Instructor Day gets Commonwealth Campus faculty engaged for spring semester

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – In preparation for spring semester, more than 370 faculty from every Penn State campus across the Commonwealth recently participated in Instructor Day, a full day symposium intended to provide strategies and tools for success and energize faculty for the upcoming semester.

“The Commonwealth Connections Instructor Day highlighted the collaborative spirit of our University,” said Jennifer Keagy, senior director for statewide instructional design for the Commonwealth Campuses. “We heard wonderful ideas and strategies from our instructors, and the learning design community came together across the campuses to plan and host the event. In its inaugural event, Commonwealth Connections served over 370 faculty with representation in the presentations from all nineteen campuses, demonstrating that now more than ever we support one another even while we are apart.”

The 45-minute concurrent sessions featured 62 Penn State faculty instructors and focused on topics such as preserving and promoting faculty well-being, invigorating the teaching practice, learning and engagement, assessment and academic integrity and supporting students in new ways. Other workshop topics explored the technology support available to faculty including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Canvas.

Feedback from participants highlighted the helpfulness of the sessions and the relevancy of the topics. Faculty also praised the convenience of the virtual sessions, hopeful that future events will be presented via Zoom to reduce travel time and allow for other duties to continue while they participate in sessions.

“In light of the many changes and adjustments faculty and students have made as we have adapted to this new way of teaching and learning during the pandemic, I am pleased with the success of Instructor Day,” said Elizabeth Wright, associate dean for academic affairs in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses. “It is important for faculty to be able to share their experiences and expertise with each other. The positive response to this entire effort is illustrative of faculty commitment to continued excellence in teaching and willingness to come together to support each other through this time of remote learning.”

The day concluded with the opportunity for participants to learn about getting involved with Communities of Practice to remain connected with their faculty colleagues throughout the coming semester.

A listing of all programming available to faculty can be found on the Keep Teaching Webinar page, additional self-paced materials to assist instructors in planning courses can be found on the Keep Teaching Spring 2021 Planning page. To speak with a teaching consultant or a local learning designer about courses, faculty should consult the Keep Teaching Contacts and Support page