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Drury University names Dr. Ying Cao as Innovation and Teaching Center director

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., September 26, 2018 — Drury is pleased to welcome Ying Cao, Ph.D., to the position of Director of the Innovation and Teaching Center. In her new role, Cao provides leadership and resources to help Drury faculty continue to optimize their teaching practices and provide the best possible learning experience for students.

Cao brings extensive knowledge in both teaching and administration. Before coming to Drury, she spent thirteen years as an educator in a high school setting, including six years as the Director of the Department for Teaching and Curriculum at Zhengzhou No. 1 High School in Zhengzhou, China. She has taught courses at Tufts University and Oregon State University, working with teachers in professional development program and serving as a pedagogical resource for faculty. Her educational background includes postdoctoral research in post-secondary education at Oregon State University, where she published peer-reviewed papers in prestigious journals. Prior to that, she earned her doctorate in STEM Education from Tufts University and accumulated research experiences in secondary education and teacher professional development. Dr. Cao also holds a B.S. in Physics from Beijing Normal University.

The newly-established Innovation and Teaching Center provides resources to Drury educators and serves as a hub for innovative learning ideas on campus. As director of the Center, Cao will work with other faculty to further proliferate evidence-based teaching practices, many of which are already being used in Drury classrooms.

“I am hoping to cultivate a space where faculty can share their thoughts and ideas about teaching, collectively renew ourselves as educators, and improve student learning experience,” Cao says. “It is a great honor to be here.”

One focus of Cao’s work will be to promote experiential learning opportunities at Drury.

“I think deep learning happens when learners are engaged in authentic professional practice settings,” Cao says. “The knowledge and skills gained from the ‘learn-practice-reflect-understand cycle’ are extremely valuable for students in school and in their future life.”

Real-world application has long been a pillar of Drury’s academic program, which requires all students to engage in at least two extensive hands-on learning experiences prior to graduation.

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