SPRINGFIELD, Mo., September 26, 2018 — Drury is pleased to welcome Ying Cao, Ph.D., to the position of Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching. In her new role, Cao provides leadership and resources to help Drury faculty continue to optimize their teaching practices and provide the best possible learning experience for students.
Cao brings extensive knowledge in both teaching and administration. Before coming to Drury, she spent thirteen years as an educator in a high school setting, including six years as the Director of the Department for Teaching and Curriculum at Zhengzhou No. 1 High School in Zhengzhou, China. She has taught courses at both Tufts University and Oregon State University, working with teachers in professional development programs and serving as a pedagogical resource for faculty. Her educational background includes postdoctoral research in both secondary and post-secondary education at Oregon State, where she published numerous peer-reviewed papers. Prior to that, she earned her doctorate in STEM Education from Tufts University, and a B.S. in Physics at Beijing Normal University.
The newly-established Center for Innovation in Teaching provides resources to Drury educators and serve as a hub for innovative learning ideas on campus. As Director of the Center, Cao will work with other faculty to further proliferate the best evidence-based teaching practices, many of which are already being used in Drury classrooms.
“I am hoping to create and cultivate a space where Drury faculty can share their thoughts and ideas about teaching, collectively renew ourselves as educators, and improve student learning experience,” Cao says. “It is a great honor to have the opportunity.”
One focus of Cao’s work will be to promote experiential learning opportunities at Drury.
“I think deep learning happens when learners are engaged in authentic professional practice settings,” Cao says. “The knowledge and skills gained from the ‘learn-practice-reflect-understand cycle’ embedded in experiential learning is extremely valuable for students both in school and in future life.”
Real-world application has long been a pillar of Drury’s academic program, which requires all students to engage in at least two extensive hands-on learning experiences prior to graduation.