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Mike Welch speaking at Excellence in Teaching Day

Excellence in Teaching Day

Excellence in Teaching Day is an annual event sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence that brings together faculty members from across the University with nationally-recognized scholars for substantive dialogue about important issues in teaching and learning. 

Given restrictions on campus gatherings, this year’s Excellence in Teaching Day was reimagined as a virtual event featuring our keynote, Professor Rhonda Magee, speaking about “The Inner Work of Teaching and Learning for All.” Her talk was open to the entire campus community and was delivered via Zoom on Friday, May 15, 2020 from 2:00 - 3:30. A recording of the keynote will also be made available on the CTE’s website.

The reflection that Professor Magee invites -- about resilience, justice, and mindfulness in the classroom -- feels even more timely in the present moment. Aware of the big and small ways our communities are currently suffering, and the significant disruptions we have all experienced to our teaching and learning environments, we hoped that this event would offer some sustenance and connection. We look forward to continuing to discuss these themes with you in programs and consultations in the coming year.

2020 Theme: Re-envisioning Resilience

Over the past several years, “resilience” has become a loaded term in higher education and more broadly in our national cultural discourse. Some have argued that young people are not showing the tenacity or persistence required to thrive personally and professionally. Others have countered that the problem resides not in young people, but in economic, social, and political realities that threaten well-being. Others still have highlighted the existing resilience of college students from historically marginalized groups who advocate for their own and their community members’ well-being at institutions that were built to exclude them. 

In any case, faculty are finding themselves teaching students who are generally more open than previous generations about sharing their social, psychological, and academic struggles and more willing to seek help to address those personal concerns. And in light of the positive correlation between student well-being and learning, many instructors are experimenting with pedagogical practices to support students’ holistic flourishing and academic engagement, without overextending themselves or compromising their own well-being. 

At Excellence in Teaching Day this year, instructors were invited to re-envision resilience from a broad range of perspectives as we seek to foster rigorous, just, and humane teaching and learning environments that help students and instructors alike prepare to confront the significant challenges ahead.

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Keynote Speaker: Rhonda Magee

We were pleased to announce that Professor Rhonda Magee would serve as the keynote speaker for this year’s Excellence in Teaching Day. Magee, Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco, is a nationally-recognized authority on mindfulness and racial justice in the field of law and beyond. 

Her current research examines mindfulness and contemplative pedagogy as means to further effective teaching in diverse learning communities, develop more just law and policy, and enhance collaborations for transformative change towards a more equitable world. Magee invites us to lean in to the places where we struggle, rather than away, and mindfully probe our sources of resilience both as individuals and communities.