CRLT Blog

How and why might you work with community partners to enhance student learning in your courses and build valuable connections beyond the university -- whatever your discipline? In this guest post, CRLT campus partners Denise Galarza Sepúlveda of LSA’s Office of Community-Engaged Academic Learning (CEAL) and Neeraja Aravamudan of the Ginsberg Center offer key insights for planning courses that build productive, equitable relationships with community partners.

Community-engaged learning, also referred to as community-based learning or service-learning, has been recognized as a high impact educational practice that promotes deeper understanding of