Newest Teaching Fellows Immersed in Research
Dr. Fergal O’Hagan and Dr. Theresa Stotesbury, both of whom were appointed to three-year terms as teaching fellows in December 2018, are deeply engaged in their new roles as champions and scholars of exemplary teaching and learning at Trent University. Working closely with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the new fellows are set to advance teaching and learning, particularly in the fields of Psychology and Forensic Chemistry.
Tackling the Anxiety of Statistics Head-On
Dr. O’Hagan, professor in the Psychology department, is focusing on improving the student learning experience in upper-year undergraduate psychology statistics through the development, implementation and evaluation of an active, problem-based learning approach focusing on real-world data problems. Psychology students need to be able to work with data in their upper-year studies and in employment settings, yet statistics is a particular struggle for many students. Students often experience anxiety and fear and fail to see the relevance of statistical knowledge and skills.
Through the work of being a fellow, Prof. O’Hagan is aiming to improve the students’ overall motivation and ability to approach data problems by helping students develop understanding and technical skills through active, problem-based learning strategies that use problems relevant to contemporary issues in Psychology.
“I am delighted to be selected as a Trent Teaching Fellow among a number of esteemed colleagues. Trent has a strong focus on the student experience, and I hope that, through my fellowship project, I will be able to share my experience and contribute to my department and the University’s ongoing focus on improving the learning experience of our students,” explained Prof. O’Hagan.
Bringing Augmented Reality to the Classroom
Dr. Stotesbury, a senior lecturer in both the Chemistry and Forensic Science departments, is focusing on investigating the efficacy of implementing augmented reality technologies into her forensic chemistry laboratories. Her research in experiential learning is situated at the interface between the fundamental (chemistry) and the applied (forensic science) and she is hoping to learn how chemical knowledge and the environment can affect evidence collection and processing at the crime scene and in the laboratory.
Professor Stotesbury is in the process of creating and evaluating laboratories housed in augmented reality where students will experience “real-world” forensic scenarios, such as drugs, post-blast, and arson, without obvious health and safety concerns. These scenarios will provide students with an opportunity to explore how fundamental concepts in chemistry are useful and directly applicable to the practical aspects of crime scene investigation.
“I am looking forward to this Teaching Fellowship and to exploring the role of visualization in the classroom. I value innovative and interdisciplinary research projects, and I anticipate that my work will provide alternative solutions and accessible content to students at Trent University” said Prof. Stotesbury about the fellowship.
The Trent Teaching Fellowships provide an opportunity for faculty to pursue meaningful and sustained initiatives in the areas of teaching, leadership, innovation, and scholarship. Each teaching fellow receives a one-time grant of $6,000 to support their project over a three-year period. Funding for the teaching fellowships is provided by the generosity of an anonymous donor.
The teaching fellowships offer a catalyst for change and innovation in teaching and learning within Trent while providing Teaching Fellows an opportunity for educational leadership. The Teaching Fellowship program is designed to elevate the status of teaching while positively impacting student learning, engagement, retention, and success.
Posted on March 25, 2019