Need a Little Help in the Classroom?

A New CAFNR Center Will Help

Do you need some help in improving your classroom presentation or advising skills? Then call for backup.

In this case, the backup is a new, but as yet unnamed, CAFNR program designed to be a clearinghouse for teaching improvement and professional development.Anna Ball

The program is being directed by Anna Ball, associate professor in ag education. The CAFNR program mirrors the Teaching Resource Center (TRC) that she operated at the University of Florida.

The MU program, still being developed, will assist instructors in peer assessment techniques, teaching workshops, classroom observation and critique, individual consultations, a teacher’s college for new faculty and online teaching resources.

It will also sponsor teaching workshops and seminars and help evaluate course materials. The program was conceived by Vice Chancellor and Dean Tom Payne and Paul Vaughn.

Ball has two CAFNR degrees: a master’s and Ph.D. in agricultural education. As a graduate student, she worked for the MU Program for Excellence in Teaching. She also previously held an ag faculty position at the University of Illinois where she secured two USDA grants for faculty development.

Some of the TRC successes will probably be replicated at MU, she said. The teacher’s college for new faculty presented innovative teaching and learning techniques and allowed senior educators to counsel newer ones. It also gave researchers ideas on better ways to incorporate educational outreach into their projects.

Another TRC project counseled graduate students wanting to join the faculty. This program will debut at MU this fall and will be called “College Teaching in Agriculture.”

Part of Ball’s job will be to coordinate with other educational resource areas of the College such as the educational technology and student advising programs.