Lessons Learned: Faculty and Staff Share Ideas and Innovations

As part of the year-long initiative, the Reich College of Education’s Response Team held an Innovation Café on Monday, April 19, 2021, via Zoom. Utilizing the World Café method, the event provided an opportunity for faculty and staff to showcase innovative practices as well as a space to discuss the next steps on how to sustain the ideas. Faculty, staff, students, and community partners attended the event.

“We invent the future ourselves. We want to make that visible and nurture solutions.”

“We invent the future ourselves,” said Dr. Vachel Miller, director of the doctoral program and co-chair of the Response Team. “We want to make that visible and nurture solutions.”

At the table

Normally held around a physical table, the World Café discussion methodology is a way to bring diverse groups of people together in order to foster purposeful and collaborative conversations of depth.

The following faculty and staff served as catalysts for the conversation, highlighting their innovative practices:

  • Dr. Elizabeth Bellows, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and RCOE Inclusive Excellence Faculty Fellow, presented on Inclusive Excellence initiatives the college engaged in through the past year.
  • Dr. Amy Cheney, professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies and director of RCOE Digital Teaching and Learning, presented on the Tech for Equity initiatives.
  • Tammie Gelderman, administrative support associate in the Office of the Dean and a staff senator, presented on the efforts to move the annual Staff Senate Silent Auction to a virtual platform.
  • Dr. Susan Hedges, assistant professor in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education and director of the Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program (SDAP), presented on how SDAP continued to meet the needs of their students.
  • Dr. Amy Milsom, professor and chair in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling, presented on a collaboration the department and the Academy at Middle Fork for navigating students’ social-emotional needs.
  • Dr. Chris Osmond, associate professor in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies and associate director of the Doctoral Program, presented on the Sustainable Practice Seminar Series he facilitated during the spring 2021 semester.
  • Dr. Hannah Reeder, assistant dean, and Diane Wilcox, early field experience coordinator, presented on virtual field experiences students completed.
  • Ike Smith, director of the James Center for Student Success and Advising, Mel Falck, academic advisor, and Stephanie Moretz, scholarship coordinator and accelerated admissions recruiter, presented on the Center’s initiatives and activities for student engagement.
  • Dr. Amie Snow, director of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian State University’s Academy at Middle Fork, presented on the Academy’s transition to remote teaching and learning and transition back to in-person instruction.
  • Dr. Devery Ward, associate professor and director of the Anderson Reading Clinic, Dr. Beth Buchholz, assistant professor, and Dr. Jason DeHart, assistant professor, - all in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education - presented on the Literacy Cast, collaborative, interactive literacy experiences held online via Zoom. 

Next steps

Dr. Tracy Smith, professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and RCOE Faculty Fellow for Mentoring Initiatives, concluded the event with next steps with an invitation to continue the conversation and sharing of ideas in future Innovation Cafés. 

About the Response Team

As part of the planning process for the return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, the RCOE created a task force to develop strategies and ideas to address the areas of facility needs, curriculum and instruction needs, community engagement needs, and socio-emotional needs.

The Response Team, which comprises representatives from all RCOE departments, has evolved and shifted its focus from logistics to socio-emotional well-being to now integrating innovative practices into our teaching, learning, and working.

Innovative Thinking
Published: Apr 27, 2021 2:37pm