Center for Academic Innovation
The Center for Academic Innovation partners with SMC faculty, students, and staff to inspire, enrich, and innovate our collective teaching and learning community. We serve as the cultural hub of Saint Mary’s College offering flexible space to accommodate faculty and student needs for meetings, study space, and socializing. Our approach is clear:
- Student-centered course design;
- Evidence-based teaching and learning strategies supported by research;
- Equitable and inclusive experiences for all;
- Collaborative nature among faculty, students, and staff;
- Continuing opportunities to practice and refine teaching skills;
- Reflective practices to better inform the learning environment; and
- Actionable strategies that foster ongoing refinements.
CFAI programs and services are informed by the idea that effective teaching is learned and improved over time. Our offerings are available to any members of the Saint Mary’s College community interested in developing and enhancing their skill set.
The Center for Academic Innovation is conceptually a part of the Learning Commons, and physically located on the 3rd Floor of the Cushwa-Leighton Library.
News from CFAI
- The Displacement Project uncovered the lifesaving efforts of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, and is just one example of student and faculty research. Click here to discover more. Research Summariesby SMC Students and Faculty
- Mikaela Gohn ’18's senior research project on the experiences of female police officers won the North Central Sociological Association (NCSA) award and has led her to a career as an intensive case manager at Elkhart County Community Corrections. Mikaela Gohn '18 Navigating a "Good Ol' Boys" System
- SMC has launched a new academic program that integrates technology fields with the humanities. With the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the new Digital and Public Humanities minor combines coursework from the humanities, art, computer science, business, communication studies, environmental science, and others. New Academic Program Digital and Public Humanities
- SMC faculty and students continued their research projects and academic work during the summer months on campus and around the world. Read more from the Summer 2022 Courier. Summer Research Courier
- Professor Cassie Majetic is able to bring her research to the classroom each spring in a class of her design called “plant-animal interactions.” Majetic conducts research with students and say they play a key role in her research. Cassie Majetic, Environmental Studies Scent-based Plant Communications
- Using a $100,000 fluorescence microscope, biology professor Calli Davison Versagli and her students are able to examine the actual molecular mechanism that helps cancer cells complete what is called "the metastatic cascade." Calli Versagli, Biology Professor Cancer Research at SMC
Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
The Center for Academic Innovation promotes and supports the research, scholarship, and creative activity of the SMC community by providing internal research grants, professional development programs, funding support services, and celebratory events spotlighting the accomplishments of faculty and students.
CFAI works with faculty and students on the SMC campus to:
- Strengthen the research pipeline
- Promote collaborative and interdisciplinary research
- Foster innovation and entrepreneurship
Faculty Development Programming and Assessment
The Center for Academic Innovation is SMC’s hub for faculty development programming exploring effective teaching and learning. We provide opportunities to engage with instructional strategies, explore pedagogical topics, and connect with other instructors to inform and enrich the learning environment.
The goal of our programming is to offer a wide array of engagement opportunities. We recognize that SMC’s faculty have varied levels of expertise, areas of interest, and available time to commit to professional development. Therefore, we offer diversified experiences including standalone workshops, lunch-and-learn discussions, coffee chats, and when requested, intensive opportunities designed specifically for departments and divisions. Our programming is offered in a face-to-face format; however, some are offered in an online modality and even self-paced.
CFAI supports academic programs as they develop and implement their program learning outcomes and seek ways to assess the learning results. Our focus is providing training to support assessment revision, data analysis, and curriculum and instruction review.