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CASTLE Launches Faculty Fellows Program

Drexel University CASTLE Faculty Fellows Advance STEM and Academic Inclusion


July 27, 2020

A version of this article was originally posted on CASTLE’s website and written by Meredith Casino.

A new initiative out of the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE) has been created to help STEM faculty at Drexel University address the challenges of remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CASTLE Faculty Fellows program identifies faculty fellows who will provide colleagues with mentored support and resources. 

The program is part of a larger initiative, through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Sustaining Excellence Program at Drexel University, to improve retention of STEM undergraduates at Drexel. Directed by Associate Biology Professor Jennifer Stanford, PhD, the program develops evidence-based competencies among STEM educators with community building, mentorship and recognition of innovative teaching.

The new Faculty Fellows program builds off work done by CASTLE’s first Faculty Fellow, N. John DiNardo, PhD, who has supported various faculty- and student-centered initiatives in his over-two-year tenure. The inaugural class of Fellows was selected due to their significant expertise relating to remote or online instruction in undergraduate STEM education.

The group, with strong representation from faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, includes:

  • Meshagae Hunte-Brown, PhD, teaching professor, Department of Biology
  • Jeremy Johnson, PhD, professor and department head, Department of Computer Science
  • Christina Love, PhD, associate teaching professor, Department of Physics
  • James Mitchell, professor, Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
  • Dimitri Papadopoulos, EdD, assistant teaching professor, Department of Mathematics
  • Steven Weber, PhD, professor and department head, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

These Fellows will provide support to STEM educators, especially in implementing online/remote learning experiences, in the form of “just-in-time” interactions to answer questions and/or serve as a sounding board regarding the implementation of new teaching techniques. STEM faculty are encouraged to “Ask a Fellow” for resources or advice by emailing castlefacultyfellows@thecastlecenter.org.

Each Faculty Fellow will also develop resources or interventions relating to a topic area of their choosing, which will be shared as part of CASTLE’s online resources.The CASTLE website contains links to other helpful resources to support STEM teaching and learning, including active learning teaching topics and resources to assist students and faculty with the transition to remote learning.

Finally, to engage the community of STEM educators at Drexel, Faculty Fellows will also coordinate a virtual version of the CASTLE Pedagogical Happy Hour. This event series features faculty members who highlight an effective teaching strategy utilized in their classroom, laboratory or educational program. During the Summer 2020 term, CASTLE Faculty Fellows will host a weekly virtual version of the Pedagogical Happy Hour to infuse additional expertise into these events that support the community. This series will have a special focus on remote teaching resources and ideas.

Through the CASTLE Faculty Fellows Program, CASTLE endeavors to assist the Drexel community in promoting teaching excellence to foster student learning and to ensure high-value learning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the Faculty Fellows and other CASTLE resources and events, please visit www.drexel.edu/castle.