Northern Arizona University is coming at student success from the core—faculty.

The university, which is at the forefront of implementing new ways to motivate and prepare students to be catalysts in their own success, is partnering with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) to launch another approach to help faculty members deepen their commitment to student success.

ACUE’s Online Course in Effective Teaching Practices will help NAU create a comprehensive resource that prepares faculty to apply innovative teaching methods proven to improve student learning. The program’s cohort model enables faculty to collaborate across disciplines and build on the methods they already use to reach students.

“Ensuring our students succeed in their studies and leave NAU prepared to excel as 21st-century citizens starts with instructional excellence,” said Rita Hartung Cheng, NAU’s president. “This partnership with ACUE recognizes the crucial role our faculty play in student success, which is central to our university’s mission. The ACUE experience will enable our faculty to build on their deep commitments and rich skills as we continue our quest to serve students.”

This focus is another step in raising the bar for student success. NAU is one of 31 institutions nationwide to lead the Frontier Set, an innovative project from the Association of American State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), which is designed to identify and close opportunity gaps for college students.

NAU also is part of another AASCU program, Re-Imagining the First Year, which aims to improve the quality of learning and student experience in the first year of college with the goal of ensuring success for all students, especially those groups that traditionally have lower rates of attainment in higher education.

The ACUE partnership, a faculty-focused initiative, which starts in August, allows 60 educators to work toward a national Certificate in Effective College Instruction. The program consists of 25 discrete learning modules across five units of study and presents participants with more than 200 evidence-based teaching practices. Aligned to ACUE’s Effective Practice Framework, the course addresses major areas of pedagogical practice that are applicable regardless of student level or discipline. ACUE’s course is based on 30 years of research in higher education and effective teaching practices.

The five units of study that make up ACUE’s course are:

  • Designing an effective course and class
  • Establishing a productive learning environment
  • Using active learning techniques
  • Promoting higher order thinking
  • Assessing to inform instruction and promote learning