Dr. McFarlane Receives SDAH Innovative Teaching Award!

Dr. Megan McFarlane was awarded the School of Design, Arts, & Humanities Innovative Teaching Award for this year. This award recognizes teaching practice(s) that (a) stimulate students’ ability to meaningfully and creatively engage with the material in order to stimulate interest and advance their knowledge, (b) foster a learning-centered approach that leads to significant learning, (c) leads to creative learning by implementing new methods, tools, and content that can benefit learners and their creative potential, and (d) promote active learning through deep participation and collaboration, authentic learning tasks, and engagement with instructor and peers.

Dr. McFarlane was recognized as engaging in these practices through her utilization of various teaching methods, as well as mentoring students. In the four years she has been teaching in the Communication Department at Marymount, she has had nine new course preps and taught five Honors Tutorials (including HON 200, HON 399, and HON 400). In addition to Communication and Honors courses, she has also co-taught a Discover 101 course and also IS 300: Advanced Gender Studies (through the Gender & Society minor). In all of these courses, she has consistently challenged herself to keep her teaching innovative, effective, and interesting. She has primarily done this through new teaching methods (e.g., PollEverywhere, student-led classes), guest speakers, field trips (NPR, NBC4, the Newseum, and CSIS), and participating in the Global Classroom Series (Public Speaking, Spring 2019, Greece; Media Criticism, Spring 2020, London—Cancelled due to COVID-19).

In addition to these various teaching methods, Dr. McFarlane also mentors students in two primary ways: encouraging submissions to research conferences and submissions for scholarships. In order to encourage conference submissions, her first year at Marymount she created and proposed a new course, Media Criticism that would encourage more student research in the department. Since incorporating this course into the curriculum, the Communication Department has seen a significant increase in students presenting research at conferences, including MU’s Student Research Conference (2018, 2019, 2020), and the Virginia Association of Communication Arts & Sciences (VACAS) at GMU (2018, 2020). Furthermore, Dr. McFarlane mentors students by encouraging them to apply for scholarships. She has been especially excited when her students win awards such as the Capital Speakers Club (CSC) Scholarship (Noelle Larino, 2018) and CSC honorable mention (Cristiana Salazar and Valeria Perdomo, 2019). Her mentorship has also been recognized when she was elected to the National Faculty Advisory Board for Lambda Pi Eta (LPH), the National Communication Honor Society, where she is currently serving a two-year term. She was even more excited when one of her LPH officers was elected to the national Student Advisory Board in the fall of 2019.

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