Dr. Drew Polly’s teaching philosophy is his dedication to his students

Dr. Drew Polly’s Dedication Earns Him a Finalist Spot for the University's Top Teaching Award

By Sharlene Oong on Oct 8, 2018
Every classroom has an established educator. Every educator has a different teaching philosophy which makes their teaching style unique from other practitioners in their respective field. While teaching philosophies can differ, dedication to students remains inseparable. Recently, Dr. Drew Polly from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte), an editor and author of many IGI Global educational technology and pedagogy publications, including Innovative Practices in Teacher Preparation and Handbook of Research on Teacher Education and Professional Development, placed among the top five finalists for the university’s top teaching award. In an interview with IGI Global, Dr. Polly discussed his UNC Charlotte journey and dedication to his students.

How would you describe your area of research and its role in the field of education?

I am a professor in the elementary education program at UNC Charlotte, and my research spans areas of mathematics education, technology integration, teacher education, and professional development. Specifically, I spend a lot of my time examining ways to better prepare future teachers and current teachers to use learner-centered pedagogies effectively with their students. Sometimes, that area focuses in mathematics by looking at the problems that teachers pose and the questions they ask. In other cases, I look at how the use of technology influences teachers' and students' work in the classroom.

What was the process or criteria of the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence award?How does this achievement reflect on your personal and research career?

It was an honor since the award was based off nominations from former and current students and colleagues. The university collects nominations and picks five faculty members every year to be recognized out of the approximately 1,500 faculty who are eligible. I was both humbled and blessed by this recognition. I was taught early on by my mentors, Dr. Melba Spooner and Dr. Tracy Rock from UNC Charlotte, to look for as much overlap between my teaching, research, and work in schools. As a result, my courses for future teachers include a lot of work that looks similar to what teachers do on a daily basis including:

  • Collaboratively looking at standards to design and plan lessons
  • Examining resources and technologies to use to support teaching and learning
  • Looking at student work and data to determine how to best students learn

Since my teaching heavily overlaps with my research, as well as my work in schools, I feel that this recognition supports the idea that Dr. Spooner and Dr. Rock helped me think about the overlap of all my work. Personally, all aspects of my work are about building relationships. To me, it is crucial to meet the needs of my students and adequately prepare them to continue to become effective teachers. The nominations from my students is the highlight of this, knowing that I have been able to make such a positive impact in their lives.

Personally, all aspects of my work are about building relationships. To me, it is crucial to meet the needs of my students and adequately prepare them to continue to become effective teachers. The nominations from my students is the highlight of this, knowing that I have been able to make such a positive impact in their lives.
What would you say your experience has been like as a faculty member of University of North Carolina at Charlotte?

UNC Charlotte has always supported all aspects of my work. My department chairs and college leaders encourages all of us to take an active role serving schools and teachers in the state, doing research in areas that will make a difference in education, and excel in teaching. The mentorship from my colleagues as well as the opportunity to work with such amazing faculty members is also a definite highlight!

How has your research and teaching progressed over your time at UNC Charlotte?

It is very important for faculty to remain relevant in our work, whether it is teaching, research, and service. My time as a professor over the past 12 years has really helped me to think about how to ensure the content that I am teaching, and how I am teaching my students is relevant and applicable to my students' development as an elementary school teacher. In terms of my research, the work I need to be doing needs to be helpful in a way that support areas of teaching and learning, as well as practicing teachers and school leaders.

Due to education’s constant change, what would you say is the next step for education? How do you see yourself as a part of this movement?

Currently, UNC Charlotte is on the cutting edge of considering new ways to mentor and coach student teacher interns, as well as provide adequate practice, support, and feedback of using high-leverage teaching practices in our courses. As a college, there are many of us that are looking at ways to design this work, carry it out, look at its impact on the future teachers we are supporting, and then refine our model. As we continue to look at ways to prepare our future teachers to be culturally responsive, be effective in teaching all students from varied backgrounds, excel at applying content and teaching strategies many of us at UNC Charlotte are involved in this work.
IGI Global is grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Polly, and we look forward to seeing more collaboration that will result in publications of invaluable content. We would like to thank Dr. Polly for helping IGI Global cultivate and disseminate emerging concepts and theories in the education technology and pedagogy field.
All of Dr. Drew Polly's research is available through IGI Global’s world-renowned InfoSci®-Database collection. Consisting of InfoSci®-Books, a collection of 4,500+ e-books offered as low as US$ 8,580 US$ 6,864*, this database ensures key features such as full-text PDF and HTML format, no DRM, unlimited simultaneous users, and no embargo of content. To purchase or for more information, click here. Recommend this database to your institution’s librarian. Access innovative research on a user-friendly platform and participate in IGI Global’s Open Access Initiative. For any library that invests in an IGI Global journal database, IGI Global will match the library’s investment with a fund of equal value to go toward subsidizing the open access article processing charge (APC) for their students, faculty, and staff at that institution when their work is submitted and accepted under open access into an IGI Global journal housed within that collection.**

For more information, be sure to check out Dr. Drew Polly's publications, and recommend them to your library.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of IGI Global.
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*InfoSci-Books $6,864 annual subscription price is only available for new InfoSci-Books subscriptions and cannot be combined with most offers or multi-site use.

**The fund will be offered on an annual basis and expire at the end of the subscription period. The fund would renew as the subscription is renewed for each year thereafter. The open access fees will be waived after the student, faculty, or staff’s paper has been vetted and accepted into an IGI Global journal and the fund can only be used toward publishing OA in an IGI Global journal. Libraries in developing countries will have the match on their investment doubled.
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