NSC Associate Professor Receives SoTL Award

Story by UCF Nicholson School of Communication

jamesKattJust weeks after receiving his second Teaching Incentive Program Award, James Katt, Ph.D., has gotten more great news. The Nicholson School of Communication human communication area coordinator has received the 2015-16 UCF Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) award. Offered by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, the award recognizes outstanding achievements in research and other scholarly and creative activities that focus on the effectiveness of teaching methods. Awardees from this program may also receive university support to attend and present papers at the International Conference on Teaching and Learning or other Teaching and Learning conferences.

“My teaching and my research are inexorably intertwined because I believe that the process of teaching and learning is communication (my discipline) – messages sent and received, conversations transacted, questions asked and answered, ideas coded into symbols that convey meaning. Whether the teaching and learning take a relational or rhetorical form, for teaching and learning to happen, people must communicate with one another. For as long as I have been teaching I have searched for ways to be more effective, but only in the last decade has that search become systematic and data-driven.

Silently, I am a person who asks ‘Why?’ about nearly everything. When I sit through someone’s painful PowerPoint presentation, I want to know why it is so painful and I want to know what could be done to make it less so. When my students respond positively to my feedback some times, but not other times, I want to know ‘Why?’ My research begins with ‘Why?’ While I prefer experimental, deductive methods, some questions are better answered by a reflective process – I try to match the method to the question.

I also believe there is little point to discovering something without sharing it with others. As the Carnegie Foundation (2010) has stated, teaching needs to be “public, subject to critical evaluation and usable by others in both the scholarly and the general community.” I believe that sharing results, and the attendant feedback that sharing engenders, is an essential part of the discovery process.” – Dr. James Katt

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