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A&S Faculty Members Among CELT 2021-22 Teaching Innovation Institute Faculty Cohort

By Trey Conatser

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 3, 2021) — Of its many effects, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about rapid innovations in teaching. Courses were redesigned for a range of delivery modes to in-person and remote students (often at the same time) and the conversation about active learning, class community and belonging took on new urgency as the challenges of the pandemic amplified the barriers — systemic and discrete — to student engagement, motivation and success.

Cohort members include Ruth Brown, senior lecturer Hispanic Studies; Anushka Karkelanova, lecturer, Statistics; Katherine Paullin, lecturer Mathematics; Elizabeth Williams, assistant professor, Gender and Women’s Studies; and Heather Worne, assistant professor, Anthropology. 

Innovation, of course, is a long-term project whose importance is further underscored by the past 15 months. In February 2020, just before the shift to emergency remote instruction, the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching launched the Teaching Innovation Institute, a yearlong, cohort-based program for exploring, experimenting, reflecting on and implementing innovative and inclusive teaching methods. Coordinated by Jill Abney, the institute involves interdisciplinary and cross-college collaboration among the cohort as well as a partnership with the UK Smart Campus Initiative through which faculty participants receive iPads for the development of digital activities, assignments and curricula. Despite the twists and turns of 2020, the institute’s first faculty cohort persisted and thrived as a learning community.

After soliciting applications during the spring semester, CELT is pleased to announce the second cohort of the Teaching Innovation Institute. During the 2021-22 academic year, these teacher-scholars will learn with and from each other as we look to the futures of teaching and learning at UK and for higher education as a whole. Their work embodies the faculty-driven spirit of our institution as well as its teaching mission in the Commonwealth and beyond.

The selection process was highly competitive, based on how plans for innovation would impact student learning in meaningful and diverse ways, address classroom challenges and barriers to learning, and prompt the design and implementation of curricula, activities and assignments based on principles of inclusive and digital pedagogies. CELT looks forward to working with the 2021-22 cohort as they address teaching practices and pedagogical commitments while also imagining new possibilities for student learning.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.