The Focus is You: Tracie Addy

Quote: "We know from literature that faculty from underrepresented groups and females can experience more bias in classrooms, so I approached these situations as wonderful learning opportunities..."

This week on The Focus is You, we’re learning a bit more about Tracie Addy, PhD, MPhil, Director of the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning & Scholarship at Lafayette College. Previously a full-time faculty, Dr. Addy is now a full-time director.

What did you consider as a ‘good day’ in class?

Dr. Addy: During the best days students are engaged and excited to learn. They are asking phenomenal questions, are very involved in class discussions and do not want to stop.  Even when the official class time is over, neither I nor they want to leave. Those are good days. 

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?

Dr. Addy: A particularly relevant adaptation of this question would be what students have been most surprised to find out about me on the first day of class. Many of the students that I taught never had a female professor from an underrepresented group teach them in the discipline.

To some, this came as a surprise and it was something with which I think they had to grapple even if they did not voice it directly to me. We know from the literature that faculty from underrepresented groups and females can experience more bias in classroom environments, so I approached these situations as wonderful learning opportunities to demonstrate that professors from diverse backgrounds can have expertise and exhibit teaching excellence. 

What is the hardest thing about being a teacher?

Dr. Addy: I find it particularly challenging to see students who have so much potential not excel or not make good choices even when given proper support and guidance. While I recognize that this is part of the learning process, it is difficult for me to observe as someone who wants the best for all students.

What/who influenced you to become a teacher?

Dr. Addy: You could say that teaching is in my blood given that both of my parents were teachers, and because I have other relatives in the field of education. Additionally, since childhood I have always been a curious individual who enjoyed teaching others and seeing them grow and develop.

I also engaged in a self-reflective period starting right before the end of college that lasted for about five or six years during which I had an “aha” moment. I already knew that my passion was for higher education, but there was more to it that I could not quite discern prior to that point in time. While teaching and becoming aware of both the scholarly basis of education and the work of a teaching center, I ultimately knew that educator development was in my career trajectory. I had to be very creative to get there.

How do you make learning fun?

Dr. Addy: I am a big proponent of active learning and love to implement such strategies in the classroom. One of my hobbies is to write and publish case studies and other lessons that incorporate learner-centered approaches. This scholarly work provides an outlet for my creative juices, and I enjoy implementing such activities in class.

Even when I taught challenging introductory level courses known to be gatekeepers, I consistently received positive feedback from students on how much they enjoyed my courses. 

Join us next week on Thursday in appreciating our higher education Faculty Focus members!