Kennesaw State faculty explores innovative teaching methods

KENNESAW, Ga. | Feb 24, 2017

Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program provides expanded opportunities for developing skills

Joya Carter-Hicks
Joya Carter-Hicks

After a highly competitive application and selection process, Joya Carter-Hicks was selected as one of 13 faculty members from institutions of higher education across the state to serve as a 2016-17 Governor’s Teaching Fellow. Since then, Carter-Hicks, an associate professor of special education in the Bagwell College of Education’s Department of Inclusive Education, has been researching innovative ways of bringing technology into the classroom.

“The GTF award allows me a safe, interdisciplinary space to design, implement and assess new instructional innovations that have direct impact on the special education courses I teach and the Universal Design Lab (UDLab) where I direct assistive technology,” Carter-Hicks said. “For some time I’ve been reading about Virtual Reality Learning and how it could be a game changer for students with disabilities because it allows students to manipulate objects and experience environments that would otherwise be difficult or impossible in real life.

“So I did a practice lesson at GTF using a three-dimensional (3-D), computer-simulated environment with Virtual Reality headsets. There were some kinks, but it was such an awesome experience sharing teaching vulnerabilities with the GTF group. I have since lectured on Virtual Reality Learning and how it can meaningfully serve as assistive technology for students with disabilities.”

The Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program was established in 1995 by Gov. Zell Miller to provide Georgia’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Gov. Miller envisioned that this program would address faculty members’ pressing need to use emerging technologies and instructional tools that are becoming increasingly important for learning in today's society.

The deadline for applications for the 2017 – 2018 academic year is April 21.

The Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program is an outreach program of the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. To improve the quality of instruction in Georgia’s colleges and universities, the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program assumes the complex challenge of moving college faculty members to the leading edge of instructional practice. This effort to enhance instruction in public and private higher education statewide is very much in keeping with the University of Georgia's traditional mission as a land-grant institution committed to diversified outreach and public service.

To date, more than 89 subject areas, professions and teaching areas have been represented and Fellows have come from more than 61 public and private institutions statewide. To learn more about the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program, including information on how to apply, go to

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit