Assistant Professor of Biology at Salem State University
What motivated you to start participating in Delta?
I came to my Ph.D. program in Zoology after teaching high school for two years. My goal had always been to teach undergrads after getting my Ph.D. so I was thrilled to find that I could continue to get teaching professional development while completing my Zoology coursework and research. To have that PD formalized with the Delta Certificate was such a great opportunity. Delta also provided a much needed community of people who were interested in human connection and learning.
What programming from Delta helped you become a more effective and evidence-based educator?
Coursework related to backwards design, constructivist and learner-centered approaches, and inclusive pedagogy were critical foundations. Being introduced to the scholarly literature of education and SOTL research has been so helpful for my teaching and scholarship
What did you learn about inclusive teaching practices at Delta?
My Delta Internship focused on creating a course about inclusive teaching for trainees. Taking a deep-dive into the literature and considering how to provide meaningful professional development that helped trainees examine themselves in addition to their students and their pedagogy was so helpful for my teaching. Inclusive teaching is a main area of my scholarly activity as a professor on the tenure-track, and my Delta internship project definitely set me on that path.
How did the Delta Internship impact your approach to teaching and learning?
My internship experience provided an opportunity to design a course in collaboration with fellow graduate students and Delta staff. This collaborative experience was very valuable and I learned so much about how to use a backwards-design approach to articulate learning objectives for a whole course, design assessments, and select readings and activities. I use those skills today as an instructor. Participating in the internship seminar, I learned how to design and assess a SoTL research project for the first time. I was exposed to the scholarly literature and many forms of assessment and study design that I use both in my teaching and my research, as well as in work within my department and institution to make curricular and program changes.
How did Delta programming shape your work as a mentor and advisor?
The advising course was really helpful for informing my mentoring of undergraduate research assistants, both in terms of how I facilitate projects and also how I communicate and connect with advisees.
How did Delta help prepare you for the academic job market?
Delta courses and the Certificate defense were incredibly helpful in preparing for the job market, writing a teaching philosophy, and interviewing. Having a theoretical foundation about teaching and learning and practice viewing and talking about teaching in a scholarly way (with an ability to produce artifacts that exemplified various practices/philosophies) was so helpful when applying to PUIs. Writing the portfolio and doing the defense was great practice for preparing faculty applications. This gave me experience talking about my evidence-based teaching decisions rooted in the literature, using student data to evaluate learning objectives, and identifying artifacts related to good teaching.
This alum is open to be contacted for informational interviews. Please email Devin Wixon at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in connecting.