About

Sara Centeno and Chris Finnin first connected in Fort Lauderdale at the 27th annual Teaching Academic Survival and Success Conference in 2016. Both were presenting on strategies to engage college students in and out of the classroom and quickly realized how much love, enthusiasm, and dedication they bring to their respective classrooms.

Chris Finnin, Ed.D.

Dr. Chris Finnin (@cfinnin) is a multi-award winning Clinical Professor at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business in Philadelphia. He teaches freshman Introduction to Business & Business Consulting. He is an avid lover of all things tech & usually has his MacBook Pro, iPad & iPhone running close to empty. In November of 2015, Chris was awarded the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Fellowship in the LeBow College of Business. In addition, he was the 2010 recipient of Drexel University’s prestigious Barbara G. Hornum Award for Teaching Excellence, an award given to the top teaching professor at the University. Chris earned his Doctorate of Educational Leadership and Management with emphasis in Higher Education from Drexel University.

In 2016, Chris co-authored an article titled “Measuring Quality, Evaluating Curricular Change: A 7-Year Assessment of Undergraduate Business Student Writing” which was published in the Journal of Business and Technical Research. In 2012, his co-authored article “The Impact of ePortfolio’s on Students’ Learning” was published in the International Journal of Business & Social Research. He remains passionate about teaching & learning and being ahead of the best practices for engaging students in large and small classroom environments.

Sara Centeno

Sara Centeno (@PassionateProf_) is an innovative educational leader with a proven ability to maximize learning opportunities and raise student achievement outcomes in diverse higher education settings. In 2016, she authored Success The Ultimate Guide to College, Career, and Personal Excellence to influence student motivation and increase retention of first year college students. This textbook provides research-based strategies for metacognitive skills, growth mindset, goal setting, time management, effective communication, personal accountability, stress management, cultural awareness, and emotional intelligence.

In 2018, she authored her second textbook, The Science of Teaching and Learning: A Research-Based Framework for Excellence . This publication examines and applies educational and motivational theories to facilitate learning, influence behavioral change, and improve outcomes. From educational neuroscience to instructional methods and assessment, this textbook prepares readers with actionable strategies to teach with proficiency and expertise.

Sara teaches Doctoral Colloquium, Educational Techniques, Principles of Contemporary Leadership, and Professional Communication and Consulting at Andrews University in Michigan. She purposefully and creatively infuses her online and face to face courses with student leadership development, emotional intelligence literacy, and technology. With 17 years of teaching experience in classrooms ranging from kindergarten to doctoral, her primary focus is improving the effectiveness of pedagogy and developing culturally responsive and engaging classroom environments.

Teaching

Teaching. That is the core of what we do. With a combined 30 years of experiences ranging from kindergarten to doctoral students, from classrooms with less than 10 students, to auditoriums of 300 students, we have seen quite a bit.

Do you or your faculty want to have a more engaging classroom experience? We can help!

Higher Education Consulting

Below is a sample of the keynotes, faculty development, and consulting services we have provided:

Digital Leadership: Harnessing the Power of Technology to Enhance Education

We don’t need tech geeks who can teach. We need teaching geeks who can tech. As society becomes more reliant on technology, it is crucial for leaders to harness the power of digital technologies to create school cultures that are transparent, relevant, meaningful, and inspiring. Participants will bring a computer to this active session to discuss critical digital pedagogy for the face to face or online classroom. In addition, they’ll learn to reconceptualize instruction for the online environment and be introduced to Zoom, Padlet, Prezi, Quizlet, social media, Poll Everywhere, and PLNs to support engagement and collaboration. Presenters will also showcase innovative ideas that utilize technology for formative or summative assessment. Digital leadership isn’t only flashy tools, but a strategic mindset that leverages available resources to improve what we do.

Mindsets Matter: Leveraging Mindsets to Ignite Motivation, Persistence, and Academic Performance

Students’ academic motivation and achievement are profoundly affected by the mindset students hold about their own intelligence. Recent advances in neuroscience and imaging technology provide evidence that learning and experience change the structure and function of the brain. Students with a growth mindset understand this concept and believe that their intelligence can be grown through effort. Conversely, students with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence and abilities are fixed traits. Extensive research shows that by fostering a growth mindset, educational institutions can boost retention, improve students’ motivation, raise grades, and reduce racial, gender, and social class gaps. In this active session, higher education professionals will be introduced to the research Sara has conducted with Stanford University’s PERTS lab. They will learn how their own mindsets can impact teaching practices and will be presented with well-validated mindset interventions that can be implemented into any discipline. Participants will walk away empowered with pedagogical practices that create a growth mindset learning culture.

Let’s Get Engaged: Keys to Creating a Culture to Maximize Student Success and Enhance Retention

Through active, meaningful engagement, we can boost our student’s resilience, and increase their willingness and desire to learn and participate in the learning process, which is directly linked to academic success. The presenters will share research about cognitive principles of learning and will bring perspective and insight from their own experiences teaching first year students through doctorate students. Presenters will provide techniques for adapting methods to create a culture that promotes student persistence, retention, and success inside and beyond the classroom.

Collaborative Learning

Decades of research has demonstrated the value of student participation in small group learning. Collaborative learning helps to deepen students’ content knowledge and helps them to achieve higher order thinking skills. Moreover, group learning improves student openness to diversity, and it helps students from a range of backgrounds succeed in the educational endeavor. For this reason, we share information about the research base behind collaborative learning along with tried and true techniques for using collaborative learning in the college classroom.

Assessment

Over the past few decades, calls for accountability have increased. More and more often, faculty are being called upon to provide evidence that students are learning. From having to demonstrate effective teaching in promotion, tenure, and merit decisions to having to document that students are achieving student learning outcomes to assessment committees and outside assessors, faculty need ways to document student learning. We believe that learning assessment should be a natural extension of teaching, and for this reason, we share with faculty our process of learning assessment along with techniques that both promote and document student learning.

Corporate Consulting

Below are just a few of the presentations we have delivered in a corporate setting.

INTERGENERATIONAL COMMUNICATION: Styles and Strategies for Workplace Success

For the first time in history there are 4 generations in the workplace. Research identifies that more than 60% of employers are experiencing intergenerational conflict and disengagement. Since each generation came of age in a distinct era, each has its own perspective on leadership, communication, problem solving, and decision making. Understanding each generation’s key formative environments and values, as well as their workplace strengths and struggles are essential to bridge the gap. This presentation identifies “messages that motive” for each generation and communication strategies that create intergenerational harmony.

LET'S GET ENGAGED: Boosting Employee Engagement & Motivation

Some leaders believe the only goal of employee engagement is higher levels of worker satisfaction. Happier workers certainly benefit an organization, but the ultimate goal of employee engagement is improved business outcomes, such as higher productivity, lower turnover, lower absenteeism, fewer employee safety incidents, higher sales, and higher profitability. Studies suggests actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity each year. This research-based presentation will provide a glimpse into the science behind employee behavior, suggesting the importance of engagement as more than a survey, but as a strategic mindset. Participants will walk away empowered with well-validated communication strategies that they can use to engage our most precious resource, the human resource, to maximize success.

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