The Creation of a Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session is about creating a new Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence at a College or University. We will include research on best practices in professional development as well as the impact of learning spaces (regardless of course modality) on faculty development and morale.

Sponsored By


Shawn Orr is the Director of the Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence at Ashland University and a Professional Instructor in the Department of Communciation Studies. Shawn received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interpersonal Communication and Public Communication and a Master of Arts degree in Communication from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She joined Ashland University as the Director of Faculty Services for the College of Online and Adult Studies and as an adjunct faculty in Communication Studies in 2016. Shawn has more than 23 years of higher education teaching and administration experience, a focus on innovative technology and active learning strategies in the classroom, and a unique practitioner’s perspective into the field of communication studies. Shawn has won several teaching awards including the prestigious 2011 Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year Distinguished Teaching Award by the North Central Business Education Association (8 State Region). She’s developed and taught more than 20 different courses in a variety of modalities including face-to-face, blended/flipped, and online. Her education, training and teaching is rooted in a social scientific view of communication and much of her career has focused on being a practitioner in the field of communication including developing and delivering more than 200 presentations for college, conference and keynote addresses. Her areas of specialization includes public relations, strategic communication, interpersonal communication, small group communication, and public speaking and her research interests include communication technology, cognition and emotion. Shawn is passionate about the Ashland University student and said, “This is an especially exciting time to be part of the Department of Communication Studies at AU as we have the first sport communication program in the country utilizing the social scientific method, one of the only undergrad programs in the country focusing on health and risk communication, a relatively new online MA in corporate and strategic communication, a completely new online degree in communication studies, and a strong degree in public relations and strategic communication. These well-developed programs with innovative curriculum, led by recognized AU faculty and communication leaders in our field, are primed to grow and impact future scholars and leaders in this field."
Brandy Schaad is the Assistant Director of the Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence and Project Specialist for the College of Online and Adult Studies at Ashland University. Brandy received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, Intervention Specialist Mild/Moderate and a Master of Science degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction with a Specialization in Educational Technology from Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. She joined Ashland University as an AV Instructional Technician in 2010 and has continued to grow and expand her knowledge in academic technology, instructional design, pedagogy, training, and faculty development. Brandy is an adjunct instructor for Ashland University for face-to-face classes and online classes in both correctional education and traditional classes as well. Brandy has been part of a team as well as led the team to develop more than 150 different courses in a variety of modalities including face-to-face, blended/flipped, and online. Her areas of specialization includes faculty development, designing effective academic technology solutions for both classroom and online modalities, and project management.

Extended Abstract

This presentation will focus on the creation of a Center for Innovation and Teaching Excellence that encompasses a physical teaching and learning space as well as professional devdelopment opportunities for our growing number of online and correctional education faculty. The Center is collaboratively designed and technologically advanced to foster the scholarship of teaching and learning in all modalities of teaching. The presentation will highlight how Ashland Univeristy creates and uses this innovative professional development center and the impact on faculty learning and engagement, and programming ideas for a teaching center. 

Ashland University currently has 187 full-time faculty and more than 275 adjunct fauclty. Teaching and learning is a primary focus of Ashland University and the development of our faculty is a key to the continued success of the University. Active learning spaces require a different kind of physical space than a traditional meeting room or classroom, one that allows for movement and collaboration with abundant opportunities for training on the latest innovative technology to engage students. The goal in creating this center was to cultivate the growth and learning of faculty, advancing their development as teacher-scholars by providing and coordinating support, resources and collaborative programs. By creating this innovative learning and collaborative environment, we were able to offer opportunities for faculty development, mentor-ship, panel discussions, workshops, assessment and forums to share innovative teaching strategies and cross-disciplinary collaborations. The Center helps the University sustain extraordinary learning experiences for students. The Center began programming February 2017 and has hosted more than 50 events serving hundreds of faculty, as well as numerous classes and technology training sessions.