Image of Keith J Connell looking in a rearview mirror.

As a college professor, the journey of continuous learning is never-ending. This sentiment became even more apparent when I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Academic Development Program, a professional development initiative that allowed me to experience various aspects of teaching and learning from both the perspective of a student and the role of a professor.

Reflections through the eyes of a student

During the Academic Development Program (ADP) program, I placed myself in the shoes of a student, experiencing different delivery methods, strategies, interactions, and the learning management system. This experience has been eye-opening and provided invaluable insights that have begun reshaping my teaching approach. As I went through the first few weeks, I grappled with new content and participated in activities that challenged my critical thinking skills. It was humbling to remember students’ struggles when grasping new concepts or adapting to different teaching styles. This experience emphasized the importance of creating a supportive environment that caters to students’ diverse needs while highlighting the significance of clear and effective communication.

Moving from in front to behind the desk

As I transitioned from the student role to that of a professor, I gained a deeper appreciation for the behind-the-scenes efforts of course development and the implementation of learning management systems. In my experience in the ADP, I have witnessed firsthand the thoughtfulness and intentionality that goes into creating engaging and interactive learning experiences. This experience has motivated me to continuously explore innovative teaching strategies and leverage technology to enhance student learning outcomes.

Furthermore, the program provides a space for collaboration and discussion among faculty members, fostering a community of practice where best practices are shared and ideas are exchanged. This aspect of the program is invaluable, allowing me to expand my professional network and gain insights from experienced colleagues.

The Academic Development Program has been a transformative experience for me as a college professor thus far. It has allowed me to reevaluate my teaching practices, empathize with students’ challenges, and embrace continuous professional growth. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this program, and I am committed to integrating the knowledge and insights gained into my role as an educator, ultimately benefiting the students I have the privilege to teach.

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