As the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin transitions to a completely remote teaching model in response to COVID-19 for the spring semester, the college has created a new position to support faculty in adapting their curriculum.
Dr. Julie Schell, currently executive director of Executive and Extended Education in the School of Design and Creative Technologies, has been appointed into a new, temporary role: Assistant Dean of Instructional Continuity and Innovation.
In this new role, Schell will provide teaching and learning support to Fine Arts faculty members as they transition instruction to a remote-learning format. In the past week, Schell had already been offering Fine Arts-specific training for faculty on how to use Zoom and how to adapt their classes in an online format, with an emphasis on ways to use the platform to ensure positive learning experiences for our students.
“Much of the teaching and learning we do in the College of Fine Arts is embodied and social in the most literal senses of those terms. It’s hard to imagine another curriculum more resistant to virtual and socially distanced pedagogy, said College of Fine Arts Dean Dempster. “Many of these remote learning technologies, however, open possibilities that can enrich and strengthen our traditional methods of teaching and creating. The opportunity to explore these possibilities has now been thrust upon us, and we want to make the most of them.”
In her new role, Schell will be focused on two areas: academic innovation and supporting academic continuity. She will be providing advice, coaching and resources to faculty working to adapt their teaching to an online delivery method. The dean has also asked her to explore and preserve aspects of that teaching that we may want to extend into the college’s future teaching delivery methods.
Schell is a prominent expert in the design and scaling of educational innovation. She has more than 20 years of experience in higher education and has held positions at the nation’s top research universities, including Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard and most recently UT Austin. Her scholarship focuses on the science of learning, pedagogical innovation and technology. She is also an Assistant Professor of Practice in the College of Education, where she has taught higher education technology and pedagogy courses for seven years and in the School of Design and Creative Technologies, where she teaches design pedagogy courses.
“I am so honored to serve our college and to work alongside our world-renowned faculty,” said Schell. “This moment in time presents us with the extraordinary opportunity to come together and ensure continued learning for all of our students at the highest level. As a scholar of teaching and learning, I am passionate about designing innovative models to help people learn best, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to do just that for the Fine Arts community and beyond.”