Excellence in Teaching Day
Excellence in Teaching Day is a full-day event that brings faculty from across BC together with nationally-recognized scholars to discuss important questions about teaching and learning. After nearly three years since our last on-campus Excellence in Teaching Day event, we were delighted to be able to hold ETD 2022 in person in Gasson Hall on Monday, May 9 from 9:00 - 4:30.
Who is the Classroom Built For?
In the introduction to her book, What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World, Sara Hendren asks of a world fundamentally changed by a global pandemic: “Is a desirable future one that only restores what was lost? Or is it a new set of possibilities asking to be imagined, or reimagined?” Hendren, an artist turned design researcher, invites her readers to explore that question through the lens of design — inviting us to ask of everyday objects and spaces, “Who is the built world built for?”
For Excellence in Teaching Day this year, we took up Hendren’s invitation to ask, “Who is the classroom built for?” How do the choices we make as we design and teach our courses shape what kind of learning – and learners – can find a place in our classrooms? Building on the recent uptick in interest across campus in the role of design in higher education, ETD this year featured faculty from a range of disciplines sharing the various ways they’ve “rebuilt” how they approach teaching and mentoring. See the tabs below for complete details about Hendren’s keynote, breakout sessions, and an afternoon “design thinking” workshop.
8:45: Check-in & Light Breakfast (Gasson 100)
9:30: Breakout Sessions I (Gasson Hall)
10:45: Coffee Break (Gasson 309)
11:00: Breakout Sessions II (Gasson Hall)
12:15: Buffet Lunch Opens (Gasson 100)
12:45: Keynote: Sara Hendren (Gasson 100)
2:15: Raffle (Gasson 100)
2:30: Workshop: Design Thinking and Re-imagining “the Who” of Our Classrooms (Gasson 306)
Faculty As Gatekeepers: Challenging Assumptions Around Access
Jordyn Zimmerman (BC Grad) and Kristen Bottema-Beutel (LSEHD)
Understanding the perspectives of disabled folx improves campus and educational practice while reducing unintentional harm. Presented by a nonspeaking Autistic BC grad, along with a BC faculty member, this session provides an important learning opportunity for experienced faculty and novices, alike. By the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: 1) identify internalized and unintentional ableism in themselves and their work within higher education; 2) identify inclusive and exclusive practices in their work and how ableist beliefs contribute to these structures, and; 3) critically discuss and more readily describe ways they can support Autistic students, particularly those who are nonspeaking.
Jordyn Zimmerman (she/her) is a recent graduate from Boston College, where she earned her Masters of Education. As a nonspeaking autistic student who was denied access to effective augmentative communication until she was 18, Zimmerman has personal experience challenging the educational status quo, which is featured in the 2021 documentary, This Is Not About Me. Zimmerman also serves as the Director of Professional Development for The Nora Project, is on the board of CommunicationFIRST, was recently nominated to the President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities, and is passionate about ensuring every student is able to access effective communication and exercise their right to a truly inclusive education.
Mentoring Graduate Students
Cal Halverson (SSW), Charles Hoffman (Biology), Elida Laski (LSEHD)
For many of us, the only graduate mentoring models we have to draw on are the ones we experienced ourselves as graduate students, which can limit our ability to imagine different (and better) ways of supporting our own mentees. For this session, three BC faculty will reflect on their own approaches to graduate mentoring and share their experiences with common mentoring challenges. Focused on mentoring both master’s and doctoral students, the session will address the work of guiding students through their academic programs as well as helping them prepare for future careers within higher education or elsewhere.
BC Funding Sources for Innovations in Teaching
Kathleen Bailey (Chair, University Council on Teaching), Mary Crane (Director, Institute for the Liberal Arts), Aleksandar (Sasha) Tomic (Chair, Academic Technology Advisory Board)
Looking for funding for a teaching-related project? Come learn about internal grants available for full-time faculty members, and bring ideas to share and receive feedback. Representatives from BC’s University Council on Teaching (overseeing TAM and TAME grants), Academic Technology Advisory Board (ATIG and ETG grants), and Institute for the Liberal Arts (Major Grants, Minor Grants and Grants for Innovation in Graduate Education) — will present options and answer your questions.
“I Expected You”: Designing for Universal Learning
Richard Jackson (LSEHD), Tara Casebolt (Honors Program), Sam Bradley (SSW)
Aware that the college student population is much different now than it was when the norms of higher education teaching and course design were established, many faculty are taking another look at their courses to figure out how they can meet the needs of all their students. Some faculty have found Universal Design for Learning (UDL), a framework that emerged with the explicit intention of creating learning environments that are equitable for students with disabilities, helpful in their pursuit of that goal. Other faculty have turned to different frameworks, including methods seeking to decolonize the curriculum. This panel will include an overview of UDL and examples of how BC faculty pursue the goal of designing courses for universal learning from their own pedagogical perspectives.
