Project will help teachers blend self-study with professional development
DUBUQUE, Iowa – An associate professor at Loras College has been appointed to the College’s endowed Cardinal O’ Conner Chair for Catholic Thought. The endowment is awarded annually to a faculty member to pursue a project engaging the Catholic tradition.
Hilarie Welsh, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education, received funds to help K-12 teachers in Catholic schools implement teacher inquiry as a source of professional development. She will also explore how teacher inquiry fits into Catholic schooling.
“Traditional professional development and teacher inquiry are vastly different,” Welsh said. “Teacher inquiry is a form of professional development that raises the voices of classroom teachers by placing teachers at the center of their learning and the profession.”
Teacher inquiry, she said, can also be classified as action research, classroom research, teacher research, or teacher self-study. The practice, according to Welsh, is flourishing in the United States and in other parts of the world.
“Studying one’s teaching is an important part of professional growth,” she said. “Teacher inquiry is different than simply reflecting on a lesson after teaching. It requires intentional data collection and intensive analysis.”
A former high school English and middle school language arts teacher, Welsh joined Loras in 2012. Her other research includes novice teacher induction and promising pedagogical practices.
ABOUT LORAS COLLEGE
Loras leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan institutions to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras ranks among 450 NCAA Division III athletic programs in Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings, 13th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges and is among the 200 Best-Loved Colleges in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.