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April 19, 2018, Detroit – Adrian Dominican Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP, Professor of Health Education, was one of five faculty members to be named to Wayne State University’s Inaugural Academy of Teachers. The Academy was designated to create and sustain a culture of teaching excellence.
The members of the Academy of Teachers were announced during the Innovations in Teaching and Learning Luncheon, hosted March 20 by the Office for Teaching and Learning. Provost Keith Whitfield inaugurated the Academy of Teachers to support the professional development of faculty members and instructors and to prove an effective means for sharing information, ideas, and strategies to promote excellence in teaching and learning. The Academy will also serve as an advisory group to the provost.
At a university noted for its research, Sister Mariane has been an example of a faculty member who excels in both research and teaching. “Teaching for me is a call,” Sister Mariane said. To be chosen to serve on the Inaugural Academy of Teachers “is an honor, and it affirms what I believe is my God-given call.” Of the awards she has received from Wayne State, she especially cherishes the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, another affirmation of her commitment to teaching.
As an inaugural group, Sister Mariane said, the Teaching Academy will meet with the provost to see how they can facilitate implementation of programs the Office of Teaching and Learning already offers and how they can recruit faculty members to participate in these programs.
“The K-12 system does a good job of training teachers,” Sister Mariane said. “Students who major in education in college are given opportunities to develop their teaching skills from the very beginning,” she said. “Often, however, people who become university professors have been trained in their particular field, but not in teaching.”
The Teaching Academy will focus on “how we can support faculty as they endeavor to be good teachers,” Sister Mariane explained. “Teaching is a skill. You have to learn the skill and practice the skill. The hardest skill in effective teaching is the ability to take the breadth and depth of your knowledge and present it in a way that somebody who doesn’t know anything about your area can understand it and get excited about it."
Sister Mariane serves as program coordinator for school and community health education in the Division of Kinesiology, Health, and Sport Studies. Her areas of expertise include school health education, exercise in elderly populations, eating and physical activity behaviors, and exercise and immune function.
Through a number of grants, Sister Mariane has been active since 2009 in carrying out the message of a healthy lifestyle to high school students in Detroit. In addition, she has given presentations and written articles for scholarly peer-reviewed journals on topics such as effective teaching practices, fitness across the lifespan, and eating behaviors.
Sister Mariane earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of South Florida; a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Wayne State University; and a doctorate in exercise science and health education from the University of Toledo.