Faculty Development Newsletter

2017 - 2018: late March, 2018

Fac Dev Website

March Newsletter, Spring Edition

Starting the term off right

As (what passes for a) spring break draws to a close, I wanted to draw your attention to a tried-and-true way to help start your spring term courses off on the right foot.

As you may know, it's not possible (yet) for students to designate a preferred name and have it show up on class lists. While nobody likes to be called by the wrong name, it can cause special anxiety for our gender non-conforming students.

There are easy ways to avoid this: if you don't yet have students introduce themselves and/or fill out an information sheet on the first day, please give it a try this term. I tend to do both unless the class is prohibitively large, and ask for pronouns and pronunciation tips on the info sheet. (And it doesn't have to be anything fancy--I often just write a list of the information I want on the board, and give them index cards or ask them to use their own paper.) After class I edit my class list based on the info sheets, and can address students with confidence thereafter.

What I've done in a larger class to learn correct names quickly: give the students something to work on or discuss in small groups. Each group's first order of business is to learn each other's names and be ready to introduce their teammates to me as I circulate and discuss their work with them. Even in a class of 35 - 40, I can generally learn 90% of names in two passes of the room--obviously your mileage may vary, but there's something about learning names in chunks of 3 or 4 that works for me.

Here's some relevant advice from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching: If you have any questions or are looking for further thoughts on navigating the first few days of class, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Candid Conversation: Curating Your Online Presence

Monday, April 9, 4:10 pm, Wilson House Come chat with experienced colleagues and with Megan Scott (VP for Communications) about work-related blogging, coping with going viral, and smart practices for social media.  

Tuesday Soup returns: next Tuesday, April 10, 11:45 am - 1:15 pm, AH 300

Come when you can, leave when you must. Bring your lunch, or just come to chat. I'll bring enough (vegan, grain-free) soup to share a bit, if you'd like to try it. The topic is the recent Chronicle series on women in the academy Don't feel that you have to have read all of it in order to attend--but do take a look at the first essay (Maggie Doherty, "Something Has to Give: 'Professionalism' is gendered — and women lose.")  

CoFR deadlines


The next Fridays at Four:

(after some confusion on my part about the date--sorry about that) Lynette Lombard and Tony Gant (Art and Art History): "On the Edge of Nature" Friday, April 27, WAC 213 Refreshments at 4; Talk at 4:15

Mark your calendars: Mellon Faculty Development Workshop, June 6 and 7

To support faculty within our newly approved Knox Educational Program, the June Mellon Workshop will focus on key questions of student engagement, collaborative learning, and how to implement these ideas through actively engaged and immersive learning opportunities.  We have secured a highly regarded external facilitator; participants will receive a stipend (and food!). Start thinking now about ways you might--on your own or with colleagues--provide more engaged/active/immersive learning opportunities for your students. At the workshop, you'll have an opportunity to refine your ideas and take steps toward implementation.

Useful links