A recent Onion article poked fun at the speech controversies on campus with the headline “Berkeley Campus On Lockdown After Loose Pages From ‘Wall Street Journal’ Found On Park Bench.” As is often the case with satire, the article brought some critical issues to the fore that many of us around the nation are grappling with inside the classroom and in the public areas on campus. Controversies at a number of higher education institutions around the nation have highlighted some tensions around difficult issues. I will not belabor a detailing of what has happened at Berkeley, Middlebury, UCLA, and other campuses, but you can find a listing and an interesting response from students in this Inside Higher Education piece. Rather, I want to highlight some of the important work done at Chico that represents how we should engage controversy and invite you to participate in the forthcoming dialogue at the CELT conference to continue those conversations.
- Chico is home of some longstanding events that engage students in civil discussions on controversial issues. The Town Hall Meeting and Great Debate have showcased active engagement in and out of the classroom and become models for other campuses around the nation. If you are looking for help in and out of your own classroom, you do not even have to step off campus for advice from First-Year Experience and Civic Engagement.
- A recent incident on our campus showcased some of the best Chico has to offer when students engaged in creative counter-protest of a controversial speaker in the 1st street mall area.
- The question of “what is up for debate?” was central to our selection of the 2017 CELT Conference theme, Revitalizing Truth Through Education. We are not courting controversy, but we are asking you to address it. What topics are off limits in your courses? What gets brought up unproductively? What do we do when controversy erupts?
Lastly, I want to let you know how pleased we are to welcome Dr. Josh Trout as the new Director of Faculty Development starting in Summer 2017. We are all excited to see where Dr. Trout takes the campus next and eager to support him.
The call for the 23rd annual CELT conference is live! Submit an abstract today to change the world tomorrow—or maybe in October.
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Don’t forget to subscribe to the Caffeinated Cats podcast. Our newest episode is out now! President Gayle Hutchinson joins Mary, Tracy, and I to discuss the bright future of CSU, Chico. Link to it on soundcloud, itunes, overcast, or follow the podcast on facebook.
Yes, that faint whooshing you hear is the sound of another semester slipping past us. There’s a certain inevitability to this point in the semester, for us and our students. After this (long!) week and the Thanksgiving break, those last two weeks of the semester will move at breakneck speed and we’ll find ourselves in the world of exams and is-there-any-extra-credit-in-this-class and who’s hosting the holiday party, anyway?
Seize this moment! Before the grading, the reckoning with piles of unattended laundry, and the renewed commitment to work-life balance, do a 10-minute diagnostic on each of your classes. You will never be better attuned than you are right now to what worked, what flopped, and what needs to be tweaked. Try creating a “Notes for Next Time” file, or simply mark up a copy of the syllabus indicating what topics needed an extra session, what readings should be updated, or due dates shifted to protect your sanity. Beyond logistics, are there new pedagogical moves you might try? Consider making a commitment to adding one new tool to your kit—a Blackboard feature, a classroom activity, a creative new assignment. There are innumerable resources to help you with these—check out upcoming TLP and CELT workshops, or let me know about a topic you’d like us to add to the roster. CELT can also offer department-specific “we come to you” workshops on topics of interest to particular units.
*Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.
Today’s tip is simple: Invest in yourself. It’s so easy to keep putting off the things that will really improve our professional lives simply because too many things are on fire right in front of us. But a few strategic investments of time and resources can make a huge difference in updating and reinvigorating a course, getting research done, even developing a long term plan for our careers. So here’s the deal: CELT/Faculty Affairs will offer some resources if you’ll put in some time.
Here are four opportunities for you to invest in yourself:
- Publish an Article in 12 Weeks. Join a Faculty Learning Community this spring devoted to turning research projects into published articles. We will pay you to do this. Really. (Not a lot, but still.) See attached description and application. Applications due December 5.
- Come to the HERS Roundtable. Where do your see yourself in 5 years? 10? Learn about the leading national academic women’s leadership program from four campus alumnae who will share their experiences and help us strategize for women’s leadership development at Chico State. Next Wednesday, November 12, 3-4, SSC 150. See attached flier for more information. We’ll bring the snacks.
- Get credit for teaching innovation. CELT’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants will pay up to $1000 for you to travel to conferences where you present work on (or just learn about!) new approaches to teaching and learning. Full details and application are available here; the deadline for this round is December 1.
- Reinvigorate a course with newer, less expensive materials. The Textbook Alternatives Project (TAP) offers $1000 stipends to faculty who will invest some time exploring alternatives to expensive textbooks with the support of TLP and subject librarians. Details and application are available here. The deadline is November 7, but the application won’t take you long.
*Authored by Dr. Katherine McCarthy.