Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

A Focus on Teaching and Learning at Mid-Career

Are your experienced faculty members as effective in the classroom as you would like them to be? If not, perhaps a faculty development program like the University of Minnesota’s Mid-Career Teaching Program could be the answer. Many faculty members currently in mid-career have probably had fewer teaching enrichment opportunities than their more recently hired colleagues, and just because they are experts in their disciplines does not necessarily make them good teachers. In addition, teaching is becoming more complex: student populations are more diverse than they used to be, and they often expect more from professors than students did in the past…

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Teaching Circles: Low-Cost, High-Impact Faculty Development

Two years ago, a midcareer colleague in the mathematics department sent around an e-mail to all faculty at our college, inviting us to read a book with her. And as simply as that, a teaching circle was formed.

A teaching circle, the term we use at my institution, is simply a group of faculty interested in discussing teaching at regular intervals, ideally over food. As my colleague said, laughing, at our first meeting, “I need a support group, and everyone needs lunch!”…

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A Template for Designing a Perfect One-Day Retreat

A worthwhile faculty retreat can breathe new life into the academic community. The structure and content of a good retreat can contribute to the development of college or school identity and can inspire a shared sense of reflection and forward motion. As many of us know, a retreat also can be seen as a dreadful bore, an unwelcome obligation that faculty may regard as a distraction from their real work. How many faculty feel that they cannot pause and enjoy the possibility of refreshment in the confinement of the obligatory faculty retreat? So often, retreats are positioned against the momentum of fall, of new students, of new classroom power realized from good summer reading, of the desire to be focused on the future. Retreats, by their nature, seem to speak to the past, and to reflection, just when faculty are getting warmed up to look forward…

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Understanding Conflicts with Students

Sometimes we get into it with students. Most often it involves grades, exams, and excuses. And most often, at least from our perspective, the students don’t have a case. The grade is fair, the exam contains predictable content, and the offered excuse is lame. We dismiss the complaint and deny that a problem exists. And most of the time we are right, at least from our perspective. But how do these conflicts look from the student side?

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Project Introduces Students to Helpful Resources

Many of my students wait until they are in academic trouble before they seek help. By then, they are often in too deep to be retrieved. At the beginning of the semester, I’ve always tried to encourage students to know what support services are available to them. “Find help before you need it!” I tell them. But often times this advice is either completely ignored or stored for use when it’s too late. How could I convince students to heed my advice? I needed a more creative approach…

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Improving Instruction Through a Faculty-Driven Initiative

During the 2000-2001 academic year, a group of faculty from the School of Physical Activity and Educational Services in Ohio State University’s College of Education began meeting regularly with the school’s director to find ways to enhance instruction. From these meetings came the idea for the PAES Instructional Enhancement Initiative, a faculty-driven series of instruction-related activities, which includes workshops, a book club, a quarterly newsletter, and seminars.

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Using the Syllabus to Lay Down the Law

“You will submit three projects.” “I expect regular participation.” “You must attend class.” “Students bear sole responsibility for ensuring that papers…submitted electronically to the professor

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Developing an Alternate Assessment Exercise for an Introductory Chemistry Course

In recent years, my desire to teach students more than chemistry content has increased considerably. I now want my students (even those in nonmajor, introductory courses) to learn how chemistry connects to their daily lives. Learning the nomenclature rules for monosubstituted amides helps students in the introductory course on their content-based standardized exam at the end of the semester, but it does not help them appreciate the relevance of chemistry across various disciplines. I have also struggled with…

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Educational Assessment: A Different Kind of Feedback

worked in a small education studies department that used a wonderfully simple, three-part conceptual framework for responding to student work — whether oral presentations, written papers, or even student teaching. First, we modeled active listening by succinctly summarizing what we understood to be the students’ theses or main points in their presentation, paper, or lesson. Next, we detailed…

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