Three of 14 faculty members recently selected for the Montana University System’s (MUS) 2020 Teaching Scholars come from MSU. The program, now in its second year, recognizes faculty members from across the state who have made exemplary contributions to teaching and learning. The professors chosen from MSU by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education are Paul Gannon, professor of chemical and biological engineering, Wan-Yuan Kuo, assistant professor of health and human development and Meta Newhouse, professor of graphic design.

“MSU is honored to have three members of our faculty chosen for this important program,” MSU Provost Robert Mokwa said to MSU News Service. “Their innovation and dedication to instructional excellence will inspire others and enhance the educational opportunities for our students and for students across Montana.” 

Each year, the program designates a theme that conveys innovative approaches to teaching and also aligns with MUS learning priorities. This year’s theme is “Equity-Minded Pedagogies.” To address injustices present in classrooms, scholars will strive to narrow gaps in equity by making Montana’s public education more accessible and valuable for all students. “For me, that means working on how to decolonize our curriculum at MSU,” Newhouse said. “For the student that would mean they are challenged to see history, society and their own disciplines of study through a much broader lens.” 

Throughout the coming year, these scholars will be challenged to design and facilitate a faculty learning community (FLC) by developing and sharing strategies to improve student learning and success. Scholars will participate in system-wide activities such as speaker series. During the spring semester, each scholar will lead faculty on their home campus to develop these effective teaching practices.

Scholars will receive a $1,500 award as well as a $500 stipend to organize the faculty learning community on their campus. Scholars will be funded through support from the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and the Lumina Foundation.

Scholar Paul Gannon, Ph.D. shares what strategies he has incorporated in past classes and his current ideas on how to improve student learning and success. “I aim to incorporate research-driven pedagogies into all of my classes and strive to foster student success – however they define it,” Gannon said to the Exponent. “Decades of disciplinary-based education research have identified efficacious approaches to teaching and learning; the effective application of this research into educational practices is one of my interests.”

The scholars will hold the annual MUS Teaching and Learning Symposium starting in fall 2021. To view the other 11 scholars selected for this program from the MUS, visit https://mus.edu/che/arsa/mus-teaching-scholars/teaching-scholars-announced_2020.html.

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