Melissa Ference

Melissa FerenceSpotlight: Melissa Ference, Associate Director of Digital Education, Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning

FLY: As an Associate Director of Digital Education at the Poorvu Center, what impact do you hope to have on Yale University?

Melissa: My work enables Yale to experiment with new pedagogy to improve teaching and learning for both residential and non-traditional learners, so I hope to help Yale continue to meet its charge to improve teaching and learning on campus and beyond.

FLY: In October 2013, President Salovey said, "However, the most significant impact on our mission is likely to come from the use of digital resources that can improve teaching and stimulate learning here on campus. We need to develop courses that adapt in real time to the learning patterns of our students and liberate faculty members to engage in spirited intellectual interactions with them." How does your work with online courses, blended degree programs, and online certificates create a more accessible and inclusive Yale?

Melissa: Everyone deserves to have access to the great teaching Yale has to offer regardless of where they are – whether it’s through Yale’s free public courses, certificate programs, or blended degree programs. Online learning platforms have allowed Yale to meet the needs lifelong learners, mid-career professionals, or degree seeking students who choose a Yale education in order to make a positive impact on their communities without uprooting their lives to come to New Haven. Through these programs we have reached diverse learners around the globe and have created new communities of learners who proudly consider themselves to be a part of Yale.

FLY: According to María Del Mar Alonso-Almeida and Josep Llach in Socially responsible companies: Are they the best workplace for millennials? A cross‐national analysis, “Given that authenticity is a valuable asset in companies, millennials could be authentic leaders because they seem to be both self‐aware and open and clear about who they are, and they also act consistently with their work values in [the] workplace.” What work values are important to you and how do you incorporate your values into your work?

Melissa: Trust and flexibility are important values to me given the experimental nature of my work. The online learning environment is ever-changing which creates new opportunities for impact and achieving goals. Using new technologies to continue to meet Yale’s mission takes a willingness to trust the process and be flexible.