Tis the season for grading final exams, group projects, and term papers. If you want to use rubrics to increase grading reliability and save yourself time but don’t want to create them, then consider downloading one of the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) Rubrics offered free through the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). After creating a free account, you can download up to 16 different rubrics on topics such as critical thinking, oral communication, teamwork, ethical reasoning, and more. As a sidenote, AAC&U is a great website for info on high-impact practices, STEM in higher ed, and other pedagogical resources.
A recent report revealed what many of us already know: Students with a growth mindset (believing that intelligence can be improved) rather than a fixed mindset (believing that intelligence is a fixed trait) are more engaged in class and have higher GPAs. Faculty have tremendous potential to help students shape their mindset to be more growth oriented, but only if they believe that students are capable of learning. A 2018 survey of over 6,000 faculty indicated that 24% believe that student intelligence is “set” and cannot be improved…and that is very concerning. Some training programs are famous for telling students on the first day of class to “Look at the person on your left and on your right. One of them won’t make it through this program.” That is an unfortunate, anxiety-producing, and fixed mindset that can discourage students from persisting after a setback. A better way to inspire students in the face of a setback, such as a poor test grade, is to frame conversations with them around strategies for improvement (i.e. “You could study with a group next time”) rather than innate abilities (“you’re just not good at Math”).
This Thursday, the College of Communication and Education will offer a Brown Bag session (as part of their Take Time for Teaching pedagogy series) focused on being an engaged and inclusive educator. This informal discussion will include Universal Design for Learning principles and community engagement activities that are applicable across all disciplines. Award-winning faculty presenters Jamie Gunderson (School of Education), Tal Slemrod (School of Education), and Sue Peterson (Communication Arts & Sciences) will share tools and tips designed to promote equity across race, gender, sexuality, language, and class, and to create conditions where all students can thrive within and beyond the walls of the classroom. They will be joined by students who will be demonstrating how these practices work on the ground.
Please join us this Thursday, April 11 from 12-1:30 in BMU 210. Cookies and coffee provided!
Effective writing is a critical skill in the modern workforce but teaching it to our students is challenging. If you’re interested in learning how to design assignments to enhance student motivation and engagement in the writing process, there will be a live CSU webcast on April 19 from 2-3pm on this topic. This webcast, titled “Designing Writing Assignments for Student Engagement and Success”, focuses on the visual design of curriculum materials and student-directed discovery in hopes of motivating students to ask questions beyond simply “how long does this paper have to be?” and “when is it due?” To participate in this webcast, click here at 2 p.m. on 4/19.
Defining a learning objective is challenging. Accurately measuring a learning objective is even more challenging and requires familiarity with a number of assessment strategies. In 500 Tips on Assessment, best practices include exploring a variety of strategies such as peer and self assessment, portfolios, and practical work that are “authentic” and “redeemable” (i.e. opportunities to redeem failure when things go wrong).
If you’d like to take a closer look at your course assessment plan in a supportive environment and earn a Certificate in “Measuring Student Learning and Success”, join us in a series of three workshops on April 5, 12, and 19 in MLIB 252 from 11-12:30. Earning the certificate involves attending all three workshops that offer a comprehensive look at different stages of a course assessment plan. While you are welcome to attend as many workshops as your schedule allows, earning the Certificate requires full attendance at all three workshops.
April 5: Create and implement a course assessment plan (by Ben Seipel)
April 12: Interpret assessment data and close the loop (by Ben Seipel)
April 19: Create assessment-based evidence for your RTP dossier (by Chiara Ferrari)
If you’re interested, please complete this brief questionnaire.
Contact Chiara Ferrari for questions.
Workshops are offered by the Office of Faculty Development in collaboration with the Academic Assessment Council.
