November 2010

Mickey Kolis Strives to Help Beginning Faculty Succeed

By: Ellen Zamarripa

As a professor of Education Studies, teaching and learning is a major part of Kolis_Mickey_2010_croppedeverything Mickey Kolis does as an educator. Thus Kolis said he wanted to become a CETL Fellow in order to help beginning faculty become better educators through the application of effective teaching techniques that result in scholarship and publication.
"We want people to be successful teachers," Kolis said. "Everybody is doing the best they can, and we can always get better."
Kolis is in his second semester as a CETL Fellow, and after spending time building community and sharing ideas, he and his group are following a Learning Cycle Lesson Strategy called the five E's. These E's stand for Engage, Explore, Explain, Evaluate, and Elaborate which are teaching strategies the participants in the group discuss, utilize in the classroom, and come back together and discuss again. Kolis and his group are currently focusing on incorporating "Explore" activities into their curriculum which encourages the application of personal experience to the information being taught. Kolis said students are more likely to retain material if they have the chance to make connections to personal experience.
Kolis said Learning Cycles, like the one his group is utilizing, are common in public schools, but no prominent research has been conducted on the college level. Thus, the goals of Kolis and his group are not only to improve their own teaching practices, but also to conduct research in their classrooms they intend to publish. Kolis said some educators may place less value on this type of scholarship as opposed to scholarship within one specific field. Yet the type of research Kolis and his group are focusing on is scholarship that can reach across departments.
"CETL has done a good job of trying to enhance teaching and learning standards," Kolis said. "The transition is going to be to get people to understand that this is research that does count as scholarship."
Kolis said he has enjoyed the chance to meet people across campus through his fellowship at CETL and he has benefited immensely in the realm of academia and beyond.  
"It's been my pleasure to work with my group," Kolis said. "I probably learned more than any of them and it's been fun for me."
Excellence Motto