Pew FTLC: Mid March 2022
Pew FTLC: Mid March 2022
Grand Valley State University
Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center
March 18, 2022

Director's Note

Myths & Misperceptions. Myths about teaching and learning can be incredibly persistent. I am not sure if you have followed the dust-up over the Forbes piece advocating matching instruction to student learning styles (see Derek Bruff’s post), but it called to mind another article, Why the Science of Teaching is Often Ignored. Suffice it to say that humans are complicated and learning is a multi-variate endeavor. I do encourage you to bookmark this long Chronicle article for a later careful read. Regardless of your discipline or course level, I guarantee that you will find practical ideas and ample inspiration in the collections below. Do you have resource collections that are your go-to places? I would love to hear about it, so please do feel free to share.
And, as one of my mentors reminded me recently: there is a strong line–not a dotted line–between evidence-based teaching practices and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Mistakes & Modeling. Through our own education paths, most of us are well acquainted with the connection between learning and making mistakes. How often do we talk openly about our own failures, mistakes, and lessons learned with our students? Am I particularly proud of courses I failed (calculus in undergrad, virology in graduate school–don’t worry, I repeated them both)? No, not really, but I do share stories about these experiences with my students. The vulnerability is important to building a trusting relationship and it opens up a conversation about working through hard things, persisting, reaching out to others for help, etc. See also: Faculty Vulnerability in the Classroom, from Inside Higher Ed last month and a helpful TedTalk by Diana Laufenberg, How to Learn from Mistakes. I would encourage you to consider ways you can increase the transparency of your teaching methods,  scholarly pursuits, and your own educational path(s). My guess is that along the way, you are likely to share a story or two that exemplifies one of my favorite mantras: If you want to be good at something, you must first be willing to be bad at it.

Mysteries & Mothers. I love asking questions. I love solving problems. I blame my mother. She put Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Agatha Christie novels into my hands and we watched countless Columbo and Sherlock Holmes episodes together as I was growing up. Until her passing in 2011, we teased and tested one another, shared mystery clues, and made predictions about real-life and cinematic crime dramas. The ability to ask GOOD questions is a skill to practice, whether through books, films, class conversations, online threaded discussions, or other means. In recent faculty consultations, I have been sharing a few of my favorite critical thinking question and discussion prompt resources. May these sites provide you with some fresh questions to ask your students and that, in turn, students can ask of themselves, one another, and, yes, you:
The world needs more questions and fewer answers. – Kate Bornstein

Mantras & Meaning. Since March 2020, there have been several questions/thoughts that have continued to roll around in my head. Meanings have evolved, but here are just a few examples of ideas that I suspect will continue to be important for us at GVSU and beyond: 
  • Whose voice isn’t being heard? Who gets to tell the story? It takes time to give careful consideration to such questions if we are truly committed to equitable and inclusive classrooms and campus environments. A related question to ponder: When the class is silent, how do you interpret that silence?
  • What have I learned over the past few years about what I am going to stop doing, start doing, or approach differently? I am a big fan of the notion of a Great Pause as described in this recent Chronicle piece.
  • A friend shared this Ten Percent Happier blog post describing a COVID-related merry-go-round of emotions. The list of 25 or so feelings/reactions resonated with me and I share in the hope that it provides some comfort or at least helps name the complexities of what we are living through right now. 

– Christine Rener

The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project
Next session begins March 23, 2022

The Inclusive STEM Teaching Project is a six-week course designed to advance the awareness, self-efficacy, and the ability of faculty, postdocs, and doctoral students to cultivate inclusive STEM learning environments for all their students to develop themselves as reflective, inclusive practitioners.
Participants will engage in deep reflection and discussions around topics of equity and inclusion in learning environments across a variety of institutional contexts. To center the identify of faculty and students and to facilitate deep reflection, the workshop will employ key features including: embodied case studies, affinity spaces, and an inclusivity framework portfolio. These activities are collectively designed to nurture a transformative mindset and help our participants reflect deeply on key identity-related aspects of each module as they go through the course, and to help them apply these aspects in tangible ways to their own teaching and learning contexts.
This is a FREE workshop that is instructor-led and requires 2-3 hours of work per week for six weeks. Learn more and enroll on the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project webpage.

