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UMW 2020 Regents Teaching Scholars Announced

December 13, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Bethany Blankenship and Dr. Rob Thomas on their selection by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) as Regents Teaching Scholars. They will lead faculty learning communities during spring 2020.

To highlight the centrality of teaching excellence to student success, the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education is launching the Regents Teaching Scholars, an annual program recognizing teachers who have made exemplary contributions to teaching and learning at Montana University System campuses. Each year, a cohort of selected Scholars will build and facilitate faculty learning communities focused on a selected theme. The inaugural cohort of Scholars will facilitate faculty learning communities (FLCs) during Spring semester 2020.

FLCs are designed to give small groups of faculty members (typically 6-10) at the same institution the opportunity to engage in sustained, meaningful conversations or scholarship about teaching and learning with supportive colleagues from across campus. Members will meet regularly throughout the length of the program as they explore areas of interest, leading to innovative changes in their teaching practice.


As higher education seeks innovative ways to make the college classroom relevant and transformational for students’ intellectual pursuits, future careers, and civic lives, George Kuh’s ten “High Impact Practices” continue to be useful pedagogical tools. To support innovative work in enhancing students’ first experiences in college, the Montana University System is pleased to announce that this year’s theme for the Regents Teaching Scholars program will focus on High Impact Practices (first year seminars; common intellectual experiences; learning communities; writing intensive courses; collaborative assignments; undergraduate research; global learning; ePortfolios; service learning; work-based learning; capstone projects) in general education and introductory coursework.

The Regents Teaching Scholars program will recognize and support the advancement of teaching and learning to make early coursework, and general education in particular, exciting, engaging, relevant, and impactful for students.