Alena Vasilyeva enhances teaching expertise through Lilly Fellowship

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Alena VasilyevaAlena Vasilyeva, assistant professor of Communication, has been selected as one of the 2018-19 Lilly Fellows for Teaching Excellence at the University of Massachusetts.

The Lilly Fellowship is a competitive program that enables promising junior faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in a special yearlong collaboration, and is awarded through the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD). During the fellowship, which spans the 2018-2019 academic year, Vasilyeva and the other fellows will attend seminars every two weeks on teaching methods, design or redesign a course, develop a proposal for a teaching workshop to be given during the 2019-2020 academic year, create a teaching portfolio, and participate in activities to evaluate the effectiveness of the Lilly Fellowship program. Fellows also receive grants totaling $14,000 to allow them to reduce their teaching load during the period of the fellowship, and to support the fellow’s course development activities.

“I was very excited to find out that I was awarded the Lilly Fellowship. It’s a great opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other departments and to enhance my expertise in teaching,” explains Vasilyeva.

She plans to redesign a course she is teaching currently, COMM397AV, which is titled “Intercultural Communication.” The course explores what Vasilyeva describes as “how language and culture (broadly defined) are implicated in our everyday communication.”

“It examines how preconceived beliefs, taken for granted cultural norms, and the language we speak shape how we experience the world and thus shape our ‘reality’. It analyzes how various aspects of culture are being constantly constructed and re-constructed through communication,” she adds.

-- By Matthew Medeiros, SBS Communications Manager