Cold Lunch & Hot Topics: “How Do We Promote Civil Discourse in Classes?” (Oct. 31, 11:30 a.m.)

Bring your lunch and join the conversation with CATL and instructors from across the institution as we discuss a hot topic in teaching and learning! Our October conversation will explore the issue of classroom civility. How do we promote civil discourse in classes?

  • Dates and Times:
    • Monday, Oct. 31 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (Zoom link)
  • Location: Cofrin Library 405C (CATL conference room) and virtual

Register to receive a calendar reminder or drop in either in-person or virtually during the session. If you’d like to prepare your thoughts before our meeting, you may find the Inside Higher Ed article, “The Challenges of Teaching Controversial Topics in a Divided Society,” a good starting point.

Do you have an idea for a future Cold Lunch & Hot Topic? Email CATL Director Kris Vespia (vespiak@uwgb.edu).

Photo of the 2019 cohort for the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars program

Call for 2023-24 Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars Program (Applications Due Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022)

The UWGB Provost Office and the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, on behalf of the UW System’s Office of Professional and Instructional Development, invite faculty and instructional academic staff to apply for the 2023-24 cohort of the Wisconsin Teaching Fellows and Scholars (WTFS) Program.

This program is designed to provide time (one year) to systematically reflect with peers in a supportive and open-minded community and, ultimately, to move from “scholarly teaching” to the “scholarship of teaching.” Administered by the UW System’s Office of Professional and Instructional Development (OPID) and directed by UW faculty, the WTFS Program is grounded in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). Read more about the WTFS Program on the OPID site.

Interested applicants should submit items 1-5 below as separate attachments to one email message. That email should be sent to CATL (CATL@uwgb.edu) with the subject line “WTFS Application” by Nov. 29, 2022. The reference letter can be submitted directly to the CATL email by your Department Chair or Dean, but it is also due by Nov. 29. The full list of required materials is below:

  1. Application checklist;
  2. A letter stating your interest in and qualifications for the WTFS Program (two-page maximum);
  3. A teaching & learning philosophy as it intersects with equity, diversity, and inclusion (three-page maximum);
  4. An abbreviated curriculum vitae (two-page maximum);
  5. This budget sheet estimating costs using UW System travel reimbursement rates (Note: please use this 2022-23 form but also include $320 for an in-person, not virtual, spring conference; selected applicants will have their budget signed and approved by the Provost on a 2023-24 form);
  6. A reference letter from your Department Chair or Dean (can be directly emailed to CATL@uwgb.edu).

As always, let us know if you have any questions via email: CATL@uwgb.edu.

The First Day of Class: Promoting Belonging from Day One

Sense of belonging is a key predictor of college students’ persistence and well-being (Gopalan & Brady, 2020). Instructors can promote that belonging through the creation of community in the classroom. This previous piece from the Cowbell (our CATL blog) outlines multiple strategies for fostering community, belonging, and trust in classes of all modalities and sizes.

It’s never too soon to think about the creation of community in your courses. Why not the first day of class? Well-known educator and author James Lang (2021) shared his thoughts on How to Teach a Good First Day of Class in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Read this engaging piece and learn more about the key themes he emphasizes for day one – curiosity, community, learning, and expectations – as well as concrete suggestions for achieving them. Looking for even more ideas? The teaching and learning center at Carnegie Mellon offers some great day one advice on everything from what to wear, when to arrive, and how to introduce yourself, through what information to collect from students, how to get them excited about the course content, and ways to establish a “culture of feedback.” Finally, getting your students interacting with one another (and talking!) on day one is important to setting the tone for the semester. If you are looking for some interesting icebreaker ideas to try, look no further than this piece from Ohio State.

Follow-up to “What Will You Carry Forward?”

We will all carry literal and figurative things forward from the experience of teaching in the last year. Often, these two blend together. For example, perhaps an instructor re-worked an attendance policy to accommodate a student who had to return home to attend to a family member. The policy and the memory behind the policy will both linger. Or, perhaps an instructor created a series of virtual labs and now has videos, supporting data, and Canvas assignments which they can use to help students who are not able to attend a lab in-person. Last spring, the Center hosted a discussion and posted a blog article called “The Things We’ll Carry” which prompted a lot of reflection about the literal and figurative items that instructors will carry with them from teaching last year. At the end of the discussion, there was interest among instructors for a practical workshop in the fall where instructors could see how their colleagues had adapted the lessons of the pandemic to their preparations for the new school year.

With apologies to Tim O’Brien for the continued use of his metaphor, the Center responded by hosting another workshop called “What will you carry forward?”. This workshop featured four instructors who did a “show and tell” about how they incorporated lessons from the pandemic into their teaching. They then fielded questions from the audience.

Now, through the magic of video technology, we are extending that workshop to those who were not able to attend the live event.

Below you will find the “show and tell” portions and, importantly, you will be able to interact with the videos as well because they are streaming through a service called PlayPosit, which allows instructors to add interactive elements to videos.

Please interact with these videos on multiple levels. First, learn from what the presenters have to say. Second, use the interactions in PlayPosit to engage more deeply with the content and with other people who have watched the videos. Finally, if you would like to use PlayPosit in your own class, please contact CATL at dle@uwgb.edu to have it added to your courses.

First presentation

Breeyawn Lybbert, who teaches in Natural and Applied Sciences, discusses her four-point plan for increasing equity in her science classes.

Second presentation

Next, Praneet Tiwari, who teaches in the Cofrin School of Business, discusses multiple strategies for incorporating students who participate in-person, at home, and asynchronously.

Third presentation

Third, Nichole LaGrow, distance education coordinator in CATL and associate lecturer in English, discusses how she extends G.R.A.C.E. to herself and students (Guided autonomy, Resources, Authentic assessments, Community, Expectations).

Fourth presentation

Finally, Jillian Jacklin, who teaches in Democracy and Justice Studies, synthesizes the previous presentations and discusses how she balances all the tips within the realities of teaching a heavy course load.