General Education Faculty Participate in Professional Development Workshop2 min read
YEREVAN, Armenia — To kick-off the Spring 2024 term, the General Education faculty of the American University of Armenia (AUA) came together for a two-day professional development workshop on “Improving Student Engagement.” Held on January 11 and 12, the workshop was designed to help faculty members reflect on their course design and delivery and discuss teaching successes and challenges.
On the first day of the workshop, participants reflected on courses previously taught according to the principles of student-centeredness and active learning. Faculty shared how they had previously revised courses to meet changing needs in higher education and the particular challenges they had faced.
College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Adjunct Lecturer Araks Shahinyan noted: “One thought that was restated throughout the workshop was that education is not always or necessarily about answers, but about correct questions. Teaching is about quick, informed improvisation firmly based on well-prepared planning.”
The second day offered participants the opportunity to discuss a topic of concern for many faculty members — namely, how to effectively implement reading strategies and teach students to read critically. Several research-based strategies for developing students’ reading skills were discussed and tested in practice, and faculty members had the chance to plan for introducing new ideas in their classrooms.
CHSS Adjunct Lecturer and Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment Parandzem Sargsyan shared, “The way Anna led the workshop was a great demonstration of how engaging and active learning can be, even in a class as diverse as ours, where faculty teach subjects like music, statistics, history, etc.”
“During the workshop, we discussed many strategies and methods for the effective organization of the educational process, active learning strategies, and techniques. A lot of material was covered, and practical solutions were proposed. Everything was so well-organized and the atmosphere so friendly that I didn’t even notice those three hours fly by,” noted CHSS Adjunct Lecturer Gevorg Tshagharyan.
CHSS Adjunct Lecturer Anna Gevorgyan, who facilitated the workshop, was enthusiastic about the results: “This session was a great chance for me to introduce my practice of developing student reading and note-taking techniques while also learning a great deal from my colleagues. In general, such professional development sessions are fantastic opportunities for practitioners to pause and reflect on their teaching practice, learn from each other, and grow professionally in order to enhance effective student learning.”
In the coming weeks, participating faculty members will be offered follow-up one-on-one sessions with Gevorgyan to help them reflect on their teaching practice and adjust their instructional strategies.
Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia, affiliated with the University of California, and accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission in the United States. AUA provides local and international students with Western-style education through top-quality undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs, promotes research and innovation, encourages civic engagement and community service, and fosters democratic values.