February 2, 2012

CITLS – Newsletter vol.1

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the first of what will be regular electronic newsletters from the Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship.  These newsletters will be an overview of the Center’s activities and as well as a continuing invitation for you to participate in its programming.  Simply put, the goal of the Center is to provide a forum for discussions on all aspects of our teaching, to better understand the learning process, to discover, examine and refine our use of the ever-expanding technologies available to instructors, and to develop approaches for conducting research on each of these aspects of our pedagogy.  More importantly, the Center is a place for all of us, new and experienced teachers alike. Good teaching requires constant thought and review, so all can benefit through participation in the Center’s programming. And while the Center has many programs directed to newer teachers, it is especially important for veteran instructors to share their experiences or react to the questions raised by others.

In order to accomplish these goals, it is important to remember that the Center is a “grassroots” organization.  For the Center to be useful and relevant it must reflect the considerable interests and capabilities of our own teaching faculty.  The programs that the Center develops must come from the faculty’s involvement in examining and improving their teaching and in answering questions we all have about that teaching.  Program ideas should not be what the Director thinks are interesting or important, but programs that help you as you develop and deliver your classes to our students.  For the Center to thrive, we must have your ideas and questions about pedagogy, but also you need to let us know about what methods or techniques you have tried, including those that have not been as successful as you had hoped.  Each of the experiences you have had can make for great programming and would be of interest to many of your colleagues.  The Center should be the Center you want and need, so please send us your innovations, your problems, your questions.  We will respond with programming that will help to address these issues.

Finally, I’d like to remind you that the Center has a comprehensive and dynamic web site that catalogues all of our programming and services and includes a calendar of our activities.  Please get in the habit of checking with the web site several times a semester.  We will be adding new features on a regular basis, for example we will soon add some special interest blogs in addition to other features of the site.  Our site can be found at:  citls.lafayette.edu.  Let us know what you think of this site and how we can make it better.  And of course, you are always welcome to drop by the Center’s Reading Room and Library at 101 Scott Hall.  Simona Glaus, our Administrative Assistant, and I are always glad to have visitors.  Coffee is always available to go with the conversation!

Current Programs

There are a number of ongoing programs and services that the Center can provide all faculty. These include:

Class Visitation Program (CVP). A number of faculty have volunteered to attend a class or two in order to consult with a colleague on a specific pedagogical issue. For example, if you would like to improve your use of presentation graphics, or of small group discussions, or your organization of laboratory activities, the Center can arrange for a colleague who has experience with this issue to attend a class or two with the goal of consulting with you on how to address this particular circumstance. This is a private interaction, one simply “brokered” by the Center with no report being delivered to anyone about the visit. Lists of the consultation topics that are currently available can be found on the Center’s web site. If you are interested in having a colleague to consult with you about a pedagogical issue, please contact Alan directly. If you would like to volunteer to serve as a classroom visitor on one or more topics, you can also contact him and he will add your topics to the list.

Center Library. The Center has been adding to its library of books and journals that can be found in 101 Scott Hall. Please stop by and browse. More importantly, if you know of works that should be included in our holdings, please send those references to us. We will add your suggestions to our collection. A catalog of our current holdings is available through our web site

Video Camera Loan. The Center has an HD camera and tripod that we can loan out to faculty who want to record a lecture, or other class activity for the purpose of reviewing that event. The camera records on an SD card that you would provide, so you keep the recording. Since we have only one camera, it can only be borrowed for a short time. If you’d like to come to the Center to practice with it, or to reserve it for a class, please call Simona and let her know.

Open House Program. While the Center is usually “open” most every day of the work week, a special open house has been scheduled for the second and fourth Monday of each month beginning with the spring semester, to be held from from 4:10 pm to 5:30 pm. There will always be fresh coffee and snacks available at this time, and someone there to talk with. On some open house dates there will be special topics discussed or a special visitor. These will be announced on our web site.

New Faculty Orientation Activities

The Center provides a week-long series of programs focusing on pedagogical issues for new faculty in August, the week before the start of classes. These sessions included a brief history of the college, background on the curriculum and its requirements, introductions to library and instructional technology resources, a syllabus workshop, discussion of legal issues in academia, and panel discussions with faculty and students on their perceptions of the academic life of the college. As important as the pedagogical discussions were, a number of social events for new faculty were provided in the programming. These included a family picnic and private canal boat ride at Hugh Moore Park, a reception at Center’s facilities in Scott Hall, and a reception at the end of the week sponsored by the Provost. New faculty then attended the Convocation ceremony that served as a great beginning to the academic year.

In addition to the August new faculty orientation sessions, the Center has co-sponsored with the Provost’s Office a series of programs throughout the academic year, specifically designed for new faculty. These are scheduled two or three times a month with the Center’s offerings focusing on pedagogical issues and the Provost’s sessions, coordinated by John Meier, dealing more with issues of professional development. The Center’s programming is usually inspired by questions or concerns that new faculty had raised during the orientation week, but some sessions were designed to be a free-form discussion of what the new faculty were currently experiencing in their classes.

Highlights of the General Fall Programming

The Center provided a number of programs for all faculty over the fall term. Topics included presentations of research on teaching and learning that individual faculty have developed, several programs on various instructional technologies (co-sponsored with ITS), coping with several of student behavioral issues including stress (co-sponsored with the Dean of the College Office), presentation of faculty projects on information literacy (co-sponsored with Skillman Library), and a discussion of what research in psychology and neuroscience can tell us about how students learn.

Special Fall Event:
Mary Taylor Huber Workshop and consultations

In September, the Center was very fortunate in having the opportunity to sponsor a visit by Mary Taylor Huber, scholar emerita from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and internationally known and highly respected author on the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). Dr. Huber was on campus for two days and provided a workshop for 15 faculty who have conducted or were interested in developing research on teaching and learning. During the two days of her visit, Dr. Huber met with a number of individual faculty and administrators to discuss their interests in research projects or proposals. Her visit was very well received, and we hope to have Dr. Huber return to campus at some time in the future. The Center library has most of Dr. Huber’s books in our collection and you are welcome to come and take a look at them.

Spring Semester Programming

Here is a tentative list of programs being developed for the fall term. If you have an idea for another topic, one you would like to present, or one you would like to see discussed, please let us know. There’s always room for one more!

  • Classroom Presentation Styles
  • Using Social Media: Should I Tweet to my class?
  • Deep versus Surface Learning: Video and discussion
  • More on SoTL: A workshop by Jacqueline M. Dewar, Mathematician and Carnegie Scholar from Loyola Marymount University on “How a Teaching Problem, Become s a Catalyst for Research”. This is being scheduled for a date in April.
  • Ethics issues in Teaching (Inspired by the Patriot League Academic Conference this past fall).
  • Academic Integrity in the Classroom: Do we need an Honor Code?
  • “You must bring snacks!”: What are the limits to professorial prerogatives?

 

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The Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship
101 Scott Hall
714 Sullivan Road
(610) 330-5969
FAX: (610) 330-5711
citls@lafayette.edu