New teaching program an eye opener

Theresa Edwards


Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

A campus teaching program is changing the role of students in the classroom. Professors are working on backing away from a straight lecture technique and moving toward letting students get more involved in their learning, said Shawn Banasick, assistant geography professor.

Banasick was accepted to the Teaching Scholars for Early Career Faculty for the 2002-2003 conference. The program is one of a dozen to get professors together and exchange ideas about teaching methods.

“One thing that came out of that was I started to rethink the way that I approached teaching and student relations,” Banasick said.

After he attended the program, Banasick said he changed his classroom activities so students were no longer passive and taking notes. This made communication easier.

“An indirect outcome of that was a reduction of that barrier between me and the students,” he said.

Whitney Dupra, early childhood education major, took one of Banasick’s geography courses as a liberal education requirement.

“I wasn’t too pumped about it,” she said. “I got in there an he opened my eyes. I fell in love with geography.”

His class is interactive, and he pushes the concepts more than just memorizing the facts, Dupra said.

“He’s been the most influential teacher,” she said. “If they don’t get it, he’s going to change something so they do.”

This is one way the program helps the professor and student relationship.

Albert Ingram, interim director of the Faculty Professional Development Center in Moulton Hall, runs the program for the faculty.

He feels the program has been successful and said it improves the quality of teaching and helps in professional development as well.

Professors have to apply for the program, though it’s specifically for faculty who have not received tenure yet.

The program usually gets about eight to 12 applicants, and Ingram tries to accept everyone who applies.

Contact features reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].