Supporting Great Teaching for Student Success

Teaching Day attendees talking to each other over lunch.

Teaching Day is an annual fall event drawing faculty from across GW into conversation around teaching and learning.

(photo: Harrison Jones, B.F.A. ‘19/the George Washington University)

At GW Libraries and Academic Innovation (GWLAI), we provide students with what they need for academic success, and students can be the most successful when they have access to great teaching. In The Instructional Core, our new, comprehensive unit is designed to facilitate collaborations between GWLAI’s team of experts and our university instructors.

The Instructional Core includes instructional designers, teaching and learning specialists, instructional technologists, programmers, graphic designers, and videographers, who partner with faculty to enhance the learning experience. The support this team provides is critical for ensuring that GW delivers high-quality instruction, whether in person, online or in blended environments.

The main pillars of The Instructional Core
are advocacy, research and excellence.

The main pillars of The Instructional Core are advocacy, research and excellence. GWLAI is well positioned to advocate for and support students’ learning from a holistic perspective. That includes making sure they have access to the skills and tools they’ll need to succeed once they leave GW. A key set of skills for today’s students involves fluency in digital tools for creating and editing multimedia. GWLAI is leading this effort, in part by supporting faculty who want to include these skills in their curricula.

Teaching Day attendees collaborating on an activity.

Teaching Day attendees collaborate at a keynote address in which scholarly approaches to linking learning goals, instructional practices, and assessment were discussed.

(photo: Harrison Jones, B.F.A. ‘19/the George Washington University)

“We continue to work toward seamless instructional and technological integration using sound adult-learning pedagogies,” says Yordanos Baharu, executive director for academic enterprise applications.

Another growth area related to the research pillar is the use of learning analytics and the collection and analysis of data on learners. 

“Assessment is the cornerstone of good course design, student engagement, mastery of course content, and student satisfaction, says Patricia Dinneen, Ed.D., director of faculty development. “By focusing on learning analytics, The Instructional Core can help faculty address learning gaps and develop effective instructional methods in order to meet the needs of students.”

Lastly, The Instructional Core continually strives to ensure that all instructional offerings meet excellence standards through sound design and implementation principles. 

Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano standing at a podium in front of a large display, looking proudly over the crowd.

Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano, Ed.D., Ph.D., introduces The Instructional Core, a brand-new enterprise supporting instructors and students in lifelong learning.

(photo: Harrison Jones, B.F.A. ‘19/the George Washington University)

“Our instructional design team works with faculty to ensure that ALL students, no matter their specific needs, can access instruction in a way that makes the learning environment a level playing field,” explains Maddy Kadish, director of instructional design. 

To lead these expanding initiatives, Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano, Ed.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical research and leadership in GW’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences, accepted a dual appointment with GWLAI as associate dean of innovative and collaborative pedagogy in January 2019. In his time working with the team, he has actively gathered feedback from throughout GW to assess how our teaching and learning units can best collaborate with faculty and instructors to meet the growing needs of students.

“The Instructional Core is a direct result of the growth in demand for faculty development, instructional excellence and holistic student benefits over the past three to four years,” says Gaetano. “I had been taking advantage of these opportunities myself as a faculty member, and I knew it was time to really think creatively about how to bring together the wealth of GWLAI teaching and learning resources into one unified unit, The Instructional Core. We have greater aspirations than ever before, and I am confident in the ability of this team, their enthusiasm, and expertise to meet them.”