This CNM Instructor Knows the Power of Student Engagement

As a Presidential Fellow, Amy Christensen spent the last year creating student engagement resources to help faculty and students have positive classroom experiences
September 28, 2023

Amy Christensen has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at CNM for over two decades, and in the classroom she knows how to create a lively, interactive learning environment. Thanks to her extensive experience, Amy was selected last year as CNM’s Presidential Fellow for Student Engagement.

“To speak a language you have to use the language, which is why student engagement is so important in ESL classes and to me as an educator,” Amy says. “I was honored to be chosen for this fellowship and take what I know to help develop new resources and learn from the other outstanding faculty members here at CNM.”

During her fellowship Amy worked closely with the Cooperative for Teaching and Learning (CTL), a CNM faculty organization that provides professional development resources and works to build community. During this year’s Conference on Teaching and Learning, hosted by CTL, Amy asked faculty to record a two-minute video about a strategy or technique they use to engage students in the classroom.

“I called these ‘CHILE’ or ‘Creative Helpful Ideas for Learner Engagement,’” she explains. “I suspected faculty were already using these techniques, and it was really affirming to see all of the different ways they use them in their classrooms.”

Another important part of her fellowship was working with CTL to develop the Student Engagement Learning Badge. To earn this new mini-badge, faculty complete a self-paced training that Amy helped develop over the course of her fellowship. This training can also be added to a faculty member’s Teaching Excellence Portfolio, which helps them earn The Certificate in Teaching Excellence awarded by CTL. 

Even though her fellowship has come to an end, Amy is hopeful that the resources she worked on will help faculty continue to provide engaging, rigorous, and creative learning environments across the college. 

“Research shows that if students are engaged, they persist in their educational journey, so it’s important that faculty continue to learn and try out new student engagement techniques,” she says. “As faculty, we often ask our students to take risks in the classroom, and I think it’s important that we encourage faculty to do the same because it will not only make our students better, but will also make CNM an even better institution.”