Professors Embark on a New Initiative to Enhance and Deepen the Classroom Experience

Learning is a lifelong endeavor. Even for those who have attained a doctorate and have accumulated many years of experience teaching in a classroom, there’s nothing quite like gaining a new perspective. It’s rewarding to dive deeper into a subject and develop novel ways to educate college students in a classroom or online.

Last year, Crown started a new initiative that seeks to enhance and improve how professors teach and how they reach the next generation of students.

ACUE (or the Association of College and University Educators), formed in 2014, partners with colleges and universities nationwide to implement programs of study in effective instruction that lead to certificates endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). It’s designed to help college professors gain a new understanding of how to teach modern college students.

This year, the courses kicked off again on August 21 and will run through April of 2019.

“Most college educators have deep expertise in their subject matter and research methods,” says Dr. Jonathan Gyurko, the ACUE CEO and founder. “But few of us receive comprehensive preparation in the evidence-based practices that promote student achievement and deeper levels of learning. Our work closes this gap.”

Dr. Gyurko explains that the graduate-level training is a methodology ACUE encourages in every college classroom. The coursework involves 25 learning modules, completed by Crown faculty each week up until April of next year. The goal is to bring evidence-based instruction into the classroom — that is, a way for professors to verify learning with students using metrics and evaluations.

“Faculty who satisfy their course requirements earn a credential in effective college instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education, and join a national community of professional practice for ongoing support,” says Dr. Gyurko. “We’re also seeing data of stronger achievement among students taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty, meaning that faculty and staff are making a stronger contribution to student success initiatives.”

“ACUE is a comprehensive, pedagogical approach to teaching today’s college students,” says Dr. Scott Moats, the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Crown College. “It emphasizes the best practices to reach the highest level of achievement. The methods include how to make a classroom interesting to engage today’s learner to the multiple ways of assessing learning formatively and summatively.”

Dr. Moats says the purpose behind ACUE is to promote a better education experience. Crown is considered a “teaching institution” he says, rather than a “research institution” that tends to focus on learning and new discoveries. “Teaching faculty must understand the language of their disciplines and translate it to entry-level learners.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to take the theoretical and apply it in a practical way,” says Scotti Moats, the Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Department Chair at Crown. “ACUE gives you the opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone or your personal norms of teaching and try new methods. Once faculty are able to step into the unknown, they will find there are new methods that fit their own personal style.”

“Embracing better methodology will help us all in better connecting our content with the students we encounter,” she adds. “ACUE is a research-based practice that lends itself to continuing to cultivate a culture of care.”

To that end, ACUE instruction is invaluable because it means the students themselves engage at a higher-level with the subject matter. In the end, that helps Crown achieve its stated goals of helping every student obtain a rewarding, biblically-based education.