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HCC Pilots CSCU System Initiative Focused On Student Success and Teaching Excellence Faculty Earns 2017 Board of Regents Award

BRIDGEPORT, CT – Housatonic Community College’s (HCC) 50th Annual Commencement Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena with more than 600 receiving degrees. This year however, students aren’t the only academics to earn distinction.

This month, HCC faculty earned a first-of-its-kind Certificate in Effective College Instruction, a nationally recognized credential endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). They are among the first educators across the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system to complete the program, which includes participation in a comprehensive pedagogical training course offered through the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE).

“Our exceptional faculty and staff embrace any opportunity to ensure HCC students acquire the skills and knowledge they need in the workplace and as lifelong learners,” said Michael B. Brown, Academic Dean at Housatonic Community College. “I commend their enthusiastic participation in ACUE’s program, which once again demonstrates their deep commitment to student success.”

HCC is one of four state institutions that piloted ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices this semester as part of CSCU’s system-wide initiative to promote student success through instructional excellence. CSCU’s initiative to scale effective instruction for all 85,000 of the system’s students is based on decades of research that show evidence-based teaching practices help students engage in their studies, learn more, and graduate.

The ACUE course brought together HCC faculty across a range of disciplines, from engineering, to journalism, to psychology. The cohort not only learned about research-based instructional practices; but worked together to implement the practices in the classroom, to immediately impact student learning and engagement.

Laura Turiano, an assistant professor of psychology, course participant and CSCU Board of Regents 2017 Teaching Award winner, said she implemented a "jigsaw" technique to create a more active learning environment in her class. “It was amazing! The classroom was abuzz with lively discussions and you could really feel that vibe in the classroom,” said Turiano, “Their mini-presentations were comprehensive and informative and they performed better on this chapter quiz as a result compared to students in the course last semester.”

To earn the Certificate in Effective College Instruction, faculty completed more than two dozen modules across five major units of study aligned to ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework. The Course addresses over 200 evidence-based practices on topics including syllabus design, student motivation and persistence, active learning techniques, higher order thinking, and the effective use of assessments.

Steve Mark, professor of English and Director of the Center for Teaching at Housatonic Community College disclosed, "As the facilitator for the course and the college faculty development coordinator, I was excited to see faculty not only trying new strategies but also engaging in meaningful discussions about their classroom successes and challenges. This was true for both our newer teachers and the more seasoned professors. These conversations spilled out of the online course and into our interactions on campus, helping to support ongoing professional development through our Center for Teaching and our commitment to making good teachers great."

About Housatonic Community College

Housatonic Community College is a student-centered institution offering Associate Degree programs in preparation for transfer to four-year institutions, as well as occupationally oriented Associate Degree and Certificate programs. The College provides high quality, accessible instructional and student services within an environment of mutual respect among faculty, staff, and students. Housatonic Community College is one of 12 regional community colleges within the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU) system, and is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.

About ACUE

ACUE was founded in 2014 by leaders in higher education to promote quality instruction at colleges and universities nationwide. ACUE’s comprehensive Course in Effective Teaching Practices prepares college educators to implement all of the essential practices shown to improve student outcomes. This facilitated, online course is offered to cohorts of faculty at participating institutions. Educators who satisfy course requirements earn a Certificate in Effective College Instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACUE partners with colleges and universities to make great teaching a key driver of their student success. To learn more, visit

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