University of Delaware
From left, Jessica Edwards, Melissa Ianetta and Barret Michalec

Teaching and learning assessment

Three Faculty Scholars to work on projects promoting student academic success


4:17 p.m., June 25, 2014--The University of Delaware Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning (CTAL) has named three Faculty Scholars to work on special projects that promote academic success for all students. 

These Faculty Scholars are a part of a new CTAL program that has been introduced to support faculty-led projects responding to critical teaching, learning and assessment interests of UD. They also closely align with center goals of enriching teaching responsibilities of faculty and documenting teaching effectiveness. 

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The center will support the development and execution of Scholar projects, which will be shared with the UD community, in hopes of encouraging further exploration and the creation of growing networks of interest.

Jessica Edwards, assistant professor of English, will serve as the CTAL Diversity Scholar. Edwards’ project focuses on exploring inclusive teaching practices and approaches to teaching about diversity among UD faculty. The culmination of her work will be a repository of shared resources available to faculty through CTAL.

Edwards is committed to teaching and encouraging students to be critical scholars through engagement and conversations about social justice and inequality in society.  Similarly, her research agenda works to identify theories and practices to promote critically conscious pedagogies, particularly in the professional writing classroom. Her rich academic training, combined with her commitment to student development, research, service and pedagogy will support her project to examine innovative pedagogies that value diversity and inclusion. 

Melissa Ianetta, associate professor of English and director of the UD Writing Center, will serve as CTAL’s Assessment Scholar. Ianetta will conduct a longitudinal study that uses adapted American Association of Colleges and Universities rubrics applied to UD student work. Her results will be used to inform the University on how well students are acquiring the general education goals of written communication, oral communication, information literacy and critical thinking. 

Ianetta teaches classes in rhetoric and writing, and her work has appeared in several referred journals as well as several edited collections. Her most recent work includes: “What is an English Department?” and, with Lauren Fitzgerald, the forthcoming The Oxford Guide for Writing Tutors: Practice and Research. Fitzgerald and Ianetta also co-edited The Writing Center Journal.

Barret Michalec, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, will serve as a CTAL Scholar.  Focusing on multicultural courses, he will survey faculty and their students to examine course elements that support multicultural student learning outcomes. He ultimately hopes to be able to provide information to help faculty achieve multicultural learning goals ascribed for students.

Michalec’s research interests include examining the experiences of racially and ethnically underrepresented students. In addition, he focuses upon the socialization and professionalization mechanisms and processes within health care professions education, interactions within the health care setting, disparities in health and health care policy, and pro-social behavior and emotions.

Each of the CTAL scholars will play an integral part in advancing our understanding of effective teaching practices that support student success for our institution. Their work also supports UD's strategic plan and Path to Prominence, in addition to providing the documentation needed to prepare for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education five-year accreditation process.  

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