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Professors reflect on their experiences

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Senior philosophy major Meaghan McHenry talks to the crowd about her experiences during CAFE’s Teaching Day event Monday in the Campus Center Ballroom. Teaching Day is an opportunity for students, alumni and professors to share the experiences they have had while teaching and learning. This year’s focus was faculty and student interaction outside of the classroom. The other students on the panel chosen by CAFE were Sarah Osuna, freshman speech communication major; Ava Jahanvash, 2014 alumna; Brittany Boiko, senior political science and speech communication major; and Ryanne Bible, senior speech communication major. / photo by Benjamin Camacho

Senior philosophy major Meaghan McHenry talks to the crowd about her experiences during CAFE’s Teaching Day event Monday in the Campus Center Ballroom. Teaching Day is an opportunity for students, alumni and professors to share the experiences they have had while teaching and learning. This year’s focus was faculty and student interaction outside of the classroom. The other students on the panel chosen by CAFE were Sarah Osuna, freshman speech communication major; Ava Jahanvash, 2014 alumna; Brittany Boiko, senior political science and speech communication major; and Ryanne Bible, senior speech communication major. / photo by Benjamin Camacho

Autumn Simon
Staff Writer

Faculty members and students discussed their most memorable teaching and learning experiences at the university, Monday during Teaching Day in the Campus Center Ballroom.

Approximately 22 people attended the event with 14 students and faculty members were on the panel to answer questions and share their experience.

“Teaching Day has been an event that La Verne has had for about 20 years ran by Al Clark (professor of humanities),” said Sammy Elzarka, director of the Center for the Advancement of Faculty Excellence.

“One of La Verne’s strengths is that this is a teaching university, so we honor teaching in a variety of ways, and we dedicated this day for faculty to share their strategies and accomplishments,” he said.

This year, the focus of Teaching Day was the interaction between students and faculty in and outside of the classroom.

The faculty panel began by explaining their opinions and experiences with different type of students.

Afterwards, the panel of students discussed their perspectives as students at La Verne.

“It is super cool to hear the professors’ perspective and compare it with ours,” freshman speech communication major Sarah Osuna said. “I like knowing that they actually listen to us, and because the professors are pretty serious, they want to make their class the best.”

The panel of faculty discussed ways to get students more involved by igniting interest in students to make education more relevant.

Associate Professor of Education Valerie Beltran told her experience with the “Your Opinion Counts” program, where on the first and last day of class, students get the opportunity to write about the professor and the course.

The difference between the program and the course evaluations was that their students were more honest in writing their experiences to the actual professor.

Beltran explained that programs like this and course evaluations break negative opinions about the relevancy of content.

In the writing department, professors are helping students understand their own skills and to constantly practice them in order to ultilize constructive feedback. Both the faculty and students believed that feedback helps students to reflect on their performance.

“I always appreciated my professors that look and critiques my papers,” alumna Ava Jahanvash said. “It shows that the professor is engaged in working and makes me want to put in more work for the grade.”

Faculty also found relevancy and reflection necessary to help students into the future to see how meaningful the content is.

The student panel agreed that collaborative work with professors has to do with the passion of professors.

“Usually if the professor has enough passion to teach a course it inspires students to fully comprehend and be able to apply,” Jahanvash said.

The students came up with a solution to make classes more comfortable and approachable for the faculty’s concern of students not really engaging in class. One student even suggested that professors giving quizzes at the end of every class help students reflect on topics and grasp information better.

Teaching Day has been a dedicated day at the University for years now and Elzarka believes that the day will continue expanding and strengthen the connection with students and faculty. For next year’s Teaching Day, Elzarka plans on trying to include more students into the panel and audience.

“I think we could always do a better job hearing the opinion of students,” Elzarka said.

“Here it was great to exchange ideas and compare experiences and I hope to expand on this event by adding more student‘s involvement.”

Autumn Simon can be reached at autumn.simon@laverne.edu.

Correction: November 20, 2015
In an earlier version of the photo caption for this story, senior philosophy major Meaghan McHenry’s name was misspelled and she was misidentified as a junior. The Campus Times regrets the error.

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