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Award-Winning Biology Lecturer to Deliver UNC December Commencement Address

Kelly Hogan ’01 (PhD), an award-winning biology lecturer who champions interactive teaching techniques and technologies to improve learning, will be the featured speaker at UNC’s December Commencement.

Commencement is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. in the Dean E. Smith Center.

Kelly Hogan

Kelly Hogan

Hogan, director of instructional innovation for UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and senior STEM lecturer in the biology department, was selected by Chancellor Carol L. Folt in consultation with the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, which includes students and faculty. Hogan’s selection continues Carolina’s tradition of highlighting outstanding faculty as speakers at the December Commencement.

“Kelly Hogan’s teaching methods are improving learning and leading to higher achievement for students at Carolina,” Folt said. “Her commitment to collaboration, both in and out of the classroom, has been a guiding force for our students and faculty. I believe her message about active learning will resonate with and inspire our graduates as they move beyond the walls of our University.”

Since 2004, Hogan has been teaching 400-seat classes on campus using interactive techniques and technologies. Her approach centers on the philosophy that, with the right practice, everyone is capable of learning at high levels.

Her 2014 study comparing student achievement in classes with “low course structure” to those with “higher course structure” found that when traditional lecture courses were structured to be more interactive — utilizing guided reading questions, preparatory homework and in-class activities to reinforce major concepts, study skills and higher-order thinking — the achievement gap disappeared. Hogan’s study found this to be especially true for first-generation and black students.

By demonstrating the effectiveness of her methods in large lecture classes, Hogan’s work has received national attention in publications such as The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post. 

Hogan works with many of Carolina’s faculty to help them change their teaching and has shared her techniques with educators from institutions across the state and nation. As the co-author of several biology textbooks, she has reached hundreds of thousands of students globally.

Hogan has been recognized by her students through eight campus, state and national awards for teaching, mentoring and advising, among them: The Pope Foundation for Higher Education Spirit of Inquiry Award (2011); the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council Mentoring Award (2014); NACADA’s 2015 Outstanding Advising Award for Faculty (2015); and The Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2015).

She completed her bachelor of science degree in biology in 1996 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing, N.J.


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