NMSU Teaching Academy an all-university resource for lifelong learning

March 14, 2012 by NMSU Staff NMSU@WORK

Tara Gray serves the NMSU community as the director of the Teaching Academy.

Tara Gray serves the NMSU community as the director of the Teaching Academy.

The Teaching Academy at the New Mexico State University Las Cruces campus has something to offer NMSU faculty, staff and graduate students across the state.

The Teaching Academy offers 10 thousand hours of training per year – for free. Some of the most popular offerings at the Teaching Academy are the one-time workshops, averaging about 150 per year.

Short courses are taught by Teaching Academy staff, along with David Smith, an NMSU faculty member from the chemistry department, and meet several times during a semester, according to Tara Gray, director of the Teaching Academy. Workshops meet once and are typically taught by NMSU educators, national experts and occasionally by Teaching Academy staff.

Available courses are listed on the Teaching Academy website under the heading Academy events. Some of the courses for next year are not yet listed on the site, but will cover topics like active learning, assessment and teaching controversial issues. Ken Bain, Ph.D., is scheduled to discuss “What the Best College Teachers Do,” which is also the subject of a book he published in 2004.

The Teaching Academy strives to bring in a variety of engaging instructors on a variety of topics. Gray said that the academy is always looking for new presenters and if there is a topic NMSU faculty, staff or students would like to see offered at the academy, to let academy staff know about it. If you have an instructor in mind, that’s even better.

“This is the place for lifelong learning,” Gray said. “I’m passionate about this resource because we always talk about lifelong learning for students, but we’re here to offer lifelong learning for faculty, staff and graduate students, too.”

Faculty from other campuses can always request a course to be offered via distance learning through Mediasite – and, if the presenter is willing – the Teaching Academy will make the presentation available, allowing participants from NMSU campuses around the state to participate in courses without making the trek to Las Cruces. Any NMSU campus can invite an on-campus presenter to their own campus for a small fee, payable to the presenter. The Teaching Academy pays the cost of travel for the presenter.

“People come from the Alamogordo campus to many of our courses and we sometimes have participants who travel from Grants and Carlsbad,” Gray said. “But Mediasite allows us to record the classes, then people from other campuses can watch later.”

Mediasite also allows participants from around the state to participate in the classes as they happen.

“The most important thing is learning to be a better teacher,” Gray said. “This doesn’t just benefit your students – it will be reflected in your evaluations. The effort you put into teaching comes back in spades.”

For more information or to sign up for a workshop, visit http://www.teaching.nmsu.edu or contact Gray at 575-646-1013 or tgray@nmsu.edu

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