UWF focuses on high impact practices at Faculty Forum

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

To kick off the Fall 2013 semester, the University of West Florida recently hosted its annual Faculty Forum to highlight the ways in which faculty are incorporating high-impact practices in the classroom and beyond.

The forum, which featured a guest speaker and a faculty panel discussion, focused on increasing student engagement through educational practices such as learning communities, service learning, internships and more.

Speaker Allison BrckaLorenz works as an assistant research scientist at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, which produces the National Survey of Student Engagement. During her presentation, she focused on the effectiveness of high-impact practices to increase student participation and interaction, as well as overall GPAs and graduation rates.

Following the presentation, UWF faculty members provided brief descriptions of high-impact practices they are currently implementing in their respective programs. Dr. Stacie Whinnery, interim dean of the College of Professional Studies, said she was encouraged by the number of projects that were shared during the exercise.

“It was very inspiring to hear from more than 30 faculty members who shared their experiences with high-impact practice,” she said. “Feedback from the attendees was very positive with many requests for additional opportunities to share across departments and colleges.”

Examples of UWF initiatives that were shared include:

Collaborative Assignments: Matthew Ruckman, instructor in the Health, Leisure and Exercise Science department, engaged students in his Sports Media Management course by having students create Fantasy Football teams, which they had to promote using team blogs, feature articles and other marketing tools.

Diversity/Global Learning: Felicia Morgan, associate professor in the Department of Marketing and Economics, created an immersive learning experience for a group of UWF students who traveled to Hong Kong this summer. The trip provided valuable insight into international business practice and global marketing.

Learning Communities: The Honors Program, led by Director Greg Lanier, features reserved housing in Pace Hall for student members, as well linked classes that students take together to promote integration and interaction with their peers and professors.

Additional projects are currently being implemented across UWF’s campus to incorporate high-impact learning, such as writing-intensive courses, undergraduate research opportunities and service learning.

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