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The Antelope

Center for Teaching Excellence fosters quality education

Shannon Mulhearn heads Center for Teaching Excellence. Photo by Brianna White / Antelope Staff

A transformation is underway at the Center for Teaching Excellence at UNK, where the goal is to nurture a culture of high-quality education. With innovative ideas and a commitment to reshaping the way education is delivered, this revitalized center is on a mission to empower both faculty and staff to become architects of excellence in the classroom and beyond.

The Center for Teaching Excellence, in the second floor of the Communication Center’s atrium, is being redesigned to create a hub for teaching and learning. This renovated space will facilitate collaboration, offer informal discussion opportunities and encourage faculty and staff from across UNK to explore its many possibilities.

The Center for Teaching Excellence’s advisory committee plays a pivotal role in identifying educators’ evolving needs on campus, highlighting existing resources and driving the development of new ones. 

“Even teachers are ongoing learners, and if we stop learning, we stagnate,” said Shannon Mulhearn, the interim director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. 

Mulhearn said the center’s ultimate goal is to promote and support high-quality teaching practices, recognizing that the education landscape is ever-evolving. She emphasized the importance of ensuring that students receive the best education possible, with teachers equipped with the tools they need to excel in their roles. 

The Center for Teaching Excellence had been on hiatus, but Mulhearn said the center is now working to make a comeback. 

“We’re communicating with past leaders of the center to honor tradition while recognizing the changing needs of today’s students,” Mulhearn says. 

The vision for the Center for Teaching Excellence is clear: establish a culture of high-quality education that extends throughout the entire campus. The center aims to create a culture where everyone, regardless of their role at UNK, considers their impact on students and strives for excellence in teaching. Mulhearn said she hopes that the expectation at UNK will be that anyone associated with the institution will embody high-quality teaching practices. 

The center has plans for the upcoming year. They’ve launched a comprehensive survey to understand faculty and staff’s confidence levels and areas of need for high-quality teaching. Mulhearn is also collaborating with various educational groups on campus. 

Stepping into the role of interim director this summer, Mulhearn brings a wealth of experience to the Center for Teaching Excellence. With a background in K-12 education, teaching in different states and trade school experience, Mulhearn understands the multifaceted nature of teaching. While serving as interim director, she dedicates a quarter of her time to this position while also actively contributing as a faculty member the rest of the time.

Mulhearn said her vision is to merge these diverse experiences to support students through high-quality teaching practices, both in-person and through UNK’s expanding online opportunities. As a proponent of open dialogue and collaboration, she envisions the center as a space where individuals can drop in, ask questions, and engage in meaningful conversations to enhance education.

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Brianna White
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