Writing Success Communities: New Pilot Program

Looking for an advisory or accountability group for your scholarly writing project? You are not alone. By popular demand, we are launching a pilot program, Writing Success Communities, under the leadership of Pew Faculty Fellow, Tom Pentecost. You are invited to join either a multi-disciplinary group or a group in your broad disciplinary area. Communities will meet weekly for 50min, virtual/in-person and exact schedule TBD. We have some great resources to share and will offer ample opportunity to request and offer feedback. To express interest in joining, send a brief note to, indicating your preferences for, (a) multidisciplinary or disciplinary group, (b) virtual or in-person, (c) day(s) of the week, and (d) mornings or afternoons. We also anticipate offering this opportunity in future semesters. 

NEW Sponsored Teaching and Learning Event Grants

Our Sponsored Teaching and Learning Event Grant supports a limited number of teaching and learning related workshops, institutes, and conferences each academic year and we've just added some more to our list!

Teaching Professor Conference
June 3–5, 2022 in Atlanta, GA

This large conference focuses squarely on teaching and is of interest to new and experienced faculty of any discipline. Here are a few highlights:
  • Plenary with Tracie Marcella Addy, Inclusive Teaching: A Pathway Towards Liberation in Higher Education
  • Plenary with Stephen Brookfield, You Can Do This Imperfectly or Not At All: The Dynamics of Teaching Race
  • Concurrent sessions and preconference workshops in tracks such as: (1) student engagement, (2) assessing learning, (3) online teaching and learning, (4) diversity, equity, and inclusion, (4) teaching in the health sciences, (5) teaching specific student populations, (6) instructional vitality.
We are sponsoring 10 faculty to attend. Application deadline is April 18, 2022. Apply via our online grants system.

25th Annual Best Teachers Institute
June 13–16, 2022 in West Orange, NJ 

A three-day institute based on Ken Bain's award-winning, best selling book, What the Best College Teachers Do (Harvard University Press, 2004), James Lang's highly lauded instant classic Small Teaching (Jossey-Bass, 2016) and Ken and Marsha Bain's new book, Super Courses: The Future of Teaching and Learning. This year's program will also feature Eric Mazur (Physics, Harvard), Kelly Hogan (Biology, University of North Carolina), Viji Sathy (Psychology, University of North Carolina) and Charlie Cannon (Design, Rhode Island School of Design). The team has also planned a robust virtual alternative, should conditions warrant transitioning the program to an online format.
We are sponsoring 5 faculty to attend.  Application deadline is March 28, 2022.  Apply via our online grants system.

On Course National Conference
April 28–29, 2022 (Virtual Conference)

This annual student success conference is of relevance to all faculty, particularly those involved in retention and success initiatives at either department, college, or university level. What drew our attention to the 17th annual offering of this conference were the keynote speakers, topics, intensive half-day sessions, and breakout sessions.
  • José Bowen, author of Teaching Naked
  • Michelle Miller, author of Minds Online: Teaching Effectively with Technology
  • Jonathan Brennan, author of On Course: Strategies for Success in College, Career, and Life and Engaging Learners through Zoom
  • Breakout sessions include "Grading Doesn't Always Mean Learning," "Magnificent Mistakes," "Pedagogy of Love," and "Happiness and Learning."
We are sponsoring 10 faculty to attend.  Application deadline is March 28, 2022. Apply via our online grants system.

OLC Workshop Sponsored Grant
Available year-round

Our OLC Workshop Sponsored Grant supports faculty enrollment in online courses by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). Courses focus on a wide array of topics related to course design as well as effective teaching and learning and are offered throughout the year. The immersive programs are expert-developed and designed to improve quality in every facet of online education. Below are just a few workshops that stood out.
While you may choose other workshops, you must apply for this grant via the online grants system before June 1, 2022.
Learn more about this exciting grant by visiting our OLC Workshop Sponsored Grant webpage. Peruse the upcoming OLC workshop schedule for a complete list of offerings.

Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning
ACUE Micro Course
Begins May 16, 2022

In partnership with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE), faculty have the opportunity to participate in this micro-course focused on the learning and implementing of research-based practices, each shown to improve student success. This online micro-course will be professionally facilitated and will allow the cohort of faculty to share insights and ideas and is FREE to GVSU faculty!
Participants in this micro-course can expect to explore the following:
  • Managing the Impact of Biases
  • Reducing Microaggressions in Learning Environments
  • Addressing Imposter Phenomenon and Stereotype Threat
  • Creating Inclusive Learning Environments
  • Designing Equity-Centered Courses
REGISTER for Inclusive Teaching for Equitable Learning ACUE Mini-Course
Fall 2022 New Faculty OrientationAugust 10, 11, & 12, 2022
28th Annual Fall Conference on Teaching and LearningAugust 24, 2022
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