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Group of smiling people wearing lei and flashing shaka
The first ACUE cohort were recognized at a ceremony in February 2023.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is one of 10 colleges and universities that participated in a first-of-its-kind national study by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) demonstrating that when college and university faculty participate in high-quality comprehensive “gateway” courses in effective teaching practices, they report substantial increases in their confidence in using these proven practices, while also seeing positive changes in their mindsets about their ability to impact student learning.

We are incredibly proud to have been part of this work with ACUE
—Laura Lyons

A report by ACUE was released revealing these significant implications for higher education.

Since being invited to participate in ACUE’s three-year study, “Impacts of Faculty Development on Faculty’s Mindsets and Self-Efficacy,” funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in fall 2021, UH Mānoa has engaged 65 faculty from various disciplines and departments across the university with support from the Center for Teaching Excellence in the Office of Faculty Development and Academic Support.

graphic of A C U E course modules

The first study cohort completed ACUE program courses that covered evidence-based teaching practices proven through independently-validated research to improve student achievement and close equity gaps. The cohort was recognized at a ceremony in February and presented with a nationally-recognized Certificate in Effective College Instruction, the only college teaching credential endorsed by the American Council on Education.

“We are incredibly proud to have been part of this work with ACUE,” said Laura Lyons, UH Mānoa interim vice provost for academic excellence. “As we continue to engage more faculty in the study, our hope is that thousands of our students will benefit and achieve academic success, while adding important contributions to our understanding of faculty impact on student success.”

Data reveals growth mindset in students

Data collected by ACUE revealed that students taught by ACUE-trained faculty perceived significant increases in their own growth mindset, as well as their confidence participating in class, attending office hours, and managing their coursework and deadlines. That feedback came from nearly 3,000 student surveys.

Jason Kenji Higa, assistant professor of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, who was part of the first cohort, said he was happy he took part in the ACUE courses and has seen an improvement in his students who actively participate in activities.

higa congratulated by president lassner
Jason Kenji Higa is congratulated by UH President David Lassner for completing the ACUE courses.

“The program is evidence-based and it shows I’m using the best practices and most current practices, so getting that kind of credential says that, ‘Hey, I have something standardized and other people are using nationwide’ so that’s pretty meaningful,” he said.

The long-range study focuses on “gateway” courses, with data collected from more than 570 faculty nationally who participated in ACUE’s comprehensive Effective Teaching Practice Framework courses, and more than 1,000 faculty, who had not yet participated in ACUE’s courses. Faculty are surveyed four times over two years, including using mindset items originally developed by noted researcher Carol Dweck. Students enrolled in gateway courses taught by faculty who participated in ACUE’s comprehensive Effective Teaching Practice Framework courses, were also surveyed.

“Mindsets matter. What we believe about our students’ ability to learn affects what they will learn, or won’t,” said Jonathan Gyurko, ACUE president and co-founder. “Even though beliefs are famously hard to change, today’s strong findings show that minds change when professors become better teachers. It’s more evidence that the best way to educate many more students for purposeful lives is to ensure effective instruction in every class.”

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