Embracing Change at Our Annual Conference

On Thursday, May 2, more than 200 Ohio State faculty, staff, graduate students, and lecturers gathered for the Academy of Teaching’s 13th Annual Conference on Excellence in Teaching & Learning. The theme was “Embracing Time and Change.” From the opening remarks by President Drake, keynote by Shanna Smith Jaggars, twenty breakout sessions, and casual conversations, participants gained new insights about their teaching from one another and strengthened their connection to the teaching community.

Session materials have been posted.

Throughout the course of the day, the Academy of Teaching Executive Council requested that participants think about ideas for change that they would put into action. They used Post-It Notes to share the changes they’d like to implement, the obstacles to implementation they face, and the resources they need. We hope that constituents may be able to use these ideas (transcribed below) to support positive change around teaching at the university.

What change will you implement?

  • Better address needs of first-generation students on my regional campus (preparedness, institutional navigation, feeling included, etc.)
  • Try making Tophat questions with a phone
  • Poll students: which aspects of class cause stress/anxiety
  • Find ways to bring faculty, staff, and students together to identify and address instructional challenges
  • Remind students about mental health resources throughout the semester, not just on the 1st day (1 agreed)
  • More Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) (1 agreed)
  • Online chat/flexible office hours
  • Implement interactivities (1 agreed)
  • Will incorporate news websites into class
  • Will check into Public Domain information for resources
  • I want to be more aware of how my course design affects my students’ mental well being (1 agreed)
  • Have students stand up and move during long exams
  • Experiment w/CCT (CLSE’s course redesign program) to understand my course
  • Write up a reflection about my teaching right after the course is over
  • Have students help set up ground rules during class
  • Think about new ways to form groups in class
  • Visibly random grouping every week
  • I would like to integrate more cross-cultural discussion

What obstacles do you face?

  • Contracts
    • Yearly contracts
    • The precariousness of teaching status (3 agreed)
    • Inability to plan in the long-term
  • Time and Personpower
    • No TAs
    • Time! (3 agreed)
  • Departmental Support and Culture
    • The traditional hierarchy of academia (i.e., TS vs AF vs staff)
    • Lack of department incentives for excellence in teaching
    • Not only one teaching lab; how to get others on board to try new things? (1 agreed)
    • Openness to change
  • Logistics
    • The consultation services on campus are not too accessible. Many students have to wait for months. Would you still refer your student to access the services if you knew that?
    • Best ways to alert students to opportunities to address instructional challenges

What resources would you need?

  • Support
    • Faculty leave time and support ($ or otherwise)
    • Support from Teaching Prof’ls
    • Increased flexibility for classroom setup
  • Technology Training and Tools
    • TA professional development on using iPads in the classroom (1 agreed)
    • We need a meal of the tech tools before the dessert of cool ways people have used it
    • Provide better & easier iPad kit access to faculty who want to teach/engage using iPads
    • Laptops & iPads (1 agreed)
    • Faculty need the tech BEFORE students so we can learn it & build content on it (2 agreed)
    • Tech knowledge
    • I need a platform which would be accessible to faculty/students in another country (or anyone outside the university)
  • Time
    • How many of Today’s Presenters are Lecturers… who by design have time & focus on Teaching/Learning?
    • How do Tenure Track Faculty get the Time to do these things?
  • Partnerships and Ideas
    • Community tie-ins to help students understand different green options
    • Ways to get students involved in co-designing courses and addressing instructional challenges