Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Giao Phan and her “blank slate”

The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) highlights faculty successes in and out of the classroom as often as possible to celebrate #ACCexcellence. This month Courtney Grams interviewed Dr. Giao Phan. See a summary of their conversation below.

Dr. Phan recently reached her 10-year service mark at ACC. Her Public & Social Services (PSS) Area of Study is brand new, her deanship is brand new, and there is a lot going on!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Giao has been on board as PSS Dean since the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester and finds the strategy and objectives of all PSS projects invigorating. Working with a new division brings a unique set of challenges. Combining multiple programs and departments from various areas of the college into a cohesive unit can be a daunting task, but Giao is optimistic and quite thrilled to have this “blank slate” to develop.

Currently, a large focus of the division’s time is directed toward finalizing the new state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Center (PSTC) at the Hays Campus. PSS will rent out the center’s facilities to local first responders and also collaborate with them to create relevant training. This approach will make this center a unique learning environment for ACC and different from other “traditional campuses.” The “build it and they will come” metaphor does not really apply here. As Giao says, “we have the facility, but not the infrastructure.” That’s where the Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) comes in…

Our TLED Instructional Web team recommended that we spotlight Giao this month for her pioneer efforts in creating an infrastructure for PSS and the PSTC. Her Area of Study will become the first to have all of their departmental websites on the TLED server and grouped together, rather than on siloed sites. This design will follow our brand new, content-focused best practices, making navigation to important information easier for students, faculty, staff, and our external partners. According to Robert Ferguson, our Instructional Web Manager, “we want to help faculty and staff to keep accessibility and data-driven approaches at the forefront of these sites.”

The process of building the PSS web presence at the start was a collaborative team effort, thanks to Giao’s leadership. Our Instructional Web team was asking question after question about how the facility worked, so Giao invited them on a tour of the space to give them a better understanding of the functions. Something that is very important to Giao is keeping all of the stakeholders involved in the decision-making process. She feels that the key to success in the process are the next steps, which will include 1:1 meetings between web experts and all Department Chairs in PSS to review the current programs’ websites. The TLED Instructional Web team will not just update web pages with a new interface and pretty pictures. They are going to be gaining a holistic understanding of the content so that in a way, they become experts on the information alongside the program leaders. This “content first” approach is new to Giao and will be a multi-year project, but she sees the value it will provide for our students. It informs our web team on how or why a student might need to reach a specific piece of information. Then, they design the navigation from there.

When talking with Giao, she shared that her favorite course to teach is EDUC 1301, where she sends students to observe real classrooms. She loves hearing the observations they return with and hearing what inspires them to continue with their teaching career. It seems as though Giao is still very much in a similar role – working side by side with her colleagues, giving them field experience, listening to their observations, and ultimately building a collaborative ecosystem within her new division. It is hard work to keep everyone’s ideas and opinions in mind, but she is definitely up for the challenge and is reveling in the potential of it all.

Back to Top

Share This

Share this post with your friends!