The Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning honored 16 Certificate in University Teaching Skills recipients and 11 Foundations Certificate in University Teaching Skills recipients at our Spring Ceremony on Friday, May 2, 2014. After warm welcomes from Dr. Debra Lohe, Director of the Reinert Center and Dr. Michael Lewis, Associate Vice-President for Faculty Development, keynote speaker, Dr. Shawn Nordell, professor in the Department of Biology, spoke about the rewards of risking failure in teaching and learning to the recipients, friends, and family in attendance.
During Nordell’s address, she reflected on the idea that faculty and students alike learn a great deal from failure. Drawing from her experiences teaching in the Learning Studio as an Innovative Teaching Fellow this semester, Nordell discussed how the hypotheses students make about animal behavior often fail when the students witness that actual behavior out in the field. Because Nordell creates space for failure in her class, however, students are able to learn much more from their experiences and to see their knowledge grow through perseverance. That perseverance, she states, then also translates into recognizing the value of feedback on writing and patience in composing multiple drafts of papers as well.
As Lohe reminded the attendees in her closing remarks, the requirements for the Certificate in University Teaching Skills are themselves learning experiences that help participants to make deliberate and intentional choices about teaching, much like the ideas shared in Nordell’s address. Friday’s ceremony acknowledged the time and commitment these participants gave to earning one of the Certificates. We also celebrated the dedication to teaching and learning, shown by those faculty members who served as teaching mentors.
For more information about our certificates visit http://slu.edu/cttl/programs-and-services/certificate-programs.