspiring to see how much energy and hard work the professors at Emerson are putting in.”

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