• ‘School Within A School:’ How Baylor’s Academy for Teaching and Learning enriches BU profs

    Dr. Brooke Blevins meeting with students

    For generations, Baylor students have been blessed to learn from scores of teachers known for their ability to create memorable, effective learning environments. Teachers such as Ann Miller, Robert Reid, Rachel Moore and James Vardaman are Baylor legends for their work in the classroom; today, professors such as Gaynor Yancey and Corey Carbonara are spoken of in similar terms by students and recent graduates.

    Looking to the future, Baylor is actively working to develop the next generation of teaching legends through the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL) — a “school within a school” where Baylor faculty can find top educators ready to help them grow in the ways they help their own students learn and grow.

    The Academy for Teaching and Learning, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, was founded in 2008 to serve as a place to facilitate teacher development, foster dialogue, offer tools for feedback and share trends in higher education with Baylor professors — all within the framework of Baylor’s distinct caring community and Christian mission. There’s a mentorship aspect to the program, in that veteran teachers share what they’ve learned over the years with their colleagues through workshops and seminars across campus. And based on the rates in which Baylor professors are participating in these programs, there’s a hunger for learning just like you find in Baylor students; over the last five years, the number of faculty engaging with ATL has more than tripled.

    The ATL’s programs and events include the Baylor Fellows program, Provost’s Faculty Forum, Seminars for Excellence in Teaching, Foundations for Teaching Workshop, and Cherry Award Summit for Great Teaching. (Dr. Brooke Blevins, pictured above, is a senior fellow in the Baylor Fellows program.)

    Dr. Lenore Wright, MA ’95, director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning, described the “virtuous cycle” that ATL seeks to foster in a recent episode of the “Baylor Connections” podcast: “I interpret the virtuous cycle as the reciprocity between teaching and learning. We as faculty and teachers learn so that we can teach, and we teach so that students will learn. And it’s that cycle, that process of students and faculty coming together to form a community of learning, that sustains spontaneous learning.”

    Sic ’em, Baylor Academy for Teaching and Learning!

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