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Rutgers University-Newark Faculty Receive National Credential in Teaching Excellence

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Instructors honored during campus-wide celebration for their commitment to student success

May 16, 2018—Rutgers University-Newark’s leadership team, including Chancellor Nancy Cantor, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Jerome Williams, Executive Vice Chancellor Sherri-Ann P. Butterfield, and Vice Chancellor for Planning and Implementation Bonita Veysey, commended faculty for their dedication to students during a campus-wide ceremony last Friday recognizing instructors who earned a national credential in effective instruction through a program offered by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) in collaboration with the American Council on Education (ACE).

Photo Credit: Bria Williams

“Being able to offer this resource to all our instructional staff really reflects our commitment and the value we place on you and the rest of the teaching faculty,” Dr. Butterfield said. “We deeply believe in you and your ability to teach the next generation of leaders.”

The event was hosted by the University’s P3 Collaboratory for Pedagogy, Professional Development, and Publicly-Engaged Scholarship, a comprehensive faculty development center that supports excellence in teaching, scholarship, and leadership while maintaining a healthy work-life balance for the emerging and existing professoriate. The P3 Collaboratory partnered with ACUE to equip faculty with the instructional skills that promote student motivation, learning, and persistence through ACUE’s course in the foundations of effective college instruction, which leads to a credential co-endorsed by ACUE and ACE.

Although Rutgers University-Newark is, first and foremost, a research university, Dr. Butterfield was clear that teaching is a top priority.

“I fundamentally believe that being a great teacher makes all of us great researchers,” Dr. Butterfield said. “It is our duty as academics to share the knowledge that we’ve acquired through experiments, archival work, painting, statistics, et cetera, to others in order to further our work. Teaching facilitates the process by helping the next generation of scientists, journalists, accountants, graphic designers, and/or public administrators. You all clearly understand that, and I applaud you for taking active measures to become better scholars.”

In keeping with the P3’s mission to bring scholars together across discipline, rank, and professional boundaries to engage in communities of scholarship, the credentialed instructors included tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty, as well as professional staff and graduate students from a range of disciplines, all who found the recommended practices from ACUE’s course relevant to their teaching.

Photo Credit: Bria Williams

“I teach in a prison where I have no access to PowerPoints and I teach three-hour classes. I need different ways to engage students,” said Dr. Michael Simmons, senior program director at Rutgers’ Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, who earned his ACUE credential in the fall. “I was so fascinated by the … research on attention spans, because you see it both when you’re teaching and as a student, and incorporating that knowledge changes the way you teach.”

Participating faculty members shared detailed accounts about how the course not only has changed their teaching practices but also impacted their students.

“I used the midsemester practice of Start-Stop-Continue for the first time while engaged in the ACUE course,” said Dr. Ashaki Rouff, Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. “It put me in a position to really figure out what was working and what wasn’t working and what I could change, and the students really loved it. They really felt that they were a part of the course. They were part of the entire process, they were engaged, and they were empowered.”

“For the past two years I’ve taught, I’ve had great student evaluations, and the ACUE course is part of that,” added Dr. Binneh Minteh, an adjunct professor in the School of Public Affairs and Administration. “This course helps the teacher to effectively harness the potential of students in the classroom—to help students be able to take ownership and leadership in and outside of the classroom.”

ACUE’s course in the foundations of effective college instruction is based on more than three decades of research that shows effective teaching improves learning for all students. Aligned with the latest research in cognition and adult learning, the course addresses over 200 evidence-based teaching practices covering how to: design an effective course, establish a productive learning environment, use active learning techniques, promote higher order thinking, and utilize assessments to inform instruction and promote learning.

The ACUE course requirement for participants to apply teaching practices in their classes prompts instructors to observe and reflect on how they transform students’ learning experiences.

“By completing the course, I came to think differently about how I impact student engagement,” said Dr. Audrey Redding-Raines, a teaching instructor in the Department of Social Work. “In using new practices like the Fishbowl technique, students got to hear other students’ worldviews. If they missed something from the readings, they got to hear it from someone else. Students come to class asking to do Fishbowl discussions. Taking this course is the best thing I’ve done.”

And why should experienced faculty participate in this program? Longtime faculty member, Dr. Robert Snyder, Professor of Journalism and American Studies, reflects, “As a professor who studied the art of teaching in the ACUE program, I remembered what it was like to be a student and [this course] strengthened my ability to work with students today. I recommend the course to anyone who wants to make the most of their time in the classroom.”

Rutgers University-Newark has had five cohorts of coursetakers complete the ACUE program and is prepared to credential many more faculty in the coming years as the P3 Collaboratory continues to build a culture of teaching excellence at the University. Dr. Butterfield sees this initiative as a way for faculty to contribute to society as they change students’ lives beyond the classroom.

“Your learning and your teaching will have a huge impact not just on all of our students but will also have a greater societal impact as others see the brilliance that our students bring to the table,” Dr. Butterfield said. “You helped to do that. You are an educator and a social change agent.”

About Rutgers University-Newark

Rutgers University - Newark is a diverse, urban, public research university that is an anchor institution in New Jersey’s cultural capital.  Nearly 13,000 students are currently enrolled at its 38-acre campus in a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered through the Newark College of Arts and Sciences, University College, the Graduate School-Newark, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick, the Rutgers Law School, the School of Criminal Justice, and the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

At a historical moment when our cities, our state, our nation, and our world desperately need higher education to fulfill its promise as an engine of discovery, innovation, and social mobility. Rutgers University – Newark is exceptionally well positioned to fulfill that promise. It has a remarkable legacy of producing high-impact scholarship that is connected to the great questions and challenges of the world. It has the right mix of disciplines and first-rate interdisciplinary centers and institutes to take on those questions and challenges.  It is in and of a city and region where its work on local challenges undertaken with partners from many sectors resonates powerfully throughout our urbanizing world.  Most importantly, Rutgers University – Newark brings an incredible diversity of people to this work—students, faculty, staff, and community partners—making it more innovative, more creative, more engaging, and more relevant for our time and the times ahead.  For more information please visit www.newark.rutgers.edu.

About ACUE

 The Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) believes that all college students deserve an extraordinary education and that faculty members play a critical role in their success. In partnership with institutions of higher education nationwide, ACUE supports and credentials faculty members in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that drive student engagement, retention, and learning. Faculty members who complete ACUE courses earn certificates in effective college instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education. ACUE’s Community of Professional Practice connects college educators from across the country through member forums, podcasts, and updates on the latest developments in the scholarship of teaching and learning. To learn more, visit acue.org.

Rutgers University-Newark Contact: Santeka Grigley, 973-353-2881, santeka.grigley@rutgers.edu
ACUE Contact: Julie Candio Sekel, 201-694-6180, jcandiosekel@acue.org