'21-'22 CITLS Distinguished Teaching Fellows

Shown left to Right: Professors Nandini Sikand and Mary Jo Lodge


The classroom continues to be a site of study for me. In a semester, with the highest stress levels since COVID, I continue to tweak and update my pedagogical practices based on changing student needs. – Professor Nandini Sikand

I am deeply grateful for this fellowship and for the time and energy it has allowed me to invest, in a meaningful way, in both enriching my own teaching, and in bringing new ideas to the campus and beyond which might enrich the teaching of my colleagues. – Professor Mary Jo Lodge

The Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship offers Distinguished Teaching Fellowships to support the teaching excellence of Lafayette faculty and to further their pedagogical development. Selected by the Center’s Advisory Committee, the 2021-2022 Fellows, Professors Nandini Sikand and Mary Jo Lodge, have pursued strategies for teaching race and gender and their impacts on all students, especially students of color; and implementing creative dramatics across the curriculum, respectively, during their fellowship year.

Nandini’s first session, Film as Pedagogy, allowed participants to consider how to use film as an educational tool to help students read images in any course. Professor Sikand created a resource based on this session with some guiding questions for how to read images that faculty members incorporating film can use in their courses. 

Of this session, Professor Sikand noted: 

I enjoyed being able to put together a list of questions that other educators can ask students and themselves while screening work in the classroom. Often films, especially non-fiction, are read as value-neutral and I hope others will find the lecture coupled with a series of guiding questions around authorship and the construction of images, useful.

During her second session, Inclusivity from Students’ Perspectives, Nandini shared how she incorporated survey findings from her Film and Media Studies courses into her own teaching efforts. She provides a summary and her reflections in a resource available on the CITLS website. For her final fellowship session, Towards Abolitionist Teaching Tools, Nandini presented abolitionist principles from her work and that of Dr. Bettina Love

Birthed out of the efforts of Chris Phillip’s work on ungrading last year during his fellowship year and Nandini’s usage of it as an abolitionist teaching tool, a virtual Ungrading Community of Practice formed this semester providing opportunities for faculty and staff to share and discuss their intentional grading approaches. This year Nandini will also be able to attend the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity to support her inclusivity efforts. As faculty continue to build more diverse classrooms at Lafayette her contributions will continue to benefit students and our greater community. 

During her fellowship year, Mary Jo led three sessions focused on creative dramatics and integrative arts across the curriculum. Her first session, Critics Picks!: What Creative Dramatics and Integrative Arts Techniques Worked Well in the Lafayette Classroom, provided an overview of how to implement creative dramatics and integrative arts. Her second session, “The Magic If”: Using Creative Dramatics Techniques Across the Curriculum, focused on her experiences implementing the approaches in her own courses and reporting of successes and challenges. The third session, It’s Showtime! How to Use Creative Dramatics Techniques in Your Own Courses, involved participants engaging in a sample Reacting to the Past game as well as creating specific lessons that involved creative dramatics or integrative arts in their courses. Mary Jo’s resource provides a summary of how to implement creative dramatics in courses. To support her fellowship efforts, Mary Jo virtually attended both the American Alliance for Theater and Education and the Music Theatre Educators’ Alliance conferences.

In order to rekindle the joys of teaching and learning while simultaneously supporting students in achieving course learning outcomes, creative dramatics and integrative arts are excellent approaches to implement in our Lafayette classrooms. Many instructors in higher education have embraced Reacting to the Past games, highly rated by both faculty and students. These games have also expanded to more disciplines. 

Mary Jo describes the impacts: 

My exploration of using Creative Dramatics to teach on the college level through the Distinguished Teaching Fellowship has been illuminating and has fundamentally altered how I approach some materials and lessons in my classes. 

Recordings of both Nandini and Mary Jo’s sessions can be found on the CITLS Media Site. We thank them for their wonderful achievements and contributions during their fellowship year! 

Are you a faculty member with a teaching interest that could be enhanced through this fellowship? Apply to become a Distinguished Teaching Fellow by Friday, April 8th. Read more about the brief application process here