10 Questions With Kent State’s Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

Michelle Corvette, Ph.D.s, is the new assistant director of Kent State University’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). The CTL’s mission is to enrich students' lives by supporting faculty members with evidence-based, student-focused and innovative teaching and learning measures. Corvette is excited about providing support to Kent State faculty across all of the Kent State campuses.
Dr. Michelle Corvette, Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

Learn more about Corvette and the CTL as she answers these 10 questions.

How would you describe your position at Kent State University?

Within the role of the assistant director for the CTL, first and foremost I am able to provide outstanding support for our faculty. In this role, we provide workshops across all of our campuses, including the regional ones, so that we can focus those workshops on specific topics for our departments or colleges based on their individual needs. Currently, there has been an increased interest around inclusionary teaching practices as well as a continued focus on diversity, equity and justice.  

What else does the CTL do?

In addition to our workshops, we also participate in a partnership with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, co-sponsoring the Anti-Biased Workshop Series. These workshops go in-depth into equity, microaggressions, biases, understanding racism and anti-racism, understanding inclusive teaching practices and building community for all of our Kent State campuses.

We also have multiple programs for faculty to participate in during the year including a Faculty Reading Group, Faculty Fellows, Faculty Scholars, Faculty Affiliates and projects such as our Student Belonging Project for this year. I think the Reading Group is particularly beneficial to our faculty for building community following remote teaching last year. Right now we are reading a book titled “The Spark of Learning” that highlights how emotions can be present in classrooms and how faculty can foster those emotions to build engagement around their teaching and what they are doing.

Bringing innovation into the classroom is another aspect of what we focus on. There are always new ideas out there in higher education so we are in the background doing the research and attending conferences then bringing that forward to our faculty to help them improve and be there for their students. Finally, we offer one-on-one consultations with faculty members to support them as needed.

Tell us more about your experience outside of Kent State?

I came to Kent State in May of 2021. I am a former tenured associate professor and I have taught internationally at Goldsmiths, University of London, where I was teaching critical studies in the visual arts. It was wonderful to have that experience as an international faculty member. 

Teaching for 22 years was truly rewarding and it allowed me to work with students one-on-one where I gained numerous valuable insights. Now I know it's time to take all of that knowledge and give that back to our faculty community to enable them to build relationships with students that are supportive, motivational and inclusionary.

What intrigued you to start working at Kent State and why?

When I saw the position I knew I wanted to get back into the environment of teaching and learning and how rewarding it is to work with so many different faculty members. I had the realization that if I worked at a Center for Teaching and Learning, I would be able to help the faculty in terms of improving their teaching strategies, techniques, ideas, creativity and then have those faculty be able to help all of their students. I saw it as a way to build a domino effect where you are not just helping a single person but rather, you are helping a person be empowered to help everyone else.

Specifically with Kent State as soon as I met the director, Jennifer Marcinkiewicz, I wanted to work here. Marcinkiewicz is an absolutely phenomenal person and once I interviewed with her it made my desire increase tenfold because I view her as a wealth of knowledge and experience. She has so much to offer, especially being with Kent State for almost 30 years. Coming to the campus and feeling the vibe here was very meaningful as well, I really fell in love with Kent State.

Why are you excited about your new position?

One of the things that excited me was that I would be able to help design some new programs for the Center, and I think that appeals to my creativity and also my knowledge base. The first major program that we launched this past fall was the Early Career Teaching Program (ECTP). This program is for new faculty and postdocs who have been immersed in academia but perhaps are within the first three years of that immersion and it really helps support them on their career path. I remember what it was like to be new faculty and how sometimes you struggle with things you just don’t know, and we were able to set up a program that really helps these faculty members and post-docs succeed. 

What is something you want the people of Kent State to know about you?

I think that it is so easy to forget that we are all human, and you know the pandemic has allowed us to appreciate each other more. Something I would like to highlight is that I also love the wellness focus here at Kent State. I recently joined the Trek program which is helping me learn more about the community environment and the campus even more. So I love those opportunities that are available for staff and faculty here to increase engagement. 

What is one piece of advice you have for students?

Take the time to invest in your faculty by going to their office hours and try to get to know them as not just your professor, but also as a person. Have the courage to have conversations with them and let your professors a little into your life. I think that we bring our lived experiences into the classroom. For students, it is so intimidating because you can see your professors as these heads of knowledge, but they are really just people who care deeply about your learning.

How did your passions bring you to this position?

I have always had a passion for teaching. I knew that even as an undergraduate student when I found myself helping others in my classes to understand the material. I found that really rewarding in a very holistic sense. With my passion for teaching combined with my passion for creativity and the arts, I just saw so many opportunities to bring to fruition with the CTL.

Are there any events or new projects the Center is working on you would like to share?

We have launched our new Faculty Affiliates Program, the Early Career Teaching Program, Faculty Reading Groups and the Student Belonging Project all this year with plans for more exciting initiatives in the future. 

What is something the Center for Teaching and Learning offers that you would like people to know more about?

Our Faculty Scholars Program, Faculty Fellows Program and the new Faculty Affiliates Program are really wonderful initiatives that we offer every year, and I think highlighting those is important because they offer the faculty a chance to partner with the Center in meaningful and engaging ways. We have found that the programs provide a sense of community and belonging for our faculty which then has a positive effect on our students. 

POSTED: Monday, April 25, 2022 - 10:10am
UPDATED: Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 3:29pm
Haley Kisling