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SIS Clinical Associate Professor Cindy Welch as a Faculty Innovator

SIS Clinical Associate Professor Cindy Welch was chosen by the University of Tennessee’s Teaching & Learning Innovation to be a Teaching Innovator for 2019.

“When it comes to Teaching & Learning Innovation, I never say no because they’re so great at what they do,” Welch said.
TLI provides support to faculty members, teachers, and staff through programs, services, and partnerships to enrich student learning.

The project she’s working on with TLI entails creating scripts for short audio clips – about one or two minutes long – that can be played in settings where faculty are gathered, such as faculty meetings. These short scripts will promote inclusion, especially with regard to teaching online.

“Cindy has a history of being interested in and promoting inclusive teaching, both face-to-face and in the online context. She’s been a strong supporter of our work here at Teaching & Learning Innovation. It just made perfect sense when we were talking about faculty innovators for this semester to bring her on as one of those individuals,” said Ferlin McGaskey, director of Faculty Development.

McGaskey said he and his colleagues have been working on extending their reach to faculty on campus, and to make teaching more inclusive and welcoming. Workshops continue to be a good way to accomplish this, but they wanted something more – that’s where these sound bites, or “mini podcasts” come into play.

Another component of Welch’s role is to help create something like a handbook for online teaching, which will live on TLI’s website. Her experience with online teaching spans 15 years, and McGaskey said he believes her advice will resonate with faculty on campus.

Welch has seen many iterations of online systems and methods, and is very comfortable with teaching online. UT is starting to expand its online teaching offerings, and faculty who have not previously taught online will start doing so.

“They’re essentially inviting me to work with them to translate my experience into workable tips for people just beginning to teach online,” Welch said.

She said the timeline for this project is to have it done in time to be used by the fall semester of 2020.

“We’re excited to see what she comes up with in regards to that, particularly since we are moving to having more online programs overall on campus,” McGaskey said.