T. Stores of Newfane, an associate professor of English in the University of Hartford’s College of Arts and Sciences, was honored with an Innovation in Teaching and Learning Award at the University’s annual Faculty/Staff Kickoff on Wednesday, Aug 29. The award honors faculty members who have shown exceptional dedication, innovation, and effectiveness in their teaching, as well as extensive interaction with students.
This past fall Stores designed and taught the First-Year Seminar course “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes”, pairing first-semester students in the College of Arts and Sciences with new residents at the Duncaster Lifecare Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Conn. Her stroke of genius was to take the subtext of the First-Year Seminar experience – the difficulty of leaving the familiar behind in order to embrace a new chapter in life – and make it the explicit subject matter of the course. Supported by two grants from the University’s Women’s Education and Leadership Fund, Stores arranged for her students to put the assigned class readings to work in the examination of their own transition to college and in interviews with Duncaster residents filmed for a series of projects about life transitions.
Stores’s course introduced students to the fundamentals of academic inquiry, engaged them in a significant semester-long project, and connected them to a community beyond the University. Her seminar is a supreme example of squeezing as much learning as possible out of a single, three-hour-per-week course.