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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

There’s research on that*

We believe strongly in the power of research, as we should at an R-1 institution, but it’s probably fair to say that many of us are not familiar with and don’t apply the findings from a very copious literature on how we can better boost student learning. Just like methodologies for our research or creative work, methodologies for effective teaching change over time. The students we teach are also changing, are more diverse, and have grown up in a world vastly different in many ways -- certainly technologically -- from that of previous generations. Whether you’re new to the University or want to take a fresh approach to a topic you’ve taught before, the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) can help you advance your teaching and engage learners. It’s a great resource and I’ve read of many instances where CLA faculty gained much from working with CEI. Be sure to check out the workshops page for short sessions offering practical tips for the classroom, grading, and assignments. (*With due credit to The Society Pages for the heading.)

Civic readiness and equity gap updates

Toward the end of last semester, we convened two workgroups to have an initial discussion on initiatives I described earlier in the fall in my State of the College address: the Civic Readiness Initiative and addressing equity gaps in our classes. The Civic Readiness Initiative helps students to develop their capacity to engage in productive discussion and dialogue across differences, expose themselves to diverse perspectives, and enhance their ability to see the world through others’ eyes; provide public-facing programming and events; and advance other goals including supporting research in areas such as news and digital literacy and societal polarization. Work on the equity gap concerns what kinds of information and strategies instructors would find helpful to examine and respond to disparities in grading at the course and department level. If you would like to learn more or be involved in these initiatives, please contact me.

Annual spring budgetary processes

As the new year turns toward spring, many annual processes kick into high gear in departments and in the college. And at the campus level, academic units engage in the annual Budget/Compact process with Central. I’ve described the Compact process in past years in terms so moving it has led readers to appreciative tears of joy. At least, that’s my interpretation and I’m sticking to it. If you’d like to learn more about the results of last year’s process or how the Compact process works, please follow the link above. For now, I apologize for the length of this budget overview but do want you to have the information.