Head of the MAT Program
What is learning? What is teaching? What is justice? As head of the M.A.T. program in theater, Peter Duff y encourages his students to ponder exactly these types of questions. “Theater is a place where people can gather in real time to engage in these questions about what it means to be human,” says Duff y. But Duff y’s insights into the power and purpose of the theater aren’t reserved for graduate students planning to become drama teachers. He has also developed a reputation for innovation in the undergraduate classroom — thanks in part to a large section course on theater appreciation. Over a single semester, students in Duff y’s theater appreciation course research, write, produce and stage an original ethnodrama that ultimately serves as their final exam. “Honestly, I just kind of got tired of hearing myself talk so much, and I was trying to figure out how to get my students more involved,” he says. “I’m not there to dump knowledge into my students’ heads. I care deeply that learning is personally relevant and that students are emotionally engaged.”
Learn more about Peter Duffy in the UofSC News story Peter Duffy: The Body Theatric.
Clinical Associate Professor
Leslie Hendrix remembers the lack of support she felt in college, juggling three jobs and a full class schedule. She quit during her junior year. Now, with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a doctorate in statistics from USC, she works to make sure the students in her classroom have the support and guidance they need to succeed. “If it weren’t for good professors and people who gave me a little push or the right words at the right time, I know I would not be here today. I believe that everybody deserves a shot at a good future.” For Hendrix, the real payoff is in the evaluation forms, cards, notes and emails from former students, who tell her she got them over their fears of math. “When I was younger, I didn’t feel I was that good at math. But when I came back to school [at USC], I had great professors who believed in me,” she says. “I want to be able to make other people feel that way.”
Learn more about Leslie Hendrix in the UofSC News story Earning the Stats for a Garnet Apple.
Shelley Jones says teaching is in her blood and has been a part of her life since childhood. “I come from educators. My mom was an English teacher,” says Jones. “I’ve also been very fortunate to have had excellent English teachers throughout my life who saw the potential in me before I saw it.” Jones is a problem solver. When she saw that some of her Palmetto College students would benefit from an alternative to the required internship course, Jones created a service-learning class that could provide comparable learning outcomes. The new course has required a whole new skill set for Jones, including creating partnerships with community organizations that can work with students at a distance. “Students can do their work on their own time as long as they’re meeting deadlines,” she says. “If they’re in their pajamas or after putting their kids to bed or getting off their second-shift job, they are able to then complete the work when it fits with their schedule.”
Learn more about Shelley Jones in the UofSC News story Born to Teach.
A word that comes up often when Mohammed Khalil talks about his teaching style is “interactive.” Khalil believes his students understand concepts better when they’re active participants in absorbing information whether it’s through self-learning modules or computer-based labs. Students use the self-learning modules with embedded formative quizzes to prepare for class sessions. Follow-up activities occur in labs designed to foster collaboration between students while providing guidance and clinical relevance. “If you think about students today, they like to work in a group,” Khalil says. “They like guidance or direction, but they like to do many things themselves. They like to have some control, and they like to use the technology more.” Khalil’s curriculum vitae is littered with teaching awards and student testimonials that prove his philosophy works. And he puts that philosophy into practice outside of the classroom, working with students throughout the medical school as a student success program director to identify weaknesses that might be causing them to struggle. “I help them, and at the same time, I learn from them what they need,” he says.
Learn more about Mohammed Khalil in the UofSC News story The Importance of Interaction.
Nina Moreno and Paul Malovrh
One group of students attends Spanish class three days a week while another logs four
days of classroom instruction. Hands down, the four-day-a-week students learn the
language better than the three-dayers, right? Not so fast, say Nina Moreno and Paul
Malovrh. The two Spanish faculty members experimented with a 100-level Spanish course,
creating a flipped classroom model and comparing it with a traditional classroom-only
course. The traditional course’s students logged less homework time and more classroom
time but performed less well in actually learning the language compared to their flipped
classroom amigos. “What happens with a flipped format is you’re giving them more responsibility,”
Moreno says. “The class becomes more learner centered and not teacher centered.” Malovrh
sees the flipped class approach to language instruction as a way to expedite the rate
of learning. “I can’t change the route you take to learn a second language, but as
the instructor there are things I can do to make the learning proceed more efficiently,”
Malovrh says. “It’s not about passing the
Learn more about Nina Moreno and Paul Malovrh in the UofSC News story Tale of Two Spanish Classes.