The latest news in higher education and around ACUE
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May 21, 2020

Building Teacher-Student Connections

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) faculty support students through demonstrating their own vulnerability and humanness.

SLCC ACUE-credentialed biology professor Melissa Hardy and her colleagues Emmanuel Santa-Martinez and Dalia Salloum had to quickly adapt their coursework to best serve their students learning remotely during the pandemic. They committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure student success—including showing their own vulnerability and humanness.

We had students who lost jobs, some who were facing family challenges, and others who work in healthcare or retail,” Hardy said. “On top of that, they’re now having to take online classes, a new experience for many.”

“I try to show students we’re all human," Salloum said. "We’re not just talking heads—we’re real people with real challenges. Showing vulnerability to my students is important and builds a connection that shows we’re all in this together.
Read more and watch video
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Tea for Teaching Features Aaron Pallas and Anna Neumann
"We have to recognize that, increasingly, institutions are relying on contingent faculty to teach more and more courses and more and more students. That’s true across all institutional types, and we need to get serious about investing in developing adjunct faculty." —Aaron Pallas

On episode #134 of the Tea for Teaching podcast, State University of New York College at Oswego's John Kane and Fiona Coll talk with Pallas and Anna Neumann about how we might build a culture of “Convergent Teaching,” in which we all continue to develop our ability to support our students’ learning. Pallas and Neumann are professors of education at Teachers College, Columbia University. They are also the co-authors of Convergent Teaching: Tools to Spark Deeper Learning in College.
Listen to the podcast
Study Finds Broad Relevance of Effective Teaching Practices Across Disciplines
A new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and ACUE finds commonality in what faculty in ACUE courses are sharing in their reflections across disciplines.

The study was primarily focused on understanding differences in reflection themes between faculty in traditional STEM fields, social, behavioral, and health sciences, and non-STEM fields. However, text analysis showed that the differences in themes between disciplines were relatively small, which the authors, Elizabeth K. Lawner and Elif G. Ikizer, note “demonstrates the relevance of the content, particularly surrounding these themes, to all types of faculty.”
Read the report
Sharpen Your Skills This Summer
Did you know our courses in effective teaching practices and effective online teaching practices are available in open enrollment, microcredential short courses?

What can you expect? View this video on Engaging Underprepared students, one of the competencies covered in the Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environment course.

Enrolling now!

May 30 start: Creating an Inclusive and Supportive Learning Environment

May 30 start: Inspiring Inquiry and Preparing Lifelong Learners

June 20 start: Promoting Active Learning Online
Explore summer courses
Partner News
Prairie View A&M University: “Strengthened teaching effectiveness is an important factor in moving the needle on retention and, ultimately, graduation,” said James M. Palmer, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at PVAMU. “This collaboration between the ACUE and NASH will further support this continued mission at PVAMU in better preparing our faculty for the front line.” (Prairie View A&M University News)
California State University System, City University of New York, The Texas A&M University System, and the University of Missouri System: Four university systems have been accepted into a program that will deliver professional development to their faculty as part of improving student achievement. The techniques taught will work in both in-person and online courses. (Campus Technology)
Texas A&M University: Texas A&M University faculty members will be invited to participate in "Scaling Instructional Excellence for Student Success," a strategic initiative aimed at promoting quality instruction and student success. This cohort-based program targets core curriculum and gateway courses.
(Texas A&M Office of the Provost)

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education.
Higher Education: Don't Just Survive - Help Students Thrive
Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF) is now available for institutions to spend in support of online learning to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 related closures. While many campuses are primarily utilizing these dollars to keep the lights on, the funding is intended to also help institutions enhance their ability to serve students with purchases of technology, expansion of student support services, and more. (Forbes)
Urban Gardens and Princess Leia: How Professors Got Creative in Teaching from Home
Around the world, instructors are looking for ways to keep students engaged while teaching remotely. Pennsylvania State University’s Dan Russell, for example, dresses up in costumes, including Wayne from Wayne’s World and Princess Leia to lighten the mood and give students something to look forward to. Sharon Ross of Columbia College Chicago, meanwhile, asked students to create a plan for Netflix to deal with COVID-19 in her Netflix Culture course. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)

Communicating Compassionately During COVID-19
According to Melissa Dennihy, faculty should be communicating with and supporting students’ overall well-being, not just as it relates to academics. Her suggestions include regularly inquiring about how students are doing, offering resources about issues like mental health counseling and unemployment benefits, creating a discussion forum or other space to discuss nonacademic topics, and ultimately trusting students. (Inside Higher Ed)

5 Takeaways from My COVID-19 Remote Teaching
Michelle D. Miller shares lessons she learned from the pivot to remote teaching, including how Zoom classes can be rewarding when they appropriately blend synchronous and asynchronous techniques, the importance of having alternatives prepared in case of emergency or in times of uncertainty, why it’s necessary to prioritize student goals, and more. (Vitae)

Make Super Simple Videos for Teaching Online: 5 Tips & 5 Reasons to Get on Camera
In this video, Michael Wesch, an associate professional at Kansas State University who is featured in ACUE’s program, offers reasons why instructors should get on camera — for example, it will humanize faculty and their courses and help them build relationships with students. To that end, he provides suggestions for creating videos for courses, such as sharing personal tidbits and urging students to do the same, along with tech tips. (Michael Wesch/YouTube)

Caring for Students During COVID
Having received a number of emails from panicked, overwhelmed students, Leslie Leonard urges faculty to consider the circumstances and struggles students are facing and think about how they can best support them, particularly as they formulate final assignments. This, she writes, is an opportunity to exercise empathy and concern. (GradHacker)

Students and Professors Look for Closure as Unprecedented Semester Ends
As an unusual academic year comes to a close, faculty and students are searching for ways to end courses in a way that feels satisfying. Kathleen Arnold, for example, discussed the effects of online learning from a cognitive psychology perspective with students, as well as read a “fun” article together. Meanwhile, Jane Sancinito’s students, who had kept their cameras and mics off during the semester, finally turned on their webcams to share an emotional farewell. (EdSurge)

The End of College Teaching as We Know It (If All Goes Well)
Rather than focusing on the “worst possible outcomes” for teaching and learning, Jody Greene suggests looking at the changes that “should” occur. While acknowledging the many challenges, Greene hopes teaching will be less isolated. She also wants to see expertise in teaching and learning more valued and course design prioritizing learning and educational equity. (EdSource)
Photos of the Week
Filming for ACUE's effective teaching courses doesn't quite look the same as it did before a global pandemic shifted us away from our campuses and into our homes.

As Julie Candio Sekel puts it, "In many ways, we’re asking our #resilientfaculty filming pioneers to adapt, troubleshoot, and learn with us, just as we’re asking our students to do."

Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from the remote filming over the past few weeks. (Photo credits to Julie Candio Sekel and Laurie Pendleton).

Interested in learning more? Check out our website to see a video about our new courses in Effective Online Teaching Practices.
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