By Kira Norwood, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Master Class Series is one of the seven certificates of completions that The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) offers. With enrollment limited to 16 full-time faculty in UofSC Columbia and Palmetto College campuses, the series is designed to provide specialized instruction to faculty members on a specific pedagogy discipline.
Each semester, a new Master Class Series topic is offered. The topic for the Fall 2020 Master Class is “Writing and Critical Thinking” facilitated by “Master Instructor” Deidre Anne Evans Garriott, Writing Center Director. “That’s a topic that transcends the colleges of the university. One of the things we have in common in every department is the need to develop critical thinking and to express that through sophisticated writing,” CTE Director Augie Grant said. “Studies have shown that the number one thing that employers are looking for is people who can think and write. So, this is one of the most practical ideas we could have in terms of utility for the students.”
Participants of the series can expect to gain knowledge on critical writing and thinking, while also learning how to teach it. “It also gives them an opportunity to get to know faculty in other units. Again, one of the great things about the CTE environment is that we give a place for faculty in all the colleges on all of our campuses to come together and get to know and learn from each other,” Grant said.
While CTE offers many workshops throughout the term, Program Manager Xavery Hopkins sought to provide more in-depth training for faculty. “You have to remember that most faculty come to the university with little to no training in teaching,” Grant said. “So, one of the roles of CTE is to help in providing that training. One of the objectives of most faculty is professional development and to continually advance their own knowledge. This particular Master Class Series is designed to do exactly that.” A subject matter expert leads the series for an insightful perspective on the topic.
Although there has been a great amount of focus on the teaching shift COVID-19 has caused, the Master Class Series draws attention to general skills. “At CTE, we’re certainly seeing a lot of faculty take advantage of the current crisis to gain additional skills. This is something that’s far apart from that because so much of what we’ve done in the last six months is how do we respond to the shift to online teaching and remote teaching. This takes it in a different direction and teaches about general skills that could be applicable at any time,” Grant said.
Visit the Master Class Series webpage for more information and to apply. Any faculty member at UofSC-Columbia, Palmetto College regional campuses or USC Schools of Medicine (Greenville and Columbia) are eligible to apply for the Master Class Series. This program is not open to graduate students nor adjunct instructors.