KOKOMO, Ind. — Resources offered by Indiana University’s Faculty Colloquium on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) helped Leda Casey launch her teaching career more than 10 years ago, as an adjunct faculty member in geology.
Now senior lecturer of geology at IU Kokomo, she’s excited to give back to the organization, as one of its newest members. She and 12 other IU faculty members were inducted into FACET at its annual retreat.
“It is a huge honor for me to be chosen to be a part of such a prestigious group of excellent instructors,” she said. “Being part of a community known for innovation in teaching and the use of cutting-edge technology, that’s what I’m really excited about.”
Christian Chauret, dean of the School of Sciences, said Casey’s induction is “a well-deserved honor,” noting that her impact of the school’s school’s earth and sustainability sciences track is huge, as she led its development.
“Leda is a very innovative teacher, who is constantly exploring new teaching approaches for her courses,” he said. “She is greatly appreciated by her students. She has a tremendous impact in the School of Sciences. She is our only geologist, and teaches all geology and geography courses on campus.”
Casey, a Noblesville resident, worked as an environmental consultant, and then for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), before she was invited to join IUPUI as an adjunct faculty member. She quickly fell in love with teaching, and applied and was hired for the full-time teaching position at IU Kokomo in 2008. Her favorite part of working for IDEM was teaching, she said, but otherwise, the desk job just wasn’t for her.
In her first year at IU Kokomo, she attended a FACET conference for new instructors.
“It had a really big impact on me as an instructor, and encouraged me to seek out new teaching techniques and technologies,” she said.
“I really like to interact with people, and share my passion for geology and environmental science,” she said. “Teaching affords me that opportunity.”
Casey believes she is successful as a teacher because she strives to be a lifelong learner herself, seeking out opportunities to improve her knowledge and teaching.
“Good teachers always think they need to do more,” she said. “Over the past 10 years, the students have changed so much in their interests, and how they use technology. You just constantly feel like you need to meet them where they are. As they change, you have to change too. I always feel there is more I can do to get students engaged and passionate about the content.”
Her reward is when her students succeed.
“It always feels good when you hear from a student who just got a dream job, or was accepted to a graduate program, and says you sparked their interest,” she said. “It’s nice to hear about their successes, and know that you made an impact on them.”
In addition to inducting new members, the organization also hosted its annual FACET Awards for Innovative Learning Activities, to honor faculty who bring passion, innovation, and creativity to the classroom to promote student success across IU, and help share best practices in teaching, for the benefit of the entire IU community.
At least one IU Kokomo faculty member was honored in each category, and two received awards.
Tara Kingsley, assistant professor of education, was honored in the creative use of online tools category; while Jessica Henderson, assistant professor of health sciences received the award for community engagement, and also was nominated in the intensive writing category.
IU Kokomo nominees included Melinda Stanley, visiting lecturer in health care management, collaborative activities; Christina Ivanova, visiting lecturer in English and language arts, Amanda Hanson, adjunct faculty member, creative use of online tools; and Joshua Mugg, lecturer in philosophy, learning how to learn.
FACET was established in 1989 as the service oriented teaching academy of IU. Members are chosen annually through a peer review process. Each year, members are involved in collaborative activities at the campus, university, and national level, promoting inquiry and engagement in teaching and learning.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.