While students and faculty adjusted to a remote environment for teaching and learning throughout spring and summer term, top faculty from across the University, including two LeBow faculty members, worked to envision new approaches to instruction at Drexel.
Christopher Finnin, EdD, clinical professor of general business, and Dana D’Angelo, clinical professor of general business, participated in the Drexel Teaching and Learning Center’s first Drexel Teaching Academy, a 10-week program designed to develop best practices and foster knowledge sharing across colleges while developing pedagogical experts within the University.
Through the Academy, Finnin, D’Angelo and their colleagues engaged in an in-depth literature review on teaching and learning in higher education and considered ways to implement their findings at Drexel. Through interactive workshops held remotely during the spring term, Academy participants explored integrated course design, inclusive teaching, active learning and other foundational principles from the science of learning.
Johanna Inman, director of the Drexel Teaching and Learning Center, noted the knowledge shared during the Teaching Academy will have both immediate and long-lasting impact.
“These faculty are now more important than ever and help us focus on the core function of this institution: teaching and learning,” she said. “As we head into the fall, I am excited to have the support of these amazing faculty: first, for practical reasons, as they facilitate workshops and book groups to expand the Center’s programming, but namely, as leaders and champions for excellence in teaching among their colleagues and within their colleges, schools and departments.”
Finnin serves on the Teaching and Learning Center’s advisory board, so taking part in the Teaching Academy was a natural extension of his involvement.
“I’m always thinking about what the science behind teaching and learning means for me, for my students and for LeBow,” he said.
Both Finnin and D’Angelo have been frequent collaborators on research related to pedagogy and the science of teaching and were active in two earlier teaching endeavors: LeBow’s Center for Teaching Excellence and the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence.
D’Angelo notes that LeBow’s emphasis on teamwork, leadership and global and intercultural awareness is widely applicable in other colleges and disciplines.
“Teaching in a business environment can and does translate to all other fields,” she said. “Developing young leaders who can understand a global environment and a team setting is something we do really well at LeBow.”
Since the Teaching Academy ended in June, D’Angelo has facilitated two workshops for Drexel faculty: one on using peer leaders in the classroom, and the second on designing team projects for the remote environment. She will also be supporting the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Peer Review of Teaching for its faculty during fall term.
Finnin and D’Angelo both cite the late Thomas Hindelang, former LeBow vice dean and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, as inspiration for their dedication to teaching. Hindelang was instrumental in founding the Drexel Center for Academic Excellence, modeling it on LeBow’s Center for Teaching Excellence.
“Many of my colleagues have referred to Dr. Hindelang as the teacher’s teacher, and he inspired me to want to be a great educator,” Finnin said.
During the 2020-21 academic year, Finnin, D’Angelo and the other Academy participants will lead the creation of Faculty Learning Communities to facilitate further knowledge sharing and provide pedagogical support across the University.