Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Articles

class discussion

Class Discussion: From Blank Stares to True Engagement

Thirty years of research in the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education have demonstrated that when students are engaged in the classroom, they learn more (Pascarella and Terezini 1991, 2005). Classroom discussion is likely the most commonly used strategy for actively engaging students. Whether it is a seminar course centered on discussion or a lecture punctuated by moments of interaction with students, discussion is likely second only to lecture as the most frequently used pedagogical strategy.

Read More »
class project - peer assessment

Multiple Perspective Assessment: Self, Peer, and Teacher

A college student opens the double doors and walks into a large conference room full of 65 long tables, set end-to-end and stacked six rows deep. Taking it all in, he asks his classmate, “How do we know where to put our projects?” before realizing large instructions with randomly assigned locations are projected up on the screen for all to see. He carefully places his project down onto spot #45, along with his required “Executive Summary,” a two-page document that provides his self-assessment and rationale about why he chose his project, what class content it caused him to research and learn more deeply, and how his project directly helped fulfill the four overall stated course outcomes.

Read More »
student on a laptop

The Art & Science of Quality Course Announcements: How to Avoid the Trap of the Info Dump

It’s the night before a major assignment is due and you sit down to post an announcement in your online course. You want to remind your students of the impending due date, and oh yes, there’s a great webinar offered by the career center coming up on Tuesday. That reminds you, there’s also that article about the history of Wikipedia that you want to share with them too. Come to think of it, now’s as good a time as any to discuss the lack of analysis you noticed in their discussion board posts last week. As you write about their discussions, you also decide to include one last link to a citation website you hope will help them improve in this area.

Read More »
intercultural dialogue

Intercultural Dialogue Partners: Creating Space for Difference and Dialogue

We teach because we hope to inspire and prepare students for the future. We teach to invite transformation and enact lasting change. But how do we prepare students to step out of their comfort zones and have courageous conversations? How do we ask students to sit across the table from someone different from themselves and truly listen?

Read More »
new faculty orientation

New Faculty Orientation Features Advice from Students

As director of our faculty support center, one of my responsibilities is to coordinate an orientation program for new faculty. Years ago we decapitated the “talking head” format of traditional orientation sessions and now try to provide interactive sessions that introduce our new colleagues to both our campus policies and our campus culture. While the transition of most topics to the interactive format has been easy, the session on the course syllabus has remained relatively dry—until this year.

Read More »
benefits of creating a strategy map

Strategy Mapping: An Essential Tool for New Academic Faculty

Finding your path to tenure as a novice educator can be daunting and anxiety provoking. It is reported that challenges for junior faculty are most often related to decoding expectations of the academic organization and creating relationships with colleagues (Kahanov et al, 2012).  Few tools exist to help new faculty navigate the complexity of the first years of academic life.

This article will introduce readers to a process called strategy mapping. The result of the process of strategy mapping is a tangible document called a strategy map.  Though strategy mapping is a process that originated within the business world, its applicability within academic settings holds much promise.  Within academic settings strategy maps can be used to prioritize teaching, research, and service expectations, particularly for novice educators who have little experience in the academic environment. This article will further demonstrate how the strategy mapping framework aligns with organizational expectations of academic life; how strategy maps can be used to optimize goal setting for new educators; and how strategy maps can be used as a tool to optimize structure and direction within formal mentorship relationships.

Read More »
young professor in lecture hall

The Rhythms of the Semester: Implications for Practice, Persona

We begin each semester on a different note than we end on. The early weeks hold promise and high hopes, both often curtailed when the first assignments are graded. The final weeks find us somewhere between being reluctant or relieved to see a class move on. There is an inexplicable but evident interaction between our teaching persona and the persona a class develops throughout a semester. Some structural factors influence both: among them—the type and level of a course, the discipline, the time of day, and whether the students are a cohort or a unique collection of individuals.

Read More »

A Growth Mindset: Essential for Student and Faculty Success

There is increasing awareness among K-12 educators on the importance of fostering a growth mindset. A recent survey by the Education Week Research Center (2016) indicated that 45 percent of K-12 educators were well acquainted with the concept of growth mindset, and almost all believed that nurturing a growth mindset in their students would improve learning outcomes. Although mindset is receiving a great deal of consideration in the K-12 classroom from teachers across disciplines, there has been less attention devoted to this concept on college campuses outside of departments such as psychology and education.

Read More »