Assistant Professor Allison Gladfelter provides her students with a healthy dose of engaged learning activities. That’s why her colleagues from the Department of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders nominated her to be recognized as an engaged learning exemplar for her outstanding commitment to engaged learning, teaching and scholarship.
“Engaged learning stimulates interest, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity,” says Gladfelter. “For my students, I believe incorporating engaged learning has helped them to see real-life applications and value to the course content. Because I am preparing future health care professionals, my hope is that this will lead to the formation of better care for those in our communities in the future.”
Gladfelter layers her teaching by incorporating team-based activities into every class at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She follows each activity with a ‘debrief’ discussion linking the activity back to course material. And then she follows up with an assignment that each student does independently after having practiced it with their teams.
“For example,” says Gladfelter, “my graduate students recently worked within their teams to practice critically evaluating research on a variety of language interventions. Then, each student had to find, evaluate and synthesize literature to answer a new health care-based question independently. Finally, each student presented their clinically driven research findings at a small research conference that I hosted at NIU that offered continuing education units for regional practicing clinicians.
“By incorporating engaged learning techniques into my classes,” she continues, “I enjoy teaching more. This way, each class is a joint-learning effort, and the students take more responsibility for their own ability to learn course content, rather than relying on me as their sole source of information.”
Join Gladfelter, along with other faculty, staff and students for the first Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference. This new event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, and uncovers and recognizes the faculty perspective of collaborations with students and community partners. Several faculty and staff will present on best practices in engaged learning, teaching and scholarship in the Holmes Student Center. All are welcome to attend; registration is open online.
Co-sponsors of the Engaged Learning, Teaching and Scholarship Conference are the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning; the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center; the College of Business Experiential Learning Center; and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
For more information, call 815-753-8154 or email [email protected].