|Shillana Sanchez earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in English from Arizona State University in 1993 and a Master in Literature from Arizona State University in 2006. She is currently finishing her dissertation focused on literary pedagogy. Shillana has an extensive background in social work in addition to her teaching experiences and has found a natural connection between the two. Her teaching experiences include facilitating English Composition and Literature at the university level since 2004. She joined Grand Canyon University as online adjunct faculty in 2009. Shillana's teaching strategy is to envision and create a student-centered learning environment in which she is a partner to all students in their writing and learning process.
How has facilitating online courses at GCU helped you find your purpose?
I prefer working with non-traditional student populations including returning students, working students, and first generation college attendees. The online environment seems to attract this very population, which means I have been able to reach and assist students who may have had a more arduous journey toward their educational goals than others.
What is one effective teaching strategy you use in your online classes?
Accessibility. When students ask questions or need assistance online, they don't get an immediate response as they would in a ground course. I try to respond to students as quickly as possible so they know their concerns matter to me.
What is a GCU online student success story you can share?
I had the privilege to teach a student in an upper divisional Shakespeare course who made a lasting impression on me. He was an exceptional student, as so many are, but he disclosed to me he felt terrified at the thought of being in a literature course. He was a returning student after a career in construction and felt as though he had nothing to contribute to a literature classroom. He shared with me after the course closed that I had made him feel comfortable and secure in his academic abilities, and he was confident he could make a positive contribution to any literature classroom. I hope he knows he taught me as much as I would like to think I taught him.