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MTSU faculty members ‘get in the know’...

MTSU faculty members ‘get in the know’ with MT Engage Summer Institute

Dr. Michael Sherr, chair of the MTSU Department of Social Work, sat among his colleagues in the James E. Walker Library conference room Thursday to discuss why students need hands-on experience no matter what field of study.

“Social work is a field where everything students learn in undergrad, in general education courses, (they) actually will use,” said Sherr, one of about 30 MTSU faculty participating in the 2017 MT Engage Summer Institute.

MT Engage, the university’s most recent Quality Enhancement Plan, urges faculty to teach students learning through experience, and the day-and-a-half institute that ended Friday provides training sessions to instruct them on how best to do so.

MT Engage Summer Institute 2017

MT Engage Leadership Team chair Dianna Rust conducts a training session on integrative thinking Thursday, May 11, during the 2017 MT Engage Summer Institute held in the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center conference room at the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)

At Day 1 held Thursday, May 11, at the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center conference room in Walker Library, faculty and staff representatives recalled their own learning experiences outside of the classroom and recounting how this has been applied to other aspects of life.

Applied learning is a skill used often by the MT Engage program to help students receive maximum results from the MT Engage-based courses they take. Almost 1,900 students were enrolled during fall semester in MT Engage courses.

MTSU’s latest QEP gives the option to “see connections between different academic disciplines while increasing student motivation,” said Dr. Dianna Rust, MT Engage Leadership Team chair and associate professor in University Studies.

Rust opened the training session by asking faculty members what “interactive learning” means to them followed by an exercise where each participant paired up with someone and shared one real life experience where they took what they learned and applied it outside of the classroom.

Sherr recounted one of his integrative learning experiences — he was an undergraduate student trying to get an article published — and how it’s helped him apply academic disciplines across the board.

“It was like a game; it’s like a dance — editor, reviewer, writer,” Sherr said. “I thought it was like this objective thing, but it taught me more about what audience I’m writing to.”

The idea Rust used while giving tips on how teachers could ignite the interest of students was challenging them. “We learn more when challenged,” she said.

Upholding the MT Engage motto of “engage academically, learn exponentially, showcase yourself,” the term “productive struggle” is something the group of faculty and staff encouraged each other to use instead of “failure” whenever assessments or evaluations are distributed to students during the course of learning.

MT Engage Faculty Fellow Director Mary Hoffschwelle holds these MT Engage summer institutes once a year to help faculty understand how they can incorporate MT Engage’s concepts and practices to their own courses.

Professor Michael Sherr, chair of the MTSU Department of Social Work

Professor Michael Sherr, chair of the MTSU Department of Social Work, takes notes Thursday, May 11, during the 2017 MT Engage Summer Institute held in the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center conference room at the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)

“Seeing this many faculty members reinforces my belief that they truly are committed to student learning and are anxious to find ways to promote a sense of an academic community,” Hoffschwelle said.

Sherr explained different connections between academic disciplines that students in social work in particular need when taking what they learn in general education classes and applying it to real life situations.

“Take a fine arts course. They may have clients where that’s how they communicate and develop a core connect with them, through art,” he said, adding that it’s best for students to know about different perspectives and cultures in addition to their field of study.

Other topics covered during the training included e-Portfolio training, student support services, beyond the classroom activities and value establishment.

MTSU students will be able to learn more about the benefits about the MT Engage program and its future during MT Engage Week, which will be held in September and during CUSTOMS new student orientation.

The Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, is a requirement set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutes in the South.

For more information about MT Engage, visit http://mtsu.edu/mtengage, email mtengage@mtsu.edu or call 615-904-8281.

— Jayla Jackson (news@mtsu.edu)

MT Engage Leadership Team chair Dianna Rust, left, conducts a training session

MT Engage Leadership Team chair Dianna Rust, left, conducts a training session on integrative thinking Thursday, May 11, during the 2017 MT Engage Summer Institute held in the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center conference room at the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by Jayla Jackson)


MT Engage seeks more MTSU faculty buy-in with summer institute

May 10, 2017

MTSU continues its push for more interactive teaching inside and outside the classroom with its 2017 MT Engage Summer Institute for interested faculty.

MT Engage, the university’s latest Quality Enhancement Plan, is hosting a day and a half training session for over 30 faculty members to enhance the skills needed while teaching MT Engage-related courses.

Training sessions will be held all day Thursday, May 11, and wrap up with a half-day of activities Friday, May 12, at the Learning, Teaching, and Innovative Technologies Center conference room located in the James E. Walker Library. Topics covered in breakout sessions include integrative thinking, e-Portfolio training, rubrics, beyond the classroom activities and student support services.

Dr. Mary S. Hoffschwelle

“The Summer Institute offers faculty the chance to learn more about the MT Engage program, especially its focus on integrative thinking and reflection across academic experiences,” MT Engage Faculty Fellow Director Mary Hoffschwelle said.

“Faculty will use information and ideas from institute sessions to certify their courses in the MT Engage program.

“The MT Engage designation means that the faculty who teach that course use high-impact teaching practices, beyond-the-classroom experiences, and reflection to support integrative thinking. MT Engage faculty create what we call a ‘signature assignment’ for their course that students save in their D2L e-Portfolios to document their integrative learning.

While selecting classes for the school year, MTSU students have the opportunity to enroll in courses that involve taking a step out of the classroom and into the world of integrative thinking. This involves making connections between different academic disciplines, ranging from biology to business administration.

MT Engage allows students to take what they know and utilize that knowledge in scenarios not specifically related to their field of study.

Hoffschwelle and Dr. Mark Byrnes, interim university provost, are set to open the training with welcome remarks followed by 20-minute to one-hour sessions led by MTSU faculty and staff representatives throughout the summer institute.

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

“Faculty are passionate about teaching and student learning,” said Hoffschwelle. “Many MTSU faculty members already use high-impact teaching practices such as experiential learning, problem-based learning, collaborative projects, and Reacting to the Past games.

“MT Engage interests faculty because the program supports their efforts to help students build connections between the general education program and their major as well as their co-curricular activities.”

The motto of MT Engage is “engage academically, learn exponentially, showcase yourself.” It fulfills the QEP requirement set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, the regional accreditation body for higher education institutes in the South.

For more information about MT Engage, visit http://mtsu.edu/mtengage, email mtengage@mtsu.edu or call 615-904-8281.

— Jayla Jackson (news@mtsu.edu)


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