Non-tenure track faculty play an important role at Appalachian State University. They interact with first-year students on a daily basis.
Jason Mitchell is an adjunct instructor in the composition program in the Department of English. He also is this year’s recipient of the $1,000 Faculty Award for Excellence in General Education Teaching presented by University College and the general education program.
Dr. Kim Gunter, director of composition, wrote of Mitchell’s classroom instruction “Jason manages to foster a student-centered classroom that is rigorous, pedagogically sound, and, well, for lack of a better word, fun. I know that, upon every visit to his classes, not only will I witness his students’ learning, but I will learn something, too.”
Gunter said that Mitchell’s students move “beyond thinking of literacy as ‘knowing how to read and write’ to considering the tasks required to achieve literacy in any area of life as well as the privileges that literacy conveys.”
Mitchell is a former high school teacher. He earned his master’s degree from Appalachian.
He uses a multimodal approach to teaching and structuring the curriculum in his expository writing and writing across the curriculum classes. Mitchell said his approach to teaching involves students composing and critiquing texts that exist beyond the traditional written word and may include still and moving images, animations, color, words, music and sound.
“I teach students about a range of strategies and techniques for reaching different audiences, achieving a variety of purposes and using different genres effectively,” Mitchell wrote in his statement of teaching philosophy. “They can then take these basic strategies into any disciplinary area and put them to good use throughout the rest of their college education and beyond.”
In addition to teaching first- and second-year students, Mitchell works with graduate teaching assistants and other non-tenure track faculty and leads orientation sessions for new faculty and programs where ideas for teaching are shared.
“This, in many ways, mirrors the exchange of information that I strive for in my classes,” Mitchell wrote. “While I take pleasure in ushering my students through the process of intellectual exploration, I take perhaps even greater pleasure in knowing that both the composition and general education programs empower faculty in much the same way.”