Madara Mason

Madara Mason's hats include painter, graphic designer, Instructional Designer, faculty educator, English Instructor, food blogger, and Oxford Comma Aficionado. If she's not in front of an easel, she's in front of a screen, or in front of a classroom. Her motto is "If you're not having fun, you're probably doing it wrong."

Meet the  2013-14 UAF CITE Fellows!

We were very excited to welcome these faculty into the inaugural year of CITE Fellows.  Their experience, dedication, and fearless enthusiasm served as a catalyst for other UAF faculty. eCampus is always looking for ways to support teaching and learning, and this has been one of our most exciting initiatives.

Dr. Obadare Awoleke

Assistant Professor of Petroleum Engineering, Department of Petroleum Engineering

When we spoke with Dr. Awoleke in the Fall, we were impressed with his understanding of the future role of online education. At UAF eCampus, we know that big ideas are risky and were excited to have someone on board who was willing to take risks and learn from the results. Big-picture thinking demands a great deal of energy and insight, and courage in the face of possible failure.  Uncertainty even plays a role in his research where he is looking into the incorporation of uncertainty into the models used by petroleum engineers to predict oil and gas well productivity.

After working with Dr. Awoleke, we’ve come to see him as an innovator whose ideas stretch beyond the bounds of his own classroom, and even UAF, onto a more global platform. His interest in collaborating with students and faculty in Nigeria and his experience with online delivery of Engineering courses to students in Anchorage demonstrate this new Professor’s willingness to approach higher education from new directions.

Dr. Kriya Dunlap

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry

When someone grows up in upstate NY with 150 sled dogs like Dr. Kriya Dunlap did, that person naturally develops an interest in animal nutrition and exercise physiology. Her appointment at the UAF is half research, half teaching, with her research housed in the Institute of Arctic Biology and teaching housed in the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. We assume that Dr. Dunlap also nurtured her sense of independence and individuality in the dog yard as well, and we’re counting on these qualities to help her overturn calcified classroom traditions in favor of active, engaged learning.

Dr. Dunlap practices active, engaged learning in her personal and professional life: she is the regional coordinator for the National Institute of Health’s STEP-UP program, which provides summer research opportunities for Alaskan Native junior and senior high school students; she works closely with village mushers; is an active member of the Alaska Dog Mushers Association and Alaska Skijor and Pulk Association; and she strongly supports Alaskan Native and rural community involvement in research endeavors that involve subsistence health and sustainability.  We think her involvement in the CITE Fellows will produce an interesting marriage of innovation and rural subsistence traditions.

Mareca Guthrie

Assistant Professor of Art, Art Department; Curator of Fine Arts, Museum of the North

Mareca Guthrie’s approach to innovation across disciplines is particularly appealing to UAF eCampus; Mareca is part of a National Science Foundation project to help young women who are interested in art build identities in the sciences through hands-on activities that create intersections between biology, physics, and visual art. She’s amalgamating concepts like the flipped classroom, video-based homework assignments, and open course websites in an attempt to build a more meaningful education in the face-to-face classroom. Mareca is aware of the relationship between innovation and tradition, knowing that innovation sometimes comes from something subtle such as a new use for an old material or combining skills from disparate traditions in new ways. Her current courses in the economics of art and the history of paints and pigments are testament to her explorations in these areas.

Between curating the fine arts collection for the Museum of the North, teaching classes as a professor in the UAF Art Department and the Honors Program, and building a 250 square foot house on wheels, Mareca is working with a number of Instructional Designers to create links between her current projects and newer, exploratory fields like augmented reality and novel user interfaces. The size of the audience for the Museum of the North creates an exciting opportunity for educational experiences that impact a wide range of ages, locations, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Dr. Rorik Peterson

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Like many Alaskans, and like many of the CITE Fellows, Dr. Peterson’s research and personal life reveal interesting connections between the way we live as Alaskans and larger, scholarly areas of interest.  He lives off the grid, and often skijors with his 8 rescue huskies, and both activities inform and reflect his research into renewable energy integration and sustainable arctic infrastructures.

We were attracted to Dr. Peterson’s honesty about the challenge of teaching the same course repeatedly and how trying this can be for faculty coupled with his enthusiasm for the joy that students obviously experience when they experience a lower-division engineering course that’s engaging and interesting. Dr. Peterson’s interest in getting more women involved in Mechanical Engineering through emphasizing the social importance of engineering is also appealing to us at eCampus, since one of our goals is to increase access to all disciplines through innovation. His recent forays into running 100 mile Ultra Marathons gives Dr. Peterson the experience to do the ambitious things he’s planning.

Ruth Prato

Instructor of Accounting, Accounting Department, School of Business

A background working for both large-scale global accounting firms as well as small community-minded firms gives Ruth Prato the kind of panoramic perspective students need to be prepared for their futures. As a certified public accountant as well as a certified fraud examiner, she brings her practical perspectives into the classroom along with a sense of enthusiasm for her discipline and teaching itself.

Ruth Prato’s life outside the University is like that of many students and professors; she’s a mother and an artist. We were looking for faculty who reflected the full life that so many of our students have; raising children, engaging in creative activities, and working full time. Innovation often comes from those who are trying to balance many areas of their lives and engaging a positive attitude to do so; she told us early on  that innovation “requires an attitude that is optimistic about the future, secure in its shortcomings and dissatisfied with the current condition,” and “by its very nature, failure is a large part of the innovation process.  Some failures even become their own successes.  An optimistic attitude gives us permission to fail, permission to stretch, permission to dream the impossible and the enthusiasm to begin again.”

Rob Prince

Assistant Professor of Journalism, Journalism Department

When Rob Prince, an Assistant Professor of Journalism, first attended iTeach with UAF eCampus, we were impressed with his enthusiasm for teaching and his passion for filmmaking and journalism. Rob schooled us on lighting and video editing even though we were teaching the course, and we’ve been trying to work with him ever since. His online Journalism 101 course is breaking new ground in the use of badging and narrative structures and we’re excited about what he brings to the table as a CITE Fellow. A specialist in documentary filmmaking and video production, he’s had his work broadcast in Alaska, across the US and Canada, and distributed on both Netflix and Amazon.

Rob’s perspectives on Journalism as something more than reportage and a means of engaging an audience in an ethical narrative are perspectives that carry over well into the world of online education and the integration of technology and teaching. Community involvement is an integral part of any learning experience and he routinely donates his time to both his students and his colleagues, illustrating this philosophy. He has lead a number of Faculty on TAP sessions for faculty from across disciplines and participates in a Faculty Learning Community on … We look forward to seeing more of Rob at conferences and in publications on his innovative courses.

Rob Prince’s Professional Website
The Brutalist and the Dove, a recently broadcast documentary on the Gruening Building
Rob Prince’s Google+ Profile

Dr. Susan Renes

Associate Professor of Counseling, co-Chair of Counseling Program and Graduate Program, School of Education

Dr. Renes’s research interests—Mental Health Effects of Climate Change, and Recruitment and Retention of Rural and Indigenous Students in to Higher Education—piqued our interest in her as a candidate for the CITE Fellows, and some of the ideas she’s generated so far have shown that interest to be well founded. We’re also expecting that her dare-devil spirit and love of adventure will translate well into the risk-taking that true innovation requires.

As an advocate for underrepresented students, Dr. Renes’s devotion to higher education made her the recipient of the  2013 of the Elders Award given by Alaska Native Elders at the Lilly Arctic Conference for her commitment to teaching all Alaskans.  At eCampus, we stress the importance of increasing access to students who wouldn’t otherwise be able to get a college degree or even attend classes. She recently said to us that better access to education “correlates with improved physical and emotional health as we age, making it of interest to those of us in the counseling profession, especially when the health disparities in the communities of our underrepresented students is considered.  Claiming a space for underrepresented students will increase the knowledge available to us as we not only ask them to be educated by us but allow ourselves to be educated by them.”  We know that Dr. Renes’s involvement in CITE Fellows will bring an important voice to the table and that she will find a way to innovate in an area that is ripe for creative new approaches.

Dr. Sarah Stanley

Assistant Professor of English, Director of Composition, English Department

UAF eCampus was originally interested in Dr. Stanley’s participation with CITE Fellows due to her focus on collaboration and engagement as a means of teaching and learning within a community. As the Director of Composition, she is a bridge between new Teaching Assistants in the MFA and MA Program, the UAF Writing Center, and the entire UAF student body; she imagines with others how student scholarship goes beyond the classroom in her involvement with the Annual Celebration of Writing (COW) on campus and Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity; she is connected to our local community through her role as co-director of Stone Soup; and she encourages collaboration among her colleagues and between disciplines through her facilitation of a Faculty Learning Community focused on Communication Across the Curriculum. Her collaborative/or mentoring work with graduate students on Write Alaska provides guidance and source materials for the writing courses in the General Education curriculum at UAF.

After working with Dr. Stanley, we’ve found that what’s more valuable than her titles and roles is her approach to innovation, which is a left-handed (so to speak) approach—she comes at new ideas with a less-than-common perspective, articulating the narratives we so often tell ourselves as individuals about failure and success and reframing them as community narratives instead. The contemporary notion of crowdsourcing innovation crops up in her strategies, and we believe that her energy and commitment will create valuable results, turning success or failure into learning experiences.

Write Alaska
Dr. Stanley on Google+

CITE Fellows Special Consultants

We selected two other faculty members to serve as consultants to the program. These dedicated faculty have helped us during the planning and development process, have served as creative allies, and continue to serve as a valuable link between UAF eCampus and campus faculty.

Dr. Cecile Lardon

Associate Professor of Psychology, Psychology Department

Dr. Lardon brings a wealth of experience in education to the table, along with experience in using technology higher education, including recent forays into flipping her classroom.

We asked her about how innovation happens and she said, “In organizations – and especially those whose focus is knowledge production and innovation – the energy and creativity for innovation has to be infused throughout the system, has to be part of the culture.”

Skip Via

Instructor of Instructional Technology, Department of Education

UAF eCampus has been working with faculty member Skip Via for some time. We’ve found this relationship to be very fruitful and he’s the kind of fellow who goes Christmas caroling with James Taylor and Joni Mitchell (ask him about it).

When asked about his thoughts on innovation, he said “being an innovator is not always comfortable, either for the person involved in the innovation or for the organization in which the innovator may work. Some organizations value innovation and encourage it—others find it unnecessary or even threatening.”