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Eastern Kentucky University is proud to announce its four newest Faculty Innovators to its Faculty Innovator program. The Faculty Innovator Program is a premier leadership and service opportunity at EKU. Faculty Innovators play a vital role in promoting teaching excellence at EKU, and serve as teacher-scholars and mentors. Faculty Innovators have the opportunity to create, implement, and share effective teaching and learning practices, expanding innovation and promoting the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL).  

“The Faculty Innovators play a vital role in promoting excellence in teaching & learning at EKU. Our four new Faculty Innovators have demonstrated their effectiveness in the classroom, as well as the ability to encourage others to grow in their own teaching. We are extremely excited to have them joining the Faculty Innovator team,” said Jamie Shaffer, Coordinator of Teaching & Learning Initiatives in the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity. 

Four new Faculty Innovators will start in fall 2021.

Dr. Cindy Tran, College of Science 

Dr. Cindy Tran is an assistant professor of chemistry.  She uses scaffolded group discussions to deliver course content, placing students in teams of 3-4 for the duration of the semester.  These teams work together to process concepts and help each other learn.

Dr. Laurel Schwartz, College of Health Sciences

Dr. Laurel Schwartz is an associate professor of public health. Her students have created theory-informed radio ads in partnership with the Madison County Health Department, allowing them to put health behavior theory into practice for public health in a creative way.

Mr. Kyle Knezevich, College of Business

Mr. Kyle Knezevich is an assistant professor of aviation. His students create a virtual airline from the ground up, using a combination of course materials and an online airline management software platform. Students learn to debate and think critically as they present their work, and even compete with other groups’ airlines.

Dr. Jose Juan Gomez-Becerra, CLASS

Dr. Jose Juan Gomez-Becerra is an assistant professor of Spanish. He incorporates culturally responsive strategies in his classes regularly. Working across disciplines, his Latinx studies class collaborated with Communications to develop a series of audio-texts and a special edition of the Eastern Progress for the Latinx heritage month. 

The Faculty Innovators Program has identified EKU faculty members with great expertise in teaching and learning practices, classroom techniques, and up-to-date technologies to showcase innovative teaching and learning practices on campus and to share their expertise with other faculty. The Faculty Innovators will facilitate demonstrations and workshops as well as one-on-one training with individual faculty regarding innovative teaching practices, will meet with new faculty as a part of the new faculty orientation program, and will assist them throughout the year. Faculty Innovators will also lead sessions as part of the Teaching & Learning Innovation series.