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The latest news in higher education and around ACUE
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June 20, 2019

School's Out: Reflecting on the Term, Recharging, and Readying for What's Next

“I have never met a faculty member in my 30-year career who took the summer ‘off,’” writes Eric Landrum, a professor of psychology at Boise State University whose research focuses on the conditions that facilitate student success and the use of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) strategies.

In this essay, Landrum elaborates on the idea of “macro-reflection,” recommending that faculty take time to reflect on the past semester, find ways to recharge, and be intentional about readying for the upcoming term. Doing so, he writes, ensures a stronger start—for our students and ourselves.

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Tea for Teaching with SUNY Oswego's John Kane and Rebecca Mushtare

“All of our students and all of our faculty deserve to be interacting with the evidence-based teaching practices we know actually improve engagement and deepen learning,” says ACUE’s Chief Academic Officer Dr. Penny MacCormack on the Tea for Teaching podcast. The podcast is hosted by John Kane and Rebecca Mushtare, who together lead SUNY Oswego’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching and facilitate the university’s first ACUE cohort.

In this episode, MacCormack recounts her early and iterative work with faculty and scholars in teaching and learning to define essential teaching practices and develop courses of study that inspire faculty to improve their practice. MacCormack also reflects on the importance of demonstrable impact—to further establish the empirical connections between faculty development, changes in teaching, and the consequent impact on student outcomes. “As faculty start to regularly use evidence-based teaching practices,” MacCormack said, “we’ve been able to show and realize the student-level impact that you might expect. It’s really quite amazing.”

Listen to John, Rebecca, and Penny’s full conversation on the Tea for Teaching website, Apple podcasts, or Stitcher.

News in Brief

The latest news and opinions in higher education

Why One University Went All Out on Teaching Reading
Realizing that students were lacking “fundamental” reading skills, the University of California, Santa Cruz, developed a three-course sequence of reading and writing courses as part of the freshman curriculum. Other institutions have created similar programs meant to help students hone discussion, analytical, critical-thinking, and other skills. (The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching Newsletter)


How to Hold a Better Class Discussion
Effective class discussions are the result of careful planning, according to Jay Howard. In order to disrupt classroom norms, including students seeing participation as optional and a handful of students carrying the bulk of conversations, he suggests using strategies including asking questions that allow for multiple perspectives, establishing expectations for participation on the first day of class, and having a discussion about discussion, among others. (The Chronicle of Higher Education)


How to Demonstrate Confidence in Your Teaching
Rather than trying to convince herself to change her feelings, Bonni Stachowiak focuses on projecting confidence to others. Some strategies include avoiding apologizing for events beyond her control like technology malfunctioning, using declarative statements, and asking questions that command a response. “Our certainty can grow as we center on our sense of significance in our teaching,” she writes. (EdSurge)


I Don’t Care What You Know Until I Know You Care: Why Caring Campuses Retain More Students
Today’s students face myriad challenges, according to Brad Phillips, and educators must demonstrate that they understand their students’ lives and make connections with them in order for them to succeed. Phillips writes that that best faculty learn students’ names quickly, have rigorous standards, and act as “compassionate coaches,” getting to know students and being empathetic rather than punitive when “life happens.” (The Evolllution)

Partner News


Elmhurst College: Faculty Members Earn National Credential for Teaching Excellence (Elmhurst College)
University of South Alabama: Faculty Receive National Credential in Teaching Excellence (University of South Alabama)
Quote of the Week

Welcome, new partners!


We are excited to welcome our newest institutional members, Grand Valley State University, Harding University, and Ohio University. We look forward to working with you to credential your faculty members in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that drive student engagement and learning!

We'll be back soon!

This is the last biweekly newsletter before we start our “summer break.” We’ll be back later this summer with more of the latest news in teaching and learning, insights from nationally recognized experts, and contributions from our members. We look forward to continuing to learn together!

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