Week of May 5 (Year’s End Summary)
Faculty Spotlight — Wendell Pritchett
This year, we bid farewell to our Chancellor, Wendell Pritchett. Beyond the many visible achievements of his tenure these five years, Wendell has been steadfast in his support for enhancing a culture of teaching and learning across campus. To discuss the strides we have made (and express appreciation for his leadership), this week TMAC sat down with Wendell for a conversation about teaching.
A Note From the Director: I enjoy the honor of serving as TMAC Director. It allows me the opportunity to work with so many of my colleagues across campus on matters of vital interest to us all. Indeed, I look forward to building on the progress we have made in fostering a culture of excellence
While I continue on, we bid farewell to my fabulous graduate assistant, Travis DuBose, who has completed his Masters in English with distinction. Travis has been any director’s dream as you have surely seen in his fine work, each week, in our newsletter, on our website, and in multiple workshops and presentations we put together throughout the year. THANK YOU, TRAVIS!
In August, TMAC welcomes Tara Aiken (masters student, English) as graduate assistant. We look forward to continuing efforts to bring our faculty and TAs together to promote effective pedagogy. Look out in September for Teaching Matters: A Bi-monthly Newsletter, successor to Teaching Matters Weekly.
As the semester ends, we look back at topics discussed and collect both books and peer teaching and learning centers featured this semester.
Conversation starters: The new Common Core standards were a frequent topic of discussion this semester, and the debate seems as if it will only intensify. Indiana withdrew from the Common Core, and comedian Louis C.K. has gained press for expressing the frustration of many parents with the new standards.
Technology was also one our TMAC focuses this semester, and we featured reports about increased technological engagement with students and questions about whether the push to get technology in students’ hands could be proven to be an effective means to student learning.
➡ Looking for Gen Ed resources? Learning goals, proposal forms and more are here.
From the Bookshelf: Barbara Davis’ excellent and comprehensive Tools for Teaching (also here) features discussion on the large lecture course and strategies for leading discussions.
Student Writing in the Quantitative Disciplines: A Guide for College Faculty (Wiley 2012) is a resource for STEM faculty seeking to incorporate writing-to-learn strategies at all levels.
Adam Mackie’s New Literacies Dictionary: Primer for the Twenty-first Century Learner is an ebook focused on how digital literacies, including fan fiction, online communities and Youtube, can be incorporated into modern teaching.
WAC and Second-Language Writers: Research Towards Linguistically and Culturally Inclusive Programs and Practices is a collection (free download) edited by Terry Myers Zawacki and Michelle Cox on best practices in teaching second-language writers across the curriculum (Psst: today, we are all teachers of second-language writers.)
Amanda Ripley’s The Smartest Kids in the World is an inquiry into what certain countries are currently doing to educate their children in a way that gives problem-solving skills rather than information regurgitation. Widely reviewed and lauded, the book gives an overview of the differences between the educational programs of the United States and those of countries such as South Korea or Poland.
Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, originally created by Joseph M. Williams and now in the charge of Joseph Bizup, has reached its 11th edition for good reason: its simple advice for writing clearly and succinctly are useful for writers across genres and levels of expertise and can be a useful guide for a professor looking to improve student writing.
James Gee, professor of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison, addresses an often maligned new medium in his book, What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. The second edition is updated to include contemporary games and their potential role in the cognitive development of our students.
Harvard’s Dr. Nancy Sommers has released Responding to Student Writing, a freely downloadable manual on best practices from across the disciplines, addressing issues such as marginal comments and endnotes as well as managing the paper load in writing-intensive classes. TMAC’s own collection of advice on responding to student writing can be found on our site.
Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barkley contains methods of engaging students and connects student engagement with topics such as student motivation and active learning. The link above leads to an extensive Google Books preview of the full work.
Jame’s Lang’s On Course: A Week by Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching, is a book aimed at new teachers but offering practical advice for teachers at all stages of their career.
Ken Bain’s What the Best College Students Do is a follow up to his well-regarded What the Best College Teachers Do, and it profiles the practices of students who found success both in the classroom and beyond. Bain’s principles have also inspired a conference, the Best Teachers Summer Institute, held this year in New York.
Teaching at Its Best by Linda B. Nilson is a research-based “toolkit” for teaching today’s students. Including research from a variety of fields, this volume touches on issues such as using visuals to teach and issues of copyright in the classroom.
Introduction to Rubrics by Danelle D. Stevens and Antonia J. Levi gives a comprehensive overview of the use of rubrics in the classroom. The book’s website contains some sample rubrics and frameworks as well as an overview of the book’s content.
Rebecca S. Nowacek’s Agents of Integration: Understanding Transfer as a Rhetorical Act proposes student knowledge transfer as an act of recontextualization, and builds a framework of teaching for transfer from an array of disciplines.
Peer Teaching and Learning Center: The Teaching and Faculty Support Center at the University of Arkansas hosts an array of links and articles on teaching topics, including these resources on teaching large classes.
The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University has an extensive resources page which gives advice on issues of classroom assessment and tips for teaching to engage multiple learning styles.
The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Indiana University-Bloomington has a wide-ranging series of short articles (under Resources), from teaching with Wikipedia to creating rubrics. (Your Weekly compiler found the article on avoiding the “late semester doldrums” particularly salient.)
DePaul University’s excellent Teaching Commons has resources on course design and syllabus construction, among many other topics.
As part of TMAC’s building of a new Writing in the Disciplines resource page, we invite you to take a look at University of Vermont’s WiDprogram, where they host a number of articles, videos and other materials on disciplinary writing.
Georgia Tech’s library has a huge selection of sites, books, videos and other materials on teaching and learning, including support for Teaching Assistants.
Dartmouth’s Institute for Writing and Rhetoric collects and creates materials on the difficult task of engaging students in the writing classroom. In particular we recommend their advice on teaching academic argument.
This recommendation comes from the Ivy League in Cornell’s Center for Teaching Excellence. In particular, we direct you to this course decision guide and syllabus rubric featured in our recent workshop on syllabus design.
Excelsior College’s Online Writing Lab is an excellent place to direct students who struggle with the writing process. Additionally, Excelsior’s OWL has launched writing tools for both iOS and Android devices, available in their respective app stores free of charge.
The University of California at Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning contains both original materials developed by the university on course design and evaluation and a frequently updated blog that covers current headlines and issues in university teaching.
The Vanderbilt Center for Teaching contains guides for many topics related to classroom practices and theories of teaching and learning. Particularly of note is their section on teaching diverse populations, a topic not often addressed explicitly by teaching and learning centers.
Teaching Resources at Michigan State University include links and advice for professors across the discipline, with a special section devoted to teaching essentials in STEM fields.
The University of British Columbia’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology contains a large teaching resources page as well as a collection of over 200 links to teaching and learning topics around the web.
The Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan offers resources and advice on topics such as giving student feedback and motivating student reading and writing across the disciplines.
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