Being a University professor is awesome. You have specialized knowledge, education, and experience that makes you a valuable mentor and resource for students. Part of this dynamic is that we are used to being the most knowledgeable person in the room so asking for help can be tough, even humbling. I am here to tell you it is worth your time.
A few years ago I was coordinating a large course on campus and noticed some numbers I did not like in terms of successful student completion of the course and equity gaps (if you have not already done so take a minute to click on the link above to check out your own courses). I have been teaching for a long time, but I realized I needed some help so I applied for the 2021 Faculty Learning Community about equity gaps. It was an amazing experience and I learned a ton from speakers, leaders, and from colleagues grappling with the same questions.
On Monday we published our slate of programming along with partners from Undergraduate Education and International Education. Take a look and see if there is somewhere you could use a little extra help. Your love for learning and your discipline is probably what brought you to this point–keep it going and apply for a Fall 2023 Faculty Learning Community.
Interim Director of Faculty Development
Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences
Sent on bahelf of Dr. Alisa Wade, Assistant Professor of History and READI Equity Fellow
While serving as a Research on Equity, Antiracism, Diversity and Inclusion (READI) Equity Fellow this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time reading about and reflecting on inclusive and equitable pedagogy. Part of the process of working toward a student-centered approach to teaching entails empowering our students as active agents and considering ways we as educators might draw on their cultural knowledge and creativity in the classroom. How might we, as instructors at a Hispanic-Serving Institution with a growing percentage of first-generation students, find ways to continue to support our students and encourage them to take ownership of their own learning experiences?
In Active Learning Strategies in Higher Education: Teaching for Leadership, Innovation, and Creativity, the authors advocate for a pedagogical approach that “promotes creativity, imagination, and emotional depth of students along with knowledge acquisition and development” and “cultivates a participatory culture in academia at all levels” (5-6). In this framework, the goal is to embed students actively in work of our disciplines in the classroom and to encourage them as participatory and engaged local, national, and global citizens. In turn, the process of working closely with faculty members can help them learn and grow in new ways, build confidence, bolster their academic success, and give them relevant skills for their academic and professional careers.
One program on campus designed to facilitate this process is the Adelante Postbaccalaureate Pipeline. The Adelante Program’s mission centers on supporting Latinx and low-income CSUC students, and includes a Summer Research Program for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in a “faculty-mentored, funded research experience” that will give students a hands-on opportunity to engage in—and, later, present on and consider publishing—their research under the guidance of their faculty research mentor. Applications for this summer just opened last week, and the deadline for submissions is April 24, 2023. For those in Agriculture, Engineering, and the Natural Sciences, CSC² offers additional student resources, including a Summer Undergraduate Research Program.
For details, tips, and resources on encouraging students as active classroom agents, take a look at the FDEV teaching guide for building student agency.
The most common refrain I hear on campus is: I wish CELT and Faculty Development would invade my life even more! Okay, so maybe no one has ever said this in the 130 year history of the University, but still, if you want even more teaching tips, download the Magna Publications “Teaching Professor Tips App.” You can set it to deliver a tip at a particular time and you can even contribute, best of all it is free! If Magna sounds familiar, they are the same people who offer our 20 minute mentor program that you can still take advantage of this year.
The App may be a good choice for you and it may not. This is actually part of a larger conversation about managing the information streams in your life. Earlier this year a colleague and I calculated the average faculty member receives 3.5 campus wide emails per day. This is on top of college, department, research group, conference, student, peer, and personal email. If you find yourself deleting every email from a discussion group you are a part of, take 20 seconds and unsubscribe or set up a filter to put all the email from your disciplinary list serve into a folder. If your Facebook or twitter feed is full of stuff you hate, take a minute and unfollow/hide those posts. Our lives are full of information, investing a few minutes in making the streams you use the most the most useful for you will be time well spent.
Thanksgiving break has always been my time to catch up and get ready for the close of the semester. For most of us, that can only mean one thing–grading. I have used turn-it-in for years to avoid dragging hundreds of pages of paper with me everywhere and as a tool to encourage academic honesty. A few years ago I found myself typing the same comments over-and-over again “this sentence does not make any sense, try reading it out loud to yourself” or “this is great analysis, but it does not fit well with the rest of the paper” and so on. My fingers were getting tired and so was my brain.
This was about the time turn-it-in started supporting audio feedback. I decided to take a chance and give it a try. Then I explored the different options within the platform: pre-loaded comments to drag and drop onto digital papers, embedded rubrics for easy grading, and a wide variety of other options. It turns out there are built in options to grade a wide variety of assignments from calculus equations to creative writing with feedback from peers. There is also local support through TLP to help get you started. I found the initial investment in time to set-up the remarks for each assignment substantial, but worth it. Eventually, I ended up saving tons to time and the students loved the audio feedback as it contained more information than written feedback.
This is not a great solution for everyone, but the take away from this experience for me was not “turn-it-in is amazing!” Instead, I realized investing in the long-term and learning a few new tools can save you time and enhance the student experience. It can be worth it, even when you are at your busiest.
Looking for inspiration? Don’t forget about our 20 minute mentor subscription.
STEP 1: Activate your 20 Minute Mentor Commons subscription
- Go to www.magnapubs.com/sitelicense/registration.html?v=magna61715
- Enter information in each of the required fields. In the Authorization Code box, enter our group Authorization Code CSUCHICO587and click Submit
Please note: entering the Authorization Code is done only once.
STEP 2: Access the 20 Minute Mentor Commons library
- Go to www.magnapubs.com/profile
- Enter your email address & password & click Submit. If you do not know or remember your account password, use “Forget your password?” to reset it.
- On the left side of the screen, under My Account, My Online Access, select Subscriptions. The online content you have access to will be listed to the right. Click the appropriate link to view the content.
Access to 20 Minute Mentor Commons is also available to registered members at www.mentorcommons.com.
Come visit us in MLIB 458 we are open 8-5 five days a week while school is in session and have space for you to spread out and do work.
In Faculty Development we are making mentoring a priority. We formally and informally connect new faculty with experienced peers in their colleges. This program is critical to new faculty members as it allows them to ask tough questions and it values the experience of our wonderful full and part-time faculty members. In the new and exciting “U-Courses” the leadership of instructors is put into motion by advanced peers who help students move through complicated course content. We also value the mentoring relationships faculty build with students in undergraduate research efforts which have been recognized by AAC&U as a high-impact practice.
Increasingly, we know mentoring is important for our students and our faculty, but questions persist:
What is mentoring?
How do I know if I am engaging in good mentoring?
I enjoy pointing out other people’s failings in public settings to embarrass them, does that count as mentoring?
While mentoring is as old as human experience, we are still figuring out how to value it in the academy. At Purdue it is increasingly valued in tenure and promotion. On our campus, it is the focus of an exciting and diverse exploration in the upcoming mentoring conference. See the message below for a chance to learn about something we almost all do, but we could all benefit from knowing more about.
When: Friday, October 16, 2015
Where: Colusa Hall 100A&B
[Register for one or multiple sessions, see conference schedule for details]
*No registration fees*
Reasons why you should attend:
- Mentoring helps people establish caring relationships
- Provides resources to help people learn and succeed
- Build mentoring skills that you could use in workplace, community, and education settings
- Opportunity to connect with clubs and organizations that are interested in mentoring, leadership, and civic engagement
- Learn how programs at Chico State implement mentoring into their organization
Interested? Register now.
For more information, contact Gina Tigri at the First-Year Experience Office at 530.898.3705 or visit our Experiential Mentoring Website at http://www.csuchico.edu/fye/mentoringconference.