This is not the time in the semester when we usually think about planning ahead. We are usually pushing through those last few portfolios, finalizing our cumulative exam, or wondering how much coffee the human body can consume during 24 hours and still function normally. I want to encourage you to take 15 minutes to take a longer view of your work at Chico.
I want you to think about teaching and learning in relation to three events/deadlines this week and invest in yourself by taking advantage of them.
- How many great student ideas find their final destination on your desk or in gradebook and never see the light of day? One solution that helps showcase student ideas while also helping us with assessment and content management are ePortfolios. The ePortfolio assessment team is bringing vendors to campus on Wednesday and there will be examples of current ePortfolio work on campus. These platforms can be powerful in promoting teaching and learning, they can also help students transition to the workforce. Find out more about the event here. If you are unable to attend, but want more information visit http://www.csuchico.edu/eportfolios/.
- One of our most popular programs in Faculty Development is the article in 12 weeks faculty learning community. Chris Fosen leads interdisciplinary groups through encouragement and mutual accountability toward publication. This program is popular because it works. The participants in the past three semesters have almost all met their goals and some have utilized the lessons learned to publish multiple articles. The deadline for Fall 2016 participation is this Friday (5/13).The application process is straight forward and brief. Writing can be a real challenge during the semester, take advantage of this proven program to get the work done.
- The CELT conference submission deadline has been extended to 5/13 at 5pm. The conference is a great opportunity to share your own innovations and learn from others. There is no cost to participants and the audience numbers (we averaged 14 per session in 2015) are solid. We welcome submissions from faculty, students, and staff. Take a few minutes to submit an abstract or coordinate with colleagues on a topic, it will be worth your time.
One last reminder, the Faculty Grading Oasis will be available to you again this semester. We will have fresh coffee, snacks, and our student staff will be available to you to help with grading as long as schedules and FERPA guidelines permit. Come see us in MLIB 458 next week and get some help!
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Don’t forget to subscribe to the Caffeinated Cats podcast! The newest episode is on the strike that wasn’t. Link to it on soundcloud, itunes, overcast, or follow the podcast on facebook.
We often have complaints and ideas in the middle of the semester.
- If only I had a tablet to keep track of attendance I would remember that student’s name.
- If I had a course release to work on this redesign it would make a difference, I just need some time.
- If my colleagues and I could get together and talk about this over the summer, we could solve this problem.
Then when opportunity knocks in the form of budget to be spent down or a request for proposals we find ourselves saying “I’m fine, I don’t really need anything.” Sometimes we say this because filling out another form seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Sometimes we cannot remember what we wished we had. Sometimes we figure other people have real needs and what we would ask for is not that important.
Not just one of those behaviors, stop all of them. Take the time to fill out the form, most of the time it is easier than it seems. Make a note to yourself using Evernote, google docs, or an old fashioned sticky note when you have an idea that would improve learning. The needs of your students are real and if you have a good idea, don’t let it linger in the back of your mind, get it done.
Investing a little time and energy into improving learning environments is almost always worth it.
On an immediate note take the time to apply for a Learning Enhancement Grant (announcement on Wednesday) to get course release, create a Faculty Learning Community, or buy needed materials, etc. This is our most flexible internal grant and one that can make a real difference for you and your students. You may have noticed that we have been working to streamline the application process for our programs and this is no exception. Have a look at the google form when it is published on Wednesday and the included directions to see just how easy it can be to apply for funding to increase student learning.
On Monday I did something uncharacteristic and came to work unprepared. I was caught up on emails and had not missed any deadlines, but I had the wrong socks. I bike to work whenever I can and keep clean clothes in my office to change into. However, on Friday I took home all my dress socks and forget to pack in more. Alone, I was left to face the horror of wearing white athletic socks with blue dress pants and brown shoes.
It was not quite on the level of Harry Potter staring down Voldemort, but it was close.
My clever wife suggested I buy some socks at the bookstore and my day was saved, but the episode gave me a moment to reflect on the things I do to stay prepared on campus (most of which I have borrowed from others) that have saved me classroom embarrassment more than once.
Here is my checklist:
- A neutral change of clothes. This way if something tears or stains you can swap out things that will work with most of what you are wearing.
- Shout wipes. These are essential and help salvage clothes with stains until they can be washed and keep clothes clean on campus. They even get Flamin-Hot Frito dust out of white dress shirts…or at least that is what I have heard.
- Something nutritious to eat. I like high-protein granola bars for the occasional forgotten lunch or late night. You really need to have something in your desk or backpack.
- A toothbrush. This was a more recent addition to my stash but a welcome one for anyone I work with who does not want to smell my coffee breath all day.
What are your must-have supplies for campus? Let us know so we can add them to the in-construction Tuesday Tip repository.
Soon to be on your list will be an audio device so you can listen to an exciting podcast. Check out this collaborative podcast on “Adulting” I put together with some campus partners. We will be doing a new podcast on life at Chico State every two weeks. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode on Greek Life, or better yet, subscribe so you never miss a podcast!
As professors we spend a lot of time and energy trying to improve the lives of our students. We spend extra time grading, hold that one additional office hour, and answer emails at all times. Sometimes we lose track of the fact that we are valuable resources because we have spent so much time and energy on our own development. You are an expert in your field because you maintain an active research agenda. You know what it is like to be a student because you have multiple degrees. You have sage advice for students because you have experience in multiple job markets.
Take some time to invest in your own professional development as a service to yourself and your students. One great resource for this is a tool the University has invested in on your behalf! Take advantage of the “20 Minute Mentor” subscription through Magna Commons.
As a member of our campus community this online resource from Magna Publications is available at no cost to you. 20 Minute Mentor Commons offers on-demand versions of their popular 20 Minute Mentor programs, covering a broad range of faculty development topics including “How can I create a sense of urgency for change?” and “How do I get students to come to class prepared”. Sign up today and help energize your higher education career.
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.
Please do not share the Authorization Code with anyone outside our campus community.
- Call 800-433-0499 ext. 2 (outside the U.S. & Canada call 608-246-3590 ext. 2.). Our office hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.
Do your students know your marital status? Your pets’ names? Whether or not you’re vegan? Most of us have used stories from our personal lives to help illustrate a concept and know the power those stories can have to build trust, make connections, and revive student interest in a boggy lecture. I’ve also seen warm and personal video introductions in online courses—including several with cats—with similar effects.
But these narratives can also create danger zones of vulnerability and discomfort for both the instructor and the students. Where’s the line between the self-disclosure that creates genuine human relationships with students and the over-sharing that becomes counter-productive, awkward, or inappropriate?
Turns out there’s research on this that supports clear and sensible guidelines, as reported in this recent post on Pedagogy Unbound. Student learning is positively linked to faculty self-disclosure so long as (1) we don’t do too much of it (browse Rate My Professors for evidence that students may not find our personal lives quite as fascinating as we do); (2) we observe boundaries (no sexual exploits, no religious proselytizing); and (3) we keep it relevant to the course material. This last one, I think, is the key. Last weekend I got to offer a workshop for a campus group and told a story about a recent event at my kids’ high school as the basis for a quick case study. It was by far the best part of the presentation. The story was real, local, and personal; the subject pertained directly to the workshop; and the students got to make connections to their own experiences and the mission of their organization. Win, win, win.
Also, brevity is a virtue. Please note the 329 word count for today’s tip.
* 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.