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Holly Zakos


Emmaus, Pennsylvania, USA

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Tenure track professors are under intense pressure to publish their research, secure federal funding, and maintain strong departmental, university-wide, and national service obligations. Somewhere in this intense set of expectations, they are also expected to get passing marks on course evaluations, often hitting a marginal threshold. While many faculty want to deliver excellent educational experiences, the realities of their departmental and university expectations push this to the bottom of a long list of priorities. This manifests in many ways: an overuse of lecture-based instruction, marginal teaching evaluation marks, slow feedback, incomplete feedback… the list goes on. My passion is to help faculty overcome, or even avoid, these challenges. I help curate, train on, provide, and encourage use of tools and strategies that transform faculty teaching to be more efficient, effective, and empowering. However, before I can make appreciable progress I have to help faculty overcome skepticism in using digital tools in an age fraught with anxiety over privacy, data use, and ownership of intellectual property as well as navigate a system that neither incentivizes or disincentives teaching quality. We know that students learn from interactive self driven experiential modeling; yet still in higher education students are taught with outdated, ineffective, uninspired modalities. But, if not teaching, what is the purpose of higher education? Is it not to develop and empower the next generation of learners and critical thinkers? This is the challenge I would like to confront as a Google innovator.

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