New Faculty Fellows Selected for 21-22 Academic Year

The 2021-2022 Faculty Fellows were selected earlier this spring, marking the second year of the Fellows Program at Tennessee Wesleyan University.


The TWU Teaching Innovation Fellows Program is a Title III-supported initiative designed to increase student academic success, performance, and persistence by promoting student engagement through the use of high-impact, evidence-based teaching practices throughout the University.


All full-time faculty are invited to apply and serve as resources to their colleagues in the selected areas. Five Fellowships will be filled by the following faculty for the 2021-2022 academic year.


Fellowship I: Reacting to the Past

Dr. Chris Schutz, Professor of History

Chris Schutz

Reacting to the Past is an active learning pedagogy of role-playing games designed for higher education. In Reacting to the Past games, students are assigned character roles with specific goals and must communicate, collaborate, and compete effectively to advance their objectives. Reacting promotes engagement with big ideas and improves intellectual and academic skills.


Fellowship II: Problem Based Learning

Dr. Alex Pilote, Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Jack Seitz, Assistant Professor of History

Dr. Patsy Ging, Professor of Education

Alex PiloteJack SeitzPatsy Ging

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional approach that centers around students working to solve authentic problems (Hung, Jonassen, & Liu, 2008; Savery, 2006; Yew & Goh, 2016). This approach has its origins in the medical field where students were faced with issues concerning patients and had to use their knowledge and problem-solving skills to determine a diagnosis.


PBL provides students the opportunity to not only provide an answer to the problem but gain from the process of solving the problem through their own efforts (Meiste, Lankauskiene, Arbidane, 2019). PBL as an instructional approach is widely used across education levels due to its success with infusing higher-order skills and provides opportunities for collaboration and problem-solving (Hung, 2015).



Fellowship III: 3D Printing

Dr. Oksana Gerlits, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Prof. Alex Sharp, Assistant Professor of Library Science

Oksana GerlitsAlex Sharp

3D printers are just one of the many technology tools that have become much more readily available and affordable on campuses around the country and offer students creative avenues for interacting with content and further expanding a skillset for future work. Making 3D printers accessible to students provides them the opportunity for hands-on learning, an experience that is far more engaging than a textbook or video may be able to provide. Additionally, the gains made through the hands-on experience may promote learning as well as provide new skills deemed valuable in today’s workplace (Trust & Maloy, 2018; Wyeld, 2020).


Fellowship IV: Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Dr. Brandy Henderson, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Brandy Henderson

Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality are three emergent technologies being utilized by educators to enhance the learning experience for their students, allowing for significant flexibility to be integrated into a variety of disciplines and providing an avenue to make instructional content more engaging, resonant, and accessible to students. Augmented reality provides an individual with an experience that is supplemented by other information, images, audio, special effect, etc., while keeping the individual within their everyday environment. Virtual reality, however, goes a step further. The individual’s everyday reality is replaced with a new one and the individual can interact and engage the virtual environment. Mixed reality provides the supplemented experience of AR, but the interaction of VR.


Fellowship V: Experiential Learning

Dr. Kristin Robertson, Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Tara Prairie, Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance

Kristin RobertsonTara Prairie

Experiential Learning is essentially learning that occurs outside the classroom. Bradberry and De Maio (2019) describe it as “a pedagogical method whereby students engage in professional and productive learning activities” (p. 94). Service learning, a subcategory of experiential learning, focuses on opportunities for students to take part in and contribute to their communities, whereby both student and the community partner both benefit from. This relationship, according to Andrade and Westover (2020), is a valuable tool to use with today’s students.



Andrade, Maureen and Westover, Jonathan H. (2020) "Engaging Millennial Students through Community Engaged Experiential Learning," Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education, 2(2).


Bradberry, L. A., & De Maio, J. (2019). Learning by doing: The long-term impact of experiential learning programs on student success. Journal of Political Science Education, 15(1), 94-111. 


Hung, W., Jonassen, D. H., & Liu, R. (2008). Problem-based learning. Handbook of research on educational communications and technology, 3(1), 485-506. 


Hung, W. (2015). Cultivating creative problem solvers: The PBL style. Asia Pacific Education Review, 16, 237–246. doi: 10.1007/s12564-015-9368-7


Meiste, R., Lankauskiene, A., & Arbidane, I. (2019). Conceptual students’ perception of problems-based and project-based learing in a higher education institution. Journal of Social Sciences, 1(11), 67- 77. 


Savery, J. R. (2006). Overview of Problem-based Learning: Definitions and Distinctions. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1). 


Trust, T. & Maloy, R. (2017). Why 3D print? The 21st -century skills students develop while engaging in 3 D printing projects. Computers in the Schools 34(4), 253-266. 


Wyeld, T. (2020), Supporting more engaged learning: The case for the 3D printer – a position paper. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 27(3), 344-360. doi: 10.1504/IJIL.2020.106814


Yew, E., & Goh, K. (2016). Problem-based learning: An overview of its process and impact on learning. Health Profession Education, 2, 75-79.