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‘At the end of the day, good teaching is good teaching’

Dr. Joyce Langenegger and the Center for Teaching and Learning provide a wealth of resources to help Blinn professors inspire student achievement

Dr. Joyce Langenegger

March 23, 2021

From the time Joyce Langenegger was 12 years old, she wanted to be an attorney.

In pursuit of that dream, she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science at Baylor University, then her law degree from Baylor Law School. She entered the field, specialized in real estate law, and for almost 20 years, she was living her girlhood dream.

Until she realized that, perhaps, it wasn’t her dream any longer.

“I began to realize that what they would put on my tombstone was, ‘She made rich people richer,’” Langenegger said. “I decided that was not a great tribute to a life.”

Instead, Langenegger returned to Baylor to complete her master’s degree and turned to the classroom. Though she previously taught elementary and middle school, she opted for something new, taking an adjunct position teaching political science with San Jacinto College.

“The moment I walked into that classroom, I was home,” she said. “This was where I should be.”

Langenegger discovered that she not only enjoyed interacting with her students, but particularly enjoyed the science behind learning and instruction. In pursuit of her Ph.D., she wrote her dissertation on the experiences of faculty who could identify a eureka moment within the previous two to three years that inspired them to change their teaching style.

In 2006, Langenegger began to teach part-time at Blinn, then moved into a full-time teaching role in 2011. In 2014, she was named Director of Professional Development and founded Blinn’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), which provides faculty frequent workshops on evidence-based instructional strategies, class climate, effective use of technology, and other topics.

“Dr. Langenegger is thorough, patient, methodical, and a great communicator, but more important, she is a student-centered colleague with an unwavering passion for education,” said Dr. Marcelo Bussiki, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The CTL became more important than ever when Blinn and other colleges and universities across the nation adapted to COVID-19. As Blinn converted more than 2,000 course sections to an online format for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, Langenegger and her team provided valuable tips and guidance to make that transition easier.

“The College was able to react so quickly because this valuable training takes place on an ongoing basis,” Bussiki said. “This was a massive undertaking, but we were able to move quickly because Academic Success and our instructional designers were already heavily training faculty in online teaching well before COVID.”

“Our instructional designers did a phenomenal job,” Langenegger said. “They would prepare something and I would act as the beta, letting them know if it was easy to follow.”

Just as professors across the College converted their classrooms online, the CTL moved its workshops to a virtual format as well. As many as 200 faculty participated in some of the workshops related to online learning, and the CTL invited nationally recognized speakers to participate via Zoom.

As Blinn launched its Back With Blinn COVID-19 plan in the Fall semester, CTL hosted workshops designed to help instructors maintain engagement in online classes and to integrate simultaneous Zoom and face-to-face instruction.

Dr. April Kinkead, Faculty Senate President and English Department Professor, said the efforts of Langenegger and the CTL were much appreciated.

“Dr. Langenegger and her team devoted themselves to prepping, training, and mentoring faculty to lift as much of the technical burden off our shoulders as they could,” Kinkead said. “I have no doubt that students as much as faculty benefitted from their tireless endeavor and that we all are the better for it.”

Langenegger said some of the lessons learned will carry on past the pandemic. For example, she noted that faculty have noticed that students are more likely to participate in a Zoom meeting with their professor than a face-to-face conference. Students also have responded positively to the online tutoring Blinn launched last Spring.

“The areas of interest have shifted, but at the end of the day, good teaching is good teaching,” Langenegger said. “You care about your students, you interact with them, and you come up with ways to engage them and deliver the material to make it more memorable for them.”

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