Dr Mary Deane SORCINELLI
University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
With growing pressures for accountability, reduced funding, competition from alternative providers, and serious questions about how to meet the challenges of a changing workforce, these are difficult times for higher education. But there is good news as well, as the focus on teaching and learning assumes a much more prominent place on the academic landscape.
Many colleges and universities today have established centers for teaching excellence that support the work of faculty looking to improve their students’ learning. A growing number of campuses are actively gathering evidence of student learning to guide innovation and improvement. Many campuses have also worked to reshape rewards and incentives in ways that encourage faculty to spend time and intellectual effort improving the learning experience of their increasingly diverse students. And all of this work has taken on greater urgency as higher education confronts the social imperative to support the success of all students—especially those that have not traditionally been well served by colleges and universities.
New classroom practices, though critical, are not enough to meet the challenges facing higher education. This keynote highlights the importance of a larger context—a campus culture—in which teaching and learning are a focus of sustained attention, inquiry, and improvement by all members of the campus community. But what are the distinguishing features of such a culture and how are such cultures built, nurtured, and sustained? In this session, we will 1) identify the critical, defining indicators of a culture of teaching and learning; 2) explore levers for cultivating such a culture in ways that respect disciplinary differences; and 3) strategize about opportunities for strengthening a culture that supports powerful and equitable learning for all members of the campus community: students, faculty, and staff.
Dr. Mary Deane SORCINELLI is Co-PI, Undergraduate STEM Education Initiative, Association of American Universities (AAU) and Senior Fellow, Institute for Teaching Excellence & Faculty Development, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Previous roles include Associate Provost, Professor, and Founding Director, Center for Teaching & Faculty Development, UMass Amherst and Director, Office of Faculty Development, Indiana University Bloomington.
Mary Deane’s research is in the areas of faculty professional development, mentoring, scholarly writing, improvement of teaching and learning, and the role of teaching centers in fostering 21st century faculty learning. She has published over 100 articles, book chapters and books, most recently co-authoring A Center for Teaching and Learning Matrix (2018). She has co-directed and advised grant-funded projects aimed at promoting educational innovation for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Microsoft, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Mary Deane served as President of the Professional and Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education, the oldest and largest faculty professional development association in the world. She was honoured with the Spirit of POD Award for outstanding lifetime achievement and leadership in faculty development. She served as Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Mount Holyoke College and Senior Scholar, American Association for Higher Education (AAHE). She has worked in some 15 countries and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist to Education City, Qatar, a Distinguished Visiting Professor, American University in Cairo, Egypt, and a Whiting Foundation Fellow, National University of Ireland Galway.
Mary Deane holds an M.A. in English Literature from Mount Holyoke College and an ED.D. in Educational Policy from UMass Amherst.