The latest news in higher education and around ACUE
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February 27, 2020 

A Conversation on Student Success: Butler Provost Kathryn Morris 

Butler University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kathryn Morris talks with the American Council on Education about creating value through instructional excellence and career readiness at Butler.

"If you look at the traditional measures of student success, things like retention rate and graduation rate, we do very well and we're higher than the national averages both for our students overall and for students in each various demographic group," said Morris.

"But we want to do better. And we know that there are certain subgroups of students who don't perform quite as well as the rest of the student body as a whole. We feel obliged to make sure that we're doing everything possible to have all of our students have as much success as they can."

Dr. Morris discusses Butler’s experience in the CIC Consortium for Instructional Excellence and Career Guidance and shares findings of faculty and student impact. Through this collaboration, Butler faculty continued to elevate the student experience by embedding evidence-based teaching practices, career guidance, and skill development into their courses.

Watch the video

Transformative Learning Experiences for Teachers and Students

"I've fallen in love with Rutgers–Newark because of the faculty, the diverse campus—even the community has wonderful people in it. I couldn't ask for a better school," said Marcus Flax, a senior majoring in psychology, as he joined the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast (TiHE) with his psychology professor, Christina Zambrano-Varghese.

"[Dr. Zambrano] talks to the students, she gets the students talking to one another, she walks around and listens to the conversations, jumping into the conversations to hear what students are saying. It makes you feel like you’re part of a community rather than just a classroom," says Flax.

Zambrano and Flax talk with TiHE host Bonni Stachowiak about the impact great teaching can have within one of the country's most diverse university communities.

Listen to the podcast
Explore ACUE featured podcasts

Commitment to Change

As an educator of nearly 40 years, Dr. Dale Hoffman has seen the classroom change in more ways than one. While students sitting quietly listening to lectures while taking pages of handwritten notes might have been commonplace earlier in her career, many of today’s students are seeking a more collaborative learning environment. And that’s not to mention the diversity of students themselves.
“Students today come from vastly different personal and academic backgrounds,” says Hoffman, a professor at Folsom Lake College. “As instructors, we’re competing with social media and cell phones that can distract them–not to mention many of our students also have families and jobs and may be caring for other relatives."
Hoffman recognized that these changes in the make-up of today’s students require changes in her teaching methods.

"The reality is if you don’t embrace change, you’re going to be left behind,” Hoffman says. “Change always has a benefit if we take the time to find it."

Read the blog post

Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environment

Learn how to engage underprepared students, embrace diversity in your classroom, provide useful feedback and more in this 6-8 week online micro-credential course.

Still Enrolling for March

  • Self-paced online short course
  • Facilitated cohorts comprised of educators nationwide
  • $600 course fee for the open enrollment, micro-credential course that addresses six competencies and runs 6-8 weeks
  • Course starts online March 7
Learn more

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
Teaching Through Impostor Monsters
“Imposter monsters” — the sense of not belonging — are a frequent problem for college students, writes Irina Popescu. Instead of pretending they don’t exist, she asks students to draw pictures of these monsters on the first day of class and has a discussion about their prevalence and how race, class, and gender dynamics and inequalities contribute to the feeling. She notes that doing so seems to positively affect their ability to trust their voices and “empower their analytical thought process.” (Inside Higher Ed)
The Future of Work Demands High-Quality Education Beyond High School
The Lumina Foundation finds that millions more Americans will need education beyond high school to succeed in today’s economy, given factors like automation, globalization, and artificial intelligence. According to this report, there is a shared responsibility for ensuring everyone has a place in the skilled workforce, such as higher education institutions providing opportunities for workers to develop these competencies and earn quality credentials. (The Lumina Foundation)
How "Dialogue" Can Create Empathy in a Divided Classroom
In a polarized climate, class discussions on sensitive topics can get heated. On this podcast, Kelly Maxwell advocates holding intentional dialogues, in which students who may have felt marginalized in the past can share their perspectives and points of view facilitated by faculty who are equipped with the skills to manage intense emotions and put guidelines in place. (EdSurge)
6 Ideas Whose Time Has Come
Steven Mintz believes that embracing certain ideas would improve undergraduate education. For example, he advocates integrating high-impact practices and co-curricular activities to prepare students for careers and treating students as creators of knowledge, not just passive recipients, through projects like developing apps or instructional resources to share. (Higher Ed Gamma)
Why Asking Students to Choose the Grade They Want Motivates Them to Learn
Intrigued by Linda B. Nilson’s concept of specifications grading, Adam Chapnick decided to use a variation in his course. He offered three different options for students on professional tracks, and Chapnick and the students would have to agree as to whether the work produced merited the chosen grade, with the opportunity to continue to revise their work until they reached that point. “It put them in a good frame of mind to focus on learning,” Chapnick said. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)
Keeping Pace with Lifelong Learning Demands
Colleges and universities must focus their efforts on promoting lifelong learning in students, according to Richard Price. He suggests several ways to do so, including expanding offerings to engage alumni as perpetual students. (eCampus News)
5 Principles as Pathways to Inclusive Teaching
Inclusive teaching suggests ways to be intentional about using teaching tools to create the best learning environment, write Soulaymane Kachani, Catherine Ross, and Amanda Irvin. Columbia University's Center for Teaching and Learning developed five research-based principles for inclusive teaching. For example, instructors should support a climate that fosters a sense of belonging for all students through methods like building student-student and student-instructor rapport. (Inside Higher Ed)
Three Thoughts on Active Learning and Self-Teaching
Some students are reluctant to embrace active learning methods, Robert Talbert notes, but it’s important to combat misperceptions they might have about them. He reminds educators that learning is a process, not an action performed onto someone; the absence of lecturing is not the same as having to teach oneself; and the skill of self-teaching is essential and needs to be developed. (Robert Talbert, Ph.D.)

Partner News

Cal Poly Pomona: CPP faculty are welcomed into educators program (Polycentric University News Center
Western Kentucky University: WKU recognizes first cohort of ACUE Teaching Fellows (WKU News)

Conference News: AASCU

Can teaching be a driver of institutional transformation?

We explored the question with Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller, executive vice provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Farah Ward, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs at Elizabeth City State University, and Dr. Scott Furlong, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at SUNY Oswego.

In this recap of a session at AASCU’s winter academic affairs meeting, their insights suggest that the answer is an unequivocal “yes!”
Read more

Photos of the Week

Ball State University Course Launch
Harding University Course Launch
Reynolds Community College Course Launch 
Achieving the Dream 2020 Session with Broward College, Miami Dade College, and Indian River College
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