MISSOULA – Lauren Fern, a faculty member with the University of Montana Department of Mathematics, recently was named a 2019 Montana University System Teaching Scholar.
Fern lectures and serves as student success coordinator in the math department. She is one of 12 faculty members across Montana selected for the program’s inaugural class by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the MUS Board of Regents. Those selected for this new honor develop high-impact teaching practices for student success and serve as exemplary models for others in higher education.
“It’s a joy to be recognized for my commitment to students and the impact I have on them – not only as mathematical learners, but holistically,” Fern said. “This program offers a great opportunity to deepen and extend this impact to further enhance the education of our students at UM.”
Fern will receive a $1,500 award, as well as a $500 stipend to design and facilitate a faculty learning community at UM.
“With this award I plan to gather a small group of math faculty from both Missoula College and the mountain campus to further develop and coordinate our math co-requisite courses and student success efforts more strategically,” she said. “We will build activities to actively engage students at all skill levels to reach their potential and deepen their conceptual understanding of core mathematical ideas in meaningful contexts.”
Faculty groups established by the MUS Teaching Scholar Program will work together to learn about and develop practices focused on this year’s scholars theme, “High-Impact Practices for Student Success.” The theme builds on a larger MUS project regarding high-impact practices funded through the Lumina Foundation.
High-impact practices proven to positively affect student success include freshman seminars on financial literacy, campus resources, study habit improvement, service learning, undergraduate research, internships and senior-year “capstone” research projects.
“This new MUS program is one way our office can celebrate and support outstanding faculty who are committed to making student learning more innovative, exciting and meaningful,” said Dr. Brock Tessman, an OCHE deputy commissioner.