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Teaching faculty drives educator's mission

The following article is the second in a series dedicated to National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme, “Women's Art and Vision.”

by Heather Woolwine
Public Relations
Former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, once said, “Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up to the step; we must step up the stairs.” Mary Mauldin, Ed.D., MUSC associate professor and director of the Center for Academic and Research Computing, is one such stair-climber. Her vision for the center, and its role in helping students and faculty, coincides with her resolve to bring others on the journey upward to continued academic excellence.
Dr. Mary Mauldin

Mauldin received her masters in education with a focus on instructional technology from the University of Georgia in Athens, and a doctorate of education with a focus on educational technology from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Ca. The Laurens native began her career near home, teaching in the public school system and working as a special education administrator. An internship in educational technology served as the first step on the staircase for Mauldin’s professional vision. Impressed with the infusion of technology into teaching and learning, and what that meant for students and teachers alike, Mauldin was encouraged to become part of the process.
“I’ve always had the desire to see how teaching and learning can drive the way we use technology. It shouldn’t be the other way around,” she said. After years working in school systems at the administrative level and obtaining her advanced degrees, Mauldin found herself at MUSC, with a chance to take a new direction. “Technology has changed tremendously since that time; when I first got into it, cell phones were just becoming popular. Now we’re looking at wireless and mobile devices to make the learning process even more available,” she said.
A CD-ROM project was Mauldin’s first real foray into guiding the use of technology to enhance the learning process. Ever grateful to MUSC’s Mike Schmidt, Ph.D., Tom Basler, Ph.D., and Curtis Wise, Ph.D., for providing her the opportunity to work on the project and trust in her to jumpstart her vision, Mauldin took the experience of creating educational material for middle school students as another step toward enabling others to succeed.
“All my careers have fallen under the same umbrella, really. I’ve found it so rewarding, enabling people to use and develop interactive programs so they have the freedom to go out on their own and find the answers they need for themselves,” she said. “It’s about seeing the light bulb come on for people. It’s so rewarding to get that phone call or see someone and they say, `I got it! Now I understand how I can put information online for my students!’”
The Center for Academic and Research Computing assists faculty in evaluation of the appropriate use of technology for teaching and learning; provides technology support in the use of WebCT; and provides seminars for various colleges and units within the university and hospital on the use of educational technology and instructional design. The center has also produced more than 120 e-learning programs that received recognition at the state, national and international level.
The center’s experience in e-learning and web-based data capture has played a role in grants totaling more than $6.5 million. Mauldin is the chair of the Apple Tree Society (a universitywide organiza-tion designed to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning), and domain leader for faculty development domain of MUSC’s Creating Collaborative Care (C3). She has published in peer-reviewed journals, sits on the provost’s executive committee for the MUSC Excellence initiative, and has served as a member of faculty senate and the university chair for the Trident United Way Campaign. Mauldin also is a member or chair of numerous committees related to faculty development and is the winner of numerous awards, including her recent award of tenure in early 2008.
According to Mauldin, confidence and flexibility play a large role in determining the success of a personal or professional vision. “It’s thinking about an ideal situation and determining what is needed to make it a reality and working towards that end. A vision should be ever-changing based on reexamination of reality and factors that could have an impact, and it should always be your passion.”
Passion continues to motivate Mauldin to support faculty in their mission of teaching tomorrow’s health care professionals, and several projects have her excited about the future, she said. By encouraging faculty to assess their use of pedagogy and technology, Mauldin strives to ensure that they use technology to make a difference in students’ learning. “Faculty and student development will always be the core competence of my field. I’m thankful that promotion and tenure guidelines are moving towards recognizing faculty for innovative and effective use of technology,” she added.
Mauldin and her staff are currently participating in a pilot course capture program, and continuing to develop and track online Web sites and their use. “The people that work with me are the ones who really deserve all the credit,” she said. “Every day I’m amazed at the brilliance of the faculty, staff and students here at MUSC. All of us have much to learn from each other. Educational technology should create a legacy of service to students, faculty and staff. Our students and patients are living in a world where astonishing amounts of information can be accessed through their mobile devices.  We should explore what that means for teaching and learning at MUSC. This should be a joyful place to teach and learn because we are constantly assessing our effectiveness at teaching and learning.”
Mauldin said the future of learning technologies on campus will be closely linked to what people will be able to do with their mobile devices. At MUSC, when students, faculty and staff first started using the Internet, Mauldin recalled how those technologies opened doors of opportunity for students and faculty all over the world. No longer required to furiously scribble notes, students are free to access course content and notes online, and faculty can be assured that the correct information is making it to students for their study. Along these same lines, Mauldin sees the future of learning on the MUSC campus involving mobile devices.
“It will be huge. We have to figure out what it means for us and what’s going to go on in the classroom, because it has the potential to change how we do a lot of things,” she said.
In addition to the constant exploration of new technology and how MUSC students and faculty might benefit from it, Mauldin plans to continue to help more faculty incorporate technology into their teaching, put more of their coursework online, and facilitate more collaboration among her center and other resources on campus. “I hope that people see me as an encourager. Teaching at MUSC should be much more than `death by PowerPoint’ or the `sage on the stage.’ Learning at MUSC should be more than just `tell me what I need to know to pass the test.’ What excites me daily is the growing number of faculty who are determined to provide great learning experiences by simulation, experiential and collaborative learning. I’m here to help anyone who is interested in teaching and learning.”

Helping others through learning technology
Mauldin is currently working on a project with a colleague at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. By participating in MUSC’s Trustee Leadership Academy, Mauldin had the opportunity to attend the Higher Education Resources Services (HERS) Leadership Institute last summer at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. One of her classmates from that program is from the University of Fort Hare in East London, South Africa.
After learning that many of her colleague’s students are HIV/AIDS positive, Mauldin and her colleague discussed possible collaborative projects between the two universities. Mauldin just returned from a visit to the University of Fort Hare where she met with administrators and faculty to discuss possible collaborations related to health care, prevention and education.

Friday, March 14, 2008
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