Popovich webinar for Romanians draws on St. Mike’s pandemic adjustments

Business professor says session's key lessons amounted to simple formula: "Educator growth equals teaching with love"

April 13, 2022
Faculty/staff report
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Professor Karen Popovich

Karen Popovich of the Saint Michael’s College business administration and accounting faculty is active with the American Councils for International Education (ACIE). Recently she presented a three-hour webinar for Romanian educators about challenges teachers have faced since the COVID-19 pandemic began, sharing how Saint Michael’s rose to the challenge.

One vital “lesson learned” during this first of a series of ACIE professional development webinars for volunteer participants amounted to a simple formula, Popovich said: “Educator Growth = teaching with love.”

Popovich said that Romania’s weeklong “#44PentruPrieteni” — translated to English as “For Friends” – program was grounded in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The recent ACIE program she was part of encompassed almost 800 activities, with 20,000 volunteers across 41 counties in Romania over the first 10 days of April 2022.  A few of the activities included preparing donations for the Ukrainian refugees and book donations for libraries or children in poverty.

Popovich said ACIE invited her to develop her three-hour webinar where participants had the opportunity to discuss the challenges that teachers faced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how would they best incorporate what they learned as students and educators across the globe returned to the classroom.


Greta Pangborn

The webinar introduced the “TiPS framework”, which references Technology (instructional), Pedagogy, and Students/Faculty.  With her co-author, Saint Michael’s Computer Science professor, Greta Pangborn, Professor Popovich helped develop this concept in a recent publication “TiPS for Surviving Pandemic Teaching: A Learner-Centered Framework”

The COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 necessitated a sudden shift to online learning. The paper addresses how faculty at Saint Michael’s had 10 days to re-plan their courses as well as potentially learn new pedagogies, adapt to technology for instruction, and help students adjust to the changes. Faculty applied a structured approach to course design for online and hybrid instruction for the authors’ courses in business administration, computer science, and information systems. The work is due for publication in an upcoming issue of Information Systems Education Journal. 

Five breakout activities during the webinar allowed participants to discuss questions such as “what sources inspire your passion and energy and promote educator growth?” and “How do we work through challenges to uphold what is genuine to us and our teaching with technology use in the (online and in-person) classroom?”

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A screen grab shows a promotion and moment from the seminar by Karen Popovich.

Google documents allowed the participants to share their ideas, resources, and support for one another.  Said Popovich, “It was a humbling experience to hear their stories and how they faced each day.  We talked about vulnerabilities, perseverance, and the importance of chocolate. The absolute joy of learning – both then and now – was inspirational.  It was an honor to be invited to be a part of the ACIE program.”

About 120 teachers and instructional staff from Romania attended the virtual professional development webinar on Monday, April 11, 2022.


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