Now, more than ever, it’s clear the great lengths teachers will go for their students. They have stepped up, adapted fast, and persisted through great uncertainty during a pandemic. And while they always rise to the challenge to support their students, their efforts are not always given the praise and appreciation they deserve.
In light of National Teacher Appreciation Week, it’s time to celebrate teachers. It’s time to shine a spotlight on the essential workers in our society who are too often taken for granted. As the single most essential component in an educational experience, faculty instruct, synthesize, engage, and lift students up along their learning journey. Ask anyone you know about a teacher who impacted their lives and you'll hear a deeply personal story of an educator who inspired that person and shaped who they are today. Affecting students one at a time, teachers have a reach far beyond their classrooms and students. They are critical to meet the needs of students, to meet the needs of the economy, and to educate the next generation of world leaders. They are heroes.
As the chief university operations officer at 2U, I’m responsible for overseeing our Faculty Success team who work with these heroes every day. The team often discusses the qualities of faculty capable of tremendous impact. Great faculty empower each and every one of their students to be brave and truly engage with their learning experience. They encourage students to ask questions, take risks, and be open about their thoughts and ideas. All-star faculty in 2U-powered programs take our mission to eliminate the back row in higher education to heart and create an equal learning opportunity for all of their students. They prepare students not only with the skills and expertise to pursue their passion but with the confidence as well.
These all-stars are professors like Rob Rogers, who has taught in Baylor University’s Master of Social Work online program since 2019.
According to Nick Courtney, a faculty relationship manager at 2U, “Professor Rogers approached teaching with 2U with an open mind, and has continued to devote time to learning more about how best to use our platform to create the best experience for his students.” Every time Nick connects with Rob, it feels like he’s talking to an old friend, and it’s evident that Rob leaves the same impression on his students. “He’s a top-notch teacher, but more importantly, a top-notch human being.”
Then there’s Stephanie Hubbell of Emerson College’s Master in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) online program. She graduated from the program and now teaches at Emerson.
“Professor Hubbell has been a joy to meet and work alongside,” said Tiffany Brown, an onboarding specialist at 2U. “As an alumna of the same program she now teaches in, Stephanie is a prime example of how we are creating positive student outcomes. She shares tips and visuals she created as a student tutor to help students with other courses they are taking. This has advanced her credibility and passion for the subject material.”
For 2U Faculty Training Specialist Marylynne Lawson, it’s Barbara Lincoln who stands out as a faculty pioneer. Barbara teaches in Pepperdine University’s Master of Science in Management and Leadership online program and uses her enthusiasm about her content to inspire student engagement during live sessions.
“Professor Lincoln is kind, funny, and really cares about people. She has shown overwhelming compassion during this troubling time to her students and me during our regular coaching sessions,” said Marylynne. “Even though her sessions are meant for me to teach her the latest engagement strategies, I always leave having learned something new myself.”
Marylynne also points to Fordham Business Online Professor Timothy Malefyt as a progressive leader in the online teaching space.
“Professor Malefyt schedules regular coaching sessions with me to learn the latest strategies and techniques in regards to his content and the technology available to him,” said Marylynne. “Before his 2U-powered course officially began, Timothy had to quickly put all of his in-person classes online. He was creating and planning for his 2U-powered course at the same time he was transitioning his other courses online.” While a big lift, Marylynne says he managed the digital transformation with great patience and skill.
As for 2U Faculty Relationship Manager Patrick Dunlap, the professor who constantly impresses him is Tim Conrad of Counseling@NYU.
“Professor Conrad is incredibly enthusiastic about teaching online and is continuously working to learn new functions of the technology to incorporate into his classroom,” said Patrick. “Tim has led two Faculty Enrichment Seminars to share his knowledge with other faculty. He is always looking for ways to give back to his peers and reinforce positive teaching methods for student success.”
Rob, Stephanie, Barbara, Timothy, and Tim are a sampling of the incredible faculty my team has the pleasure of working with to better the online classroom experience. They are dedicated to continuously growing, learning, and adapting to best serve their students. It’s professors like these who we could not do our impactful work at 2U without. We thank faculty today—and every day—for their unyielding commitment to student success.
Learn more about us.
At 2U, we’re on a mission—to eliminate the back row in higher education and help universities thrive in the digital age. To learn more about who we are and what we do, follow the links below.