When UTC earned reaccreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in 2011, the University began a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan focusing on closing the gaps between student and faculty perceptions of higher-level thinking skills in the classroom.
The goal of ThinkAchieve is for UTC students, over the course of their university experience, to increase their overall critical thinking skills, as exhibited by the ability to identify, evaluate, and interpret information; solve problems, develop innovative solutions through creative thinking; and communicate ideas and information effectively.
To honor the professors who have embraced ThinkAchieve, the University has created the ThinkAchieve Faculty Award. Dr. Jennifer Boyd, assistant professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Lisa Burke, associate professor of Management in the College of Business, and Dr. Charlene Simmons, associate professor of Communication, are the most recent recipients of this award, which provides recognition and monetary awards for faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary teaching that meets the goals of ThinkAchieve.
“ThinkAchieve supports faculty members in enhancing teaching and learning at UTC through professional development opportunities, grants, and awards," said Dawn Ford, assistant director of the Walker Center for Teaching and Learning. "Faculty members are integral players in promoting student critical thinking skills through the implementation of innovative classroom and experiential activities that promote active learning, and ThinkAchieve helps make that happen.”
Dr. Boyd is so dedicated to teaching, she has developed hands-on activities for the department’s “Principles of Biology Lab,” a course that she does not regularly teach. She independently designed labs focused on species diversity and trophic interactions. These labs are now taught to hundreds of students each semester.
Dr. Burke developed the course “Training and Development” based on her own experience and research. In the course, students are required to apply their knowledge of the training process and create and deliver actual training sessions and access the effectiveness of their training program.
Dr. Simmons has integrated an unique team-based approach to one of the Communication Department’s most difficult courses, “Communication Law and Ethics.” Dr. Simmons engages with students through online social networking site, Facebook. Using an alias, “Quinn C. Law,” she acts out various legal and ethical questions and issues. Students comment on Quinn’s Facebook page, and are actively engaged in their teams, solving legal issues and tackling ethical questions.