“Millennials are lazy”
“Black men do poorly in college”
“Blondes are ditzy”
“White men can’t jump”
What other stereotypes have you heard (or said) in class? Perpetuating stereotypes can lead to a widely studied phenomenon called “Stereotype Threat.” This occurs when a person feels at risk of being perceived as confirming a negative stereotype about a “group” they belong to. In a classroom, the anxiety of substantiating a negative stereotype has been shown to lower test performance, reduce memory capacity, decrease focus, and cause students to resist learning activities.
To minimize Stereotype Threat, you can…
- Be aware of your own biases for or against groups of people
- Avoid language that perpetuates negative stereotypes
- Most Importantly, teach with a belief that ALL students can learn and be successful in your class regardless of stereotypes about them
Last Saturday, President Trump announced that he intends to sign an executive order to cut federal research money to universities that fail to protect free speech (article here). This presents an opportunity to reflect on freedom of speech at Chico State with a few questions for you to consider and post a response to on the FDEV Blog…
- Does Chico State do enough to protect freedom of speech?
- Does Chico State do enough to protect vulnerable groups from speech that is offensive but not illegal?
- Do campaigns promoted by Chico State such as “I don’t say” or “Cultures are not Costumes” infringe on freedom of speech or expression?
- Are these campaigns effective in helping marginalized groups?
- In your classroom, how do you empower students to exercise freedom of speech, particularly when they have a dissenting opinion?
Speech that is not protected by the first amendment includes defamation, harassment, true threats, and inciting imminent violence. In his book “Free Speech on Campus”, Erwin Chemerinsky argues that campuses should not treat the expression of ides as a threat to the learning environment. He acknowledges the tension between “the desire to protect the learning experience of all students and the desire to safeguard freedom of expression.” How do you balance these two aspects in your classroom?
The WASC reaccreditation campus visit is next week and faculty have an opportunity to meet with the team on Tuesday, March 5 from 4:30-5:15pm in Colusa 100. This is an opportunity for you to share your input about the campus from the faculty perspective. If you’re unable to attend or would prefer to communicate privately with the WASC team, you can email your thoughts directly to firstname.lastname@example.org through March 7. This confidential email goes straight to the WASC review team and no one at Chico State will be able to read or have access to it. To read more about Chico State’s reaccreditation process, visit the WASC website.
INVITATION: The Faculty Development Office will host a viewing party for a webinar offered by the Chancellor’s Office on Supplemental Instruction (SI) on March 1 from 12-2 in Butte 309 (details attached). If you’re interested in attending all or part of this gathering, please RSVP here so we know how much coffee/snacks to bring.
What is SI?
SI has been shown to increase student engagement and help them perform better on assessments? It is a proven program that provides academic assistance to students via peer-assisted study sessions. Modeled after the International Program at the University of Missouri-KC, the SI Program at Chico State currently supports dozens of courses sections across multiple colleges on campus (mostly high enrollment, high DFW, bottleneck courses).
How does SI work?
SI study sessions are held three to four times per week by an SI leader, who is a student (recommended by you) who has already mastered the course material. SI leaders are trained and funded by the Student Learning Center (or your department’s budget) to facilitate group sessions where students can meet to compare notes, improve their understanding of course material, review and discuss difficult concepts, develop study strategies, and prepare for exams.
How can I get involved?
Requests for participating in the SI program should be made one semester in advance to allow time for hiring and training of the SI Leader. To start the SI request process, complete this SI Faculty Interest Form.
Chico State has experienced significant changes in student demographics in recent years. If you’re interested in joining a discussion about creating a welcoming and inclusive classroom for all students, click here to join the Spring ’19 Book Club to discuss the concepts in The Culturally Inclusive Educator. You’ll get the book for free and plenty of coffee and snacks during our four 1-hour gatherings this semester. The book offers evidence-based solutions to prepare teachers for a growing multi-cultural population in their classrooms. Rooted in social construction theory, the author offers guidance on overcoming both personal and institutional challenges to cultural inclusiveness (stereotype threats, microagressions, implicit bias, critical race theory, privilege, social identity, etc.). Apply by 2/18 to reserve your spot!