Diane Boyd

Director of the Biggio Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

Diane Boyd, named director of Auburn University's Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in 2014, provides leadership to the Biggio Center's professional development programs for faculty and graduate students, as well as the Instructional Multimedia Group. She also works with academic units to identify and facilitate new programs designed to support pedagogical principles and technology-based initiatives across campus.

Prior to joining Auburn University, she served for eight years as the associate director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Furman University. Boyd received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State University and she completed her doctorate at Auburn. She is a member of the Professional and Organizational Development Network, the Southern Regional Faculty Development Consortium and the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Boyd says her return to Auburn is a varied adventure that allows her to live out the Auburn creed and strengthen the mutually beneficial relationship between students and faculty.

1. What does being an alumna employee mean to you?

What drew me to Auburn in the fall of 1996 also made returning to work here compelling: "work, hard work!" When I visited here prior to enrolling as a PhD student I read the creed. George Petrie's words, specifically the focus on practicality blended with creative problem-solving, resonated. Although I had studied literature for years at that point, the simple, yet elegant language of the Auburn creed spoke to a dear truth: invest fully in your life's work, see how that good work can benefit our world and embrace challenges with "a spirit that is unafraid." So many of our colleagues here embrace these ideals and it's important to me to uphold them as an alumna employee. There's an undeniable energy about Auburn—in or out of football season—that makes living and working here a unique experience. But when the opportunity arose to return here it wasn't football that brought me back; it was the strategic plan's focus on student success and faculty vitality. Linking these in this plan for the future shows an institutional awareness of the how faculty and students mutually inform one another: without sustained faculty vitality, student success will be limited. When faculty and students thrive together in engaging learning and research environments, incredibly good things happen! The tangible commitments of the strategic plan to these "good things"—the Mell classroom building, the commitment to access via distance education, the commitment to faculty research innovation—were a powerful reason to return to the loveliest village.

2. What is your favorite Auburn related memory?

Can I have two memories, if both are sports related? If so, they are football and softball. Our English Department grad school cohort was supportive and social. We worked long hours during the week teaching first-year writing courses and wrapping our minds around Derrida, Bahktin and dense 18th-century novels. But on fall weekends we gathered on Saturdays to tailgate and go to the game—back when all you needed to get in was your valid student ID. We sat directly under the scoreboard in the student section. In the springtime, our game was softball. We had a departmental team—comprised of grad students and faculty—that played in the intramural leagues. After we lost on Friday afternoons (or sometimes were victorious) we would retire to Lil' Ireland's for our post-game debrief. Every year we improved and we had our "break out season" when we finally trounced our arch nemesis Fisheries. These memories remind me that if we make time to foster community good things (and even everyday miracles like defeating a worthy opponent) can happen.

3. The mission of the Biggio Center is to engage, support and empower Auburn's academic community in each phase of the scholarly teaching and transformative learning process. How does your role work to accomplish this goal?

In the early stages, we provide course development (for both face-to-face and online courses) and Canvas support with our in-house instructional design team and the Instructional Multimedia Group; and offer faculty teaching and learning support through many programs such as Professional Development Seminars and the Faculty iPad Cohort Program. During a course we are available for class observations or Small Group Instructional Feedback where we have the opportunity to work with faculty while their class is in progress to identify strategic changes that yield the biggest return on investment with regard to student learning and faculty satisfaction. Throughout the semester we deliver student and vendor-based Testing Services in Foy and Biggin Hall, "closing the loop" on the teaching and learning process. We also support colleagues during their teaching "life cycle" with our Preparing Future Faculty program for GTAs, New Faculty Scholars seminar for new faculty and targeted Professional Development Seminars for veteran faculty. We hope to work more closely with veterans to build a successful peer mentoring program in the next few years.

4. How do you expect the Biggio Center to progress or change under your leadership?

My role is to orchestrate the Biggio Center's diverse units as we reinforce student success by supporting faculty teaching effectiveness and innovation. Auburn is a large, busy university and it can be difficult for colleagues to make time to build and sustain a culture of scholarly teaching and learning. The Biggio Center's changes will support the goal of building such a culture here at Auburn. We'll collaborate to promote "visible teaching" by fostering sustained Scholarship of Teaching and Learning research projects and lobbying for amplifying teaching's value in the promotion and tenure process.

5. What do you enjoy outside of work?

Anything that takes me outside and moving using my lungs, legs, and heart; lately that means riding bikes! I've had the joy to witness some storied mountain stages of the Tour de France roadside by climbing, creeping and cramping my way up the mountain passes of the Col du Tourmalet and Alpe d'Huez alongside friends' road bikes. Cycling is a unique sport in that it is communal while also offering solitary, meditative moments. Even when you are in a group, different fitness levels mean you may find yourself solo on the road, pedaling through your troubles or your big ideas. The next moment you've caught up to your peloton (group of riders). If you don't catch them there are no worries--they will wait for you at the café (or the Texaco, depending on where in the world you are riding)! Auburn has no dearth of rolling hills and I look forward to spending more time on them with fellow velo aficionados this Spring.

Last Updated: April 27, 2015

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