In a recent interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argued that universities fail to adequately communicate with the public about their discoveries, which reduces their educational impact. He noted “there’s a whole culture [in academia] that does not embrace…pop culture. If communicating with the public were valued in the tenure process, [faculty] would be better at it.”
- Do you agree with Dr. Tyson?
- Should faculty become better storytellers to inform and inspire the public about their scholarship?
- Should communication to a lay public audience (e.g. local TV news stories, popular magazine publication, YouTube channel, advocacy website) be rewarded in Chico State’s RTP process?
Neil deGrasse Tyson – Chronicle Interview
Share your comments below.
This week’s tip brought to you by Nathan Heggins Bryant, assistant professor in English and co-coordinator of this year’s Book in Common (BiC).
To create an inclusive and welcoming space for students, faculty must be cautious of word choice in the classroom. In her recent book, Dismantling the Racism Machine, Karen Gaffney discusses issues pertaining to naming and diction. She suggests, “Pay more attention to how you respond to other people’s names.” She references a recent study showing that employers and teachers alike respond more positively to names that sound white than those that sound black.
Making an effort to learn and pronounce students’ names is an important step in creating an environment where students feel welcomed and engaged. But so, too, are our decisions to use damaging terms like “illegal alien” (as opposed to “undocumented person”). The implication of name choice is one of the tenets of this year’s BiC (All They Will Call You). If you are interested in learning more, consider attending one of these upcoming Book in Common events.
- BiC campus kickoff (September 26 from 11-1 on Glenn Lawn)
- Public film screening and discussion of the documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?, about the efforts to uncover the identity of a man who died at the border (November 6 at 6:30pm in PAC 134)
- Panel discussion entitled “The Politics of Migrant Death at the Border,” featuring Chico State colleagues (November 14 from 6-8pm in Colusa 100A)
If you are teaching the BiC in a course, in part or in whole, there are resources available for you to use (reading lists, discussion questions, etc.) or you can contact co-coordinators Nathan Heggins Bryant or Hannah Burdette to assist with curricular planning.
The Cheshire Cat told Alice in Wonderland that if she didn’t know where she wanted to go, then it didn’t matter which path to take. Getting somewhere specific requires knowing the destination. This same concept (starting with the end goal in mind) applies to creating or modifying a course. In the book, Understanding by Design, the authors suggest three steps for creating a course using Backwards Design (i.e. designing from back to front – see model below). Note that determining what to actually teach is the final step.
- Identify the desired results. Determine what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course (i.e. the course objectives). Consider national, institutional, or department standards and clearly define the desired outcomes.
- Determine acceptable evidence. Determine how you will know when, and to what degree, students achieve these results by using formal and informal assessments (e.g. written work, demonstration, community project, dialogues, exams, etc). With clear results in mind, consider what facts/principles/skills/characteristics students need to demonstrate to you so that you can assess, and then grade, their learning.
- Plan learning experiences and instruction. Determine what learning experiences will best equip students to achieve the desired results. What will need to be taught, and in what order, throughout the semester? Build materials and gather resources needed to accomplish these goals (e.g. lesson plans, PPT slides, active-learning projects, field trips, labs).
If you want help designing courses (face-to-face, online, or hybrid), the Technology & Learning Program has instructional design consultants available to assist you. Click here to request a consultation.
It is now possible to receive voicemail in your e-mail inbox. Chico State just launched a new technology called “Unified Messaging” (UM) that automatically e-mails you an audio file of a voicemail left on your office line. The e-mail will include either an attached audio file or a play button right in the text (see screenshot below). Once you listen to the voicemail in your e-mail inbox, the red light on your phone will stop blinking since the voicemail is no longer considered new. If you delete the e-mail, it automatically deletes the voicemail from the message center. This feature is particularly useful if you want your voicemail and e-mail communications in the same place, if you share an office phone with colleagues, or if you just rarely notice that blinking voicemail light on your landline. You can still retrieve voicemails the usual way by dialing 898-4400.
If you’re interested in setting up Unified Messaging, click here to open the UM page and then click on “Request Service.”