Today@Sam Article

New PACE Director Announced

Jan. 5, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

BlackburneThe Sam Houston State University Professional and Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) and the Office of the Provost have announced Brian Blackburne as the new PACE director.

Blackburne joined the Department of English faculty in 2009 and has served as director of the department’s Technical Communication program since 2015. Involved with several PACE programs, Blackburne has long been an advocate of active learning, helping design the Iris Technical Communication Suite in the Evans complex.

“Over the years, I’ve benefitted from a number of initiatives and events offered through PACE, so I know what a fantastic resource it is for the members of our campus. When I saw the opportunity to join PACE, I leapt at it,” Blackburne said.

Formed in 2008, PACE’s inaugural director, Marsha Harman, developed the center for experienced faculty members to design developmental opportunities for new instructors. As the center’s second director, Todd Primm successfully incorporated the 2019-24 QEP Engaging Classrooms into PACE with the assistance of associate directors Li-Jen Lester and Brandy Doleshal.

“I’m very appreciative of the service Dr. Primm devoted to PACE, especially in expanding its scope to include more opportunities for faculty to discover the benefits of active learning,” said Brian Loft, associate vice president for faculty and student success. “Dr. Blackburne has some great ideas about how to continue those efforts but also increase the visibility of PACE as well as its accessibility.”

Blackburne, who will remain on as faculty in the Department of English, said part of his attraction to the PACE position was based on his firm belief in the roles that education and professional development play in improving lives.

“Even at a university, where so many people know so much, we all have more to learn,” Blackburne said. “PACE allows us to develop beyond our initial areas of specialty and helps us achieve great things for our students and ourselves.”

Coming soon, PACE will launch the Engaging Spaces initiative. The program renovates up to two classrooms per year for active learning. Applications from SHSU faculty are currently being accepted for the upcoming cycle until March 5, 2021.

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