Beyond Essays and Exams: Creative Ways to Evaluate Student Learning
Angela Ards (English), Ethan Baxter (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Nora Gross (Sociology), María de los Ángeles Picone (History)
Asking students to complete a creative major assignment, rather than writing an essay or taking an exam, can provide a different way for students to demonstrate their learning, keep students motivated, and make grading less grueling. Panelists in this session will share some of the ways they have experimented with creative assignments, including interdisciplinary video presentations, publications about campus issues, and giving students the option to propose a project.
From Students to Citizens and Professionals: Formation in and Beyond our Disciplines
Susan Coleman (SSW), Tam Nguyen (CSON), Sarah Ross (History)
Teaching in our fields means not just instilling knowledge and technical skill, it also involves fostering dispositions and habits of mind that characterize a mature thinker, responsible community member, and ready contributor in any professional setting. How can we do more in our courses to cultivate curiosity, productive humility and a learner’s mindset? How do we get to the “so what” questions for students, and get them meaningfully engaged? How can practices from one discipline, reinforce and support the formative work of another? This session will explore how the teaching in our fields can promote the broader work of intellectual and personal formation.
Workshopping Our Teaching with Design Thinking
Kyrah Malika Daniels (Art, Art History and Film / AADS), Jonathan Krones (Engineering), Njoke Thomas (CSOM)
This past year the Center for Digital Innovation in Learning organized a Design Thinking Working Group meant to provide faculty and a chance to develop meaningful digital learning experiences for their students and reflect on the design process. Several key questions animated the group’s work together:
- How can we develop empathy for students and find ways to involve them in the design process?
- How can workshopping ideas with faculty from a variety of disciplines help improve our teaching?
- How can we prototype our assignment ideas and learning technologies before going live with them in a course?
For this interactive panel session, working group participants will share their reflections about the design process and the results of the learning experiences they developed. CDIL staff will also be available afterward to discuss applications to the Fall 2022 Working Group.
The Agency to Build: Ideas for the Convivial Classroom
Sara Hendren (Associate Professor of Arts, Humanities and Design at Olin College of Engineering)
How do we bring a spirit of agency to our classroom encounters—whether in the seminar, the studio, or the laboratory? At its best, the classroom offers students the chance to analyze more sharply and understand more deeply. But as educators, we also want to equip students with both the confidence and the proper humility to act—to collaborate, to prototype, to energize our many disciplines toward desirable futures. Sara Hendren walks us through some unusual laboratory-studio classroom encounters and offers ideas from many thinkers and domains about building a big generous house for nurturing young builders, in every corner of the university campus.
Sara Hendren is a humanist in tech—an artist, design researcher, writer, and professor at Olin College of Engineering. Her book What Can A Body Do? How We Meet the Built World explores the places where disability shows up in design. It was named one of the Best Books of 2020 by NPR and won a 2021 Science in Society Journalism award. Her art and design work has been widely exhibited in museum exhibitions and is held in the permanent collections at MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt. In 2021-22, she is Lecturer in Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design and a fellow in Education Policy at the New America think tank, where she is researching the future of work for adults with cognitive and developmental disabilities.
Design Thinking and Re-imagining “the Who” of Our Classrooms
Sunanda Bhattacharya (Associate Vice Provost, Design and Innovation Strategies), Maria-Isabel Carnasciali (Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of New Haven), Daniel Riehs (Associate Director, Information Systems, Institutional Research & Planning), and Allison Reilly (Data Graphic Designer, Institutional Research & Planning)
How can we as educators listen, observe, reflect and discern on Next Gen’s mindsets, habits, and outlook to create relevant, meaningful, and impactful innovation ecosystems?
Across the world, education is being challenged by its next generation audience. This audience, raised on a digital diet, has expectations and aspirations significantly different from its predecessors. Their technology-driven sense of innovation, their methods of connecting and maintaining relationships, as well as their mindset for working, collaborating, problem-solving and communicating, require higher education to re-examine its methods of education to significantly exceed this generation’s expectations rather than just adequately meeting it. Coupled with the above, higher education is also under pressure from industry, society, and the environment to respond to the rapidly changing global outlook and graduate the next generation of citizens for jobs that may not even exist yet.
During this interactive design thinking session, attendees will have the opportunity to share, collaborate, listen, reflect, discern, and discuss the next gen learner’s mindsets, habits, and outlook in the context of the future of learning. Participants will have the opportunity to take away ideas to build upon, with the ultimate purpose of exceeding student, societal, and industry expectations.
The CTE is committed to providing equal access to events and programs. Below you can find some of the proactive steps were taking to make Excellence in Teaching Day accessible:
- Creating both a paper-based and a digital program
- Sharing accessible presentation guidelines with contributors
- Providing materials ahead of time whenever possible
- Soliciting questions throughout the day verbally and digitally
- Providing a microphone for each panel
- Making powerstrips available in breakout session rooms
- Having CTE staff available to offer assistance
- Reserving Gasson 204 as a quiet space throughout the day
We recognize that our efforts to reduce barriers are imperfect. If you anticipate needing accommodations to fully participate in the day, please indicate those on your registration form or contact Kim Humphrey (firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-552-3749).