Spotlight on Innovative Teachers

Josh Staab | The Collegian David Lehman, instructor of marketing, gives his TED talk during last night's K-State TEDxMHK event in Forum Hall of the K-State Student Union. Lehman was one of ten faculty members to speak on a night that also included appearances by football head coach Bill Snyder and K-State President Kirk Schulz.

The best and brightest K-State professors shared their insights Monday evening in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union as part of the second annual Spotlight K-State.

The event was presented by the Teaching & Learning Center and the Office of the President. The 10 presenters, all K-State professors, each spoke for six minutes on a topic in teaching and learning.

“Experience is really the best teacher,” said Gayle Doll, associate professor, dean of human ecology, and director of K-State Center on Aging. Doll was one of the presenters.

The presenting professors were chosen by Mike Wesch, associate professor of sociology, anthropology, and social work; Chad Jackson, interim director and instructor for the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship; and Jana Fallin, professor and director of the Teaching & Learning Center.

“I don’t think teachers ever get enough thanks for what they do and this is our effort to recognize and congratulate and thank these fine teachers,” Fallin said.

The event started with a short video message from K-State head football coach Bill Snyder, thanking the professors for their hard work and passionate teaching, which, he said, creates the scholars who leave Kansas State.

Some professors played live music during their presentations. Several books highlighting innovative teaching techniques were showcased during the presentations. The audience members had the opportunity to enjoy wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres, and to speak with the presenters during intermission.

Their chosen style, which echoes the popular TED Talks format, was deliberate, Wesch said.

“In order to get a few more people a chance to present, we decided to go with the six-minute presentation,” Wesch said. “Typically, a ten-minute presentation can be done in some form in six. The nice thing about it being done in six is anybody who wants to follow up with that person and hear more about it has the chance during the wine and hors d’oeuvres.”

The professors spoke about some of the best ways to communicate and reach young college students. Keeping a student body engaged during class was one of the topics discussed.

“I was engaged because they were engaged,” Donald Saucier, associate professor in psychological sciences and presenter, said. “I teach because they were engaged.”

Each professor came from a different teaching background, from agriculture to leadership studies. Many professor emphasized the K-State scholarship of teaching and learning. The scholarship of teaching and learning, also known as SOTL, is a scholarship that funds teachers who enhance students’ lives through their research.

“Thank goodness I’m a teacher at Kansas State University,” Kim Williams, professor of horticulture forestry and recreation and presenter, said, discussing the effects of SOTL in her and her students lives.

Members of the School of Agriculture were recognized during intermission for their work. Faculty and students presented Don Boggs, associate professor and associate dean of academic programs for the College of Agriculture, with an award of appreciation for his work.