COSAM News Articles 2023 September Two COSAM senior lectures aim to help keep a passion for learning and growing as Biggio Faculty Fellows

Two COSAM senior lectures aim to help keep a passion for learning and growing as Biggio Faculty Fellows

Published: 09/19/2023

By: Maria Gebhardt

Adam Payne and Rachel Prado from the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) are Biggio Faculty Fellows for the term from 2023 to 2026.

“This presents a wonderful opportunity to break free from the typical faculty silo that we often find ourselves in,” said Prado.

The mission of the Biggio Center is to “bring together the people, ideas, and services that enable Auburn’s teaching community to prepare our graduates to be creative problem solvers in a global economy with a variety of opportunities including teaching and learning services, professional development programs, and grant and funding opportunities.

Payne, a senior lecturer in the Department of Geosciences, is excited to be able to give back to the Auburn community in this new role.

“I was extremely honored to be chosen to serve as a Faculty Fellow,” explained Payne who has been with Auburn since 2017. “I see it as a way for me to give back to the university and help other faculty members develop their teaching toolbox.”

Prado, a senior lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, looks forward to networking with others on the Plains.

“It is truly a tremendous honor to have been selected and to further solidify the collaborative work I have done with the Biggio Center in the past,” said Prado who has been with Auburn since 2019. “What excites me the most is dedicating a portion of my time to sharing best teaching practices with fellow faculty members across Auburn. While I've always enjoyed interacting with faculty in my Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and COSAM, the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the entire Auburn community is fun! My colleagues' joke that I'm a social butterfly, so it is a perfect fit.”

For Payne, he has a personal connection that ignited his passion to teach and continue to learn.

“It shows a level of commitment to being a teacher and illustrates the importance of developing your teaching,” said Payne. “As professors we often teach the same classes and, in those classes, we present the material in the same ways, often for many semesters. Opportunities, like those offered by the Biggio Center, allow a professor to see the classroom in a different light and encourages them to shake things up.”

Even a simple change can help change an educator’s perspective.

“These changes do not even have to be big,” Payne added. “The rethinking of how you approach one concept and the way you teach that concept can be enough to spark, sometime respark, your passion for teaching. That happened to me. I was pretty burned out teaching the same material for eight years. I took a Biggio Center workshop on gamification and it resparked my love for teaching. These kinds of opportunities also allow us to (re)examine and reflect upon the way we teach, enabling us to become better educators and reinforcing the idea of lifelong learning.” 

And the Biggio Center is helping them to share valuable ideas and techniques to become better educators.  

“Venturing out to various units across campus is both challenging and invigorating,” shared Prado. “Being able to observe teaching from disciplines vastly different from my own, such as mathematical modeling with supply chains, is truly fascinating. While I may not be an expert in these areas, I can still provide valuable insights on pedagogy for the faculty member. I also gain a fresh perspective by witnessing alternative approaches to problem-solving from different disciplines.”

COSAM faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scientists are encouraged to request instructional support online. They can visit and submit the online form.

“The Biggio Center offers several services that COSAM, or anyone on campus, can take advantage of. We offer course observations, small group instructional feedback, and course consultations for a variety of subjects,” said Payne.

Payne and Prado began a series of luncheons helping to showcase educational topics and practices.

“Specifically, for COSAM, Rachel and I are hosting Mobile Science Institute luncheons (MoSI) in which we meet to talk about different issues and concerns we have as teachers in COSAM but to also develop relationships across departments,” said Payne. “This is a continued community that started with MoSI workshop that was held over the summer, but anyone is welcome to come and eat with us!”

And this summer program has enthusiastically grown.

“Our first MoSI meeting of the semester was a success, and we are eagerly anticipating our next gathering scheduled for October. Keep an eye on your inbox for an email sent to COSAM with sign-up details,” said Prado.

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