Dr. Shenika Harris plays a lot of roles at Lindenwood; in addition to being an Associate Professor of Spanish, she is the co-lead on the Diversify the Pride strategic initiative, a member of the Faculty Development and Retention Team, and was a Faculty Consultant for Online Teaching during the pandemic, to name a few. Now, she adds Teaching and Learning Specialist in the Lindenwood Learning Academy to the numerous ways she serves her peers, students, and the university.
Through her work on Diversify the Pride, Shenika was involved at the ground-level in the conceptualization of the R.I.S.E. Project, and once the project was approved as part of Lindenwood’s strategic plan, the Learning Academy jumped at the chance to invite her to join in an official role. Shenika began working with the Learning Academy in a half-time capacity this summer and will continue to do so throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. Her work will focus on the R.I.S.E. Project as she continues to co-design and coordinate the initiative as well as helps to lead R.I.S.E. Scholars, create teaching resources, provide consultations, and conduct research related to the project.
We asked Shenika about this work as well as her dedication to faculty development. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: What got you interested in working as a Teaching and Learning Specialist this year with the Learning Academy?
A: I have been a fan of the Learning Academy since its beginning, and their on-demand resources, PLCs, webinars, and events have had a profound impact on my teaching. I feel that the Learning Academy plays such a vital role in helping us to be the best instructors that we can be which has a profound impact on our students’ lives that will last for a lifetime. When asked if I would like to be a part of such amazing work and work alongside such amazing people, my “yes” was automatic.
Q: What is an example of something you’ve learned that you feel really changed your teaching for the better?
A: Something that I've learned that changed my teaching is connections matter. Not only must we connect with our students in some way, we also must help them connect what they are learning in our course to what they already know, and we must help them make connections between course material and their lives. Without connections, students will simply study the material without truly learning it.
Q: You’re helping to design and lead the R.I.S.E. Project. What part of this are you most excited about rolling out to your colleagues this year?
A: It is really difficult to pick just one part because every aspect is so impactful. I am really looking forward to faculty learning more about our LU student experiences, including their struggles and their wants, via the Student Spotlights. Also, I am looking forward to the meaningful reflection and discussion that will take place in the college R.I.S.E. Roundtables. I believe that the Student Spotlights and Roundtable discussions will help everyone to understand the transformative impact that R.I.S.E. can have.
The Learning Academy staff is overjoyed to have Shenika on board! Kristen Norwood, Director of Faculty Development said, “Shenika is just incredible. Every aspect of the R.I.S.E. Project is made better by her contributions. She is not only the perfect partner to help design and deliver resources for faculty, she also provides the much-needed faculty voice in this initiative to enhance our culture of teaching and learning at Lindenwood.”
Welcome to the Learning Academy, Shenika! We are so lucky to have you join us.