NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Raised roaming the halls of Stephen F. Austin State University’s buildings, Megan Weatherly, interim director for SFA’s Center for Teaching and Learning, finds it particularly touching to have been named one of the 2020 President’s Award recipients.
“There’s a large print above my desk that states ‘Work Hard and Be Nice to People,’” Weatherly said. “That’s what I try to do each day. To have those efforts recognized by colleagues and administration is very, very humbling.”
Weatherly was born and raised in Nacogdoches. Her father was a small business owner, and her mom, Pat Sharp, retired in May 2019 after 40 years teaching in SFA’s Department of Geology.
“I like to joke that I grew up on the third floor of the Miller Science Building, but it’s a pretty true statement,” Weatherly said. “I didn’t realize how unique that experience was at the time: I’d get to peek in Bill Gibson’s entomology lab almost daily. I played with the physics demos in the halls of Miller. When I was young, my parents took us to viewings at the observatory, shows in the planetarium, exhibits in the Turner Gallery, plays in Griffith Auditorium, each year’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony, and almost every Homecoming parade and duck dash.”
Weatherly received her bachelor’s degree from SFA before heading to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and completing her master’s degree in history. She returned to SFA as an adjunct in 2010 before being hired full time in 2014 as an instructional designer in the CTL.
“I used to roam the Steen Library stacks for hours,” she said. “This is particularly poignant for me, since my office is now just steps from where the children’s stacks used to be. SFA was a critical part of my personal and intellectual growth. Now it’s a critical part of my professional growth, as well.”
Weatherly was named CTL interim director in May 2019 and will be the full-time director beginning Sept. 1.
“I’m responsible for collaborating with administrators, faculty and staff to advance institutional teaching, learning, technology, educator development and distance-education initiatives,” Weatherly explained. “I’m also responsible for departmental strategic planning, budget planning and oversight, and management of staff.”
This sounds, and often is, highly technical, but her favorite part of the position is a bit simpler: “I get to spend my days thinking about, talking about and working with others who value my two favorite subjects: teaching and learning,” Weatherly said.
The CTL was an integral part in the university’s response to the global pandemic, helping transition many classes to online and distance modalities in a matter of weeks. CTL staff members also worked around the clock to provide faculty and staff with training on the various course modalities and new instructional technology.
“Pre-COVID-19, our days were full, but not nearly as full and fast paced as they are now,” Weatherly said. “Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities. I think the largest change COVID-19 has wrought is that it has increased our agility. We anticipate needs farther in advance, and we’ve learned to respond with personalized solutions and in ways that are scalable.”
Weatherly has high hopes for the future of both her professional role and the role of the CTL.
“When CTL staff members developed a new strategic plan several years ago, we decided that our vision for the future would be to ‘serve as collaborators and catalysts in a community that advances teaching and learning,’” she said. “We’ve worked very hard to build stronger relationships with faculty members, to diversify our educator development offerings, to create a community of educators and to align our work with institutional objectives. We’re seeing the fruits of those labors. We want to be change agents on this campus, and we’re making good progress toward that end.”