The Center for Teaching, Research & Learning sponsors two or three conversational lunches per semester focused on topics of special interest to Faculty. Past Noontime Conversations have included Navigating Diverse Political Ideologies in the Classroom and Beyond, Addressing Students’ Stress and Mental Health Issues, Active Learning: Why It Matters, and Building a Culturally Sustaining Classroom. If you have a particular issue you would like to share with faculty in this venue, please contact Anna Olsson, at x6077.
Working with Students with Disabilities and the Accommodations Process
Erica Gillaspy, Assistant Director, Academic Support and Access Center Anna Whiston, Disability Access Advisor, Academic Support and Access Center Sarah Irvine Belson, Executive Director, Institute for Innovation in Education, School of Education Christopher Tudge, Associate Professor, Department of Biology Tanja Aho, Professorial Lecturer, Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative
By this point in the semester, most faculty members have received at least one Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) accommodations letter. Knowing how to interpret and implement these accommodations can be challenging. In this session, the panel will provide tips for engaging students in conversations about their accommodations, discuss why accommodations are necessary, and explain how the ASAC determines reasonable accommodations through an interactive process. Finally, the panel will discuss frequently asked questions about specific accommodations, including testing arrangements, use of laptops and recording devices, and attendance and deadline accommodations.
When Things Get Heated: Navigating Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom
Justin Perillo, Associate General Counsel, Office of General Counsel Dan Nichols, AVP Risk, Safety & Transportation Program, Office of Finance and Treasurer Traci Callandrillo, Assistant Vice President Campus Life, Office of Campus Life Philip Morse, Assistant Vice President of University Police Services & Emergency Management, Office of Finance and Treasurer
Many faculty members and classroom instructors report that a significant challenge in teaching is navigating student behavior in the classroom. This session will address this area of concern and provide strategies for managing classroom behaviors, setting clear expectations for classroom engagement, and utilizing outside resources for support. The session will also offer an overview of the legal and institutional parameters that guide the university’s approach to setting and enforcing student conduct expectations. The session will also offer a review of university resources and processes for engaging in consultation and support.
In spite of the well-documented short-comings and biases of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET), the SET remains as the mainstay of how faculty are reviewed for merit, re-appointment, tenure, and promotion. Given that student evaluations are comparatively easy and inexpensive to collect, they are unlikely to be discarded anytime soon. As a counterweight to SETs, there is growing interest in employing classroom observation as a component of a broader approach to evaluating teaching. In this Noontime Conversation, we will discuss what this approach entails, what the best practices are, and when and how they should be deployed as part of a larger narrative of teaching by a faculty member.
Gorky Cruz, Center for Language Exploration, Acquisition & Research (CLEAR)
Despite our best intentions, our unconscious biases—and those of our students—often play a key role in shaping the quality of the learning environment in our classrooms. This session will include but go beyond describing common manifestations of unconscious bias in teaching and learning, and will explore tools for inclusive pedagogy to recognize and address the impact of bias.
Hardly a day goes by in which we don’t read about professors indoctrinating students, students protesting guest speakers, students demanding trigger warnings or safe spaces, or students being hostile to free speech. This narrative persists in spite of the fact that data shows college students are more supportive of free speech than the general population; students who spend time with professors moderate their views. This hostility, a polarized political environment, proliferation of opinion media, and student evaluation-driven contingent employment present challenges for faculty. At the same time, increasingly diverse student bodies require us to visit whether our learning spaces are truly inclusive. At American, we are engaged in efforts to address the fact that students of color report feeling less welcome and included. In this noontime conversation, we will talk about building learning environments that are equally respectful of intellectual and personal diversity. We will introduce concepts civil discourse, inclusively-designed curricula, universal design for learning, trauma-informed discourse, and pedagogical strategies for balancing political neutrality with respect and inclusion.
Collaborative research is now de rigueur in many fields, reflecting the known benefits of multidisciplinary approaches to scholarship. Indeed, funding agencies and foundations have also embraced this trend and are favoring requests for proposals from multidisciplinary teams. However, collaborative research can present a set of challenges and costs related to finding and assessing potential collaborators, managing group dynamics, dilution of effort in multi-authored articles, among others. In this Noontime Conversation, we will reflect on several successful multidisciplinary research projects carried out at AU to highlight and offer insights into factors and approaches for ensuring that benefits of collaborative research projects outweigh their potential costs.