Georgia Southern University Professor of Educational Research Meca Williams-Johnson, Ph.D., will serve as a member of the Governor’s Teaching Fellows (GTF) 2022-2023 cohort.
“I am enthusiastic about the program opportunity,” said Williams-Johnson. “It will allow me time to ask more questions, dig deeper and measure progress in something I’ve been involved in for a long time at Georgia Southern.”
Williams-Johnson is a 16-year professor in Georgia Southern’s College of Education (COE) and has served as a member of the University Honors Council and mentor to honors students for more than 14 years.
“Since 2008, I’ve worked with the University’s Honors Program, and now Honors College, in facilitating research projects with our preservice teachers,” she noted. “I am happy to see it grow and develop with the inclusion of our undergraduate research courses for our special education undergraduate majors. It is with renewed hope and energy that we will continue to chart more ways to infuse research course work into the undergraduate student experiences in COE.”
Former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller created the GTF Program to provide the state’s higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills. Each eligible university may submit two nominees for the fellowship. The criteria includes teaching experience, ability to make a positive impact on their campus and interest in continuing instructional and professional development.
Goals of the program include: presentation of successful strategies in teaching within higher education; experience with new information and strategies; create opportunities to collaborate with other fellows to generate new ideas and receive feedback; receive information by expert teachers, researchers or administrators who expand upon key issues facing faculty today; and receiving dedicated time to integrate key points of the program into teacher material and planning resources.
“I believe this opportunity will give me new tools to reimagine and achieve what I dreamed I could do in my classroom and online while working with preservice and inservice teachers and beginning researchers,” she said.
“The courses I teach provide ample opportunities for students to explore the mechanics of developing sound research projects and co-producing research as a means to apply the content and link theoretical concepts to practice. I am focusing more attention to expanding our undergraduate research presence across the university and increasing our number of student and faculty partnerships within the college.”
The GTF academic year program allows participants to attend three-day symposia held six times over the academic year while also engaging in instructional improvement projects held on their home campuses. The symposia include a combination of structured instructional and faculty development activities as well as self-directed activities designed to meet individual needs.
“My motivation to pursue this opportunity was to increase dedicated time for professional development,” said Williams-Johnson. “I believe this Governor Teaching Fellowship will connect me with the right individuals to reenergize my efforts in teaching.”
Williams-Johnson is also the faculty advisor for the University’s Statesboro Campus Chapter of NAACP. Her research interests include emotions in teaching and learning, self-determination theory, self-efficacy beliefs, critical race theory, intersectionality and qualitative research methods.
Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 140 different degree programs serving almost 27,000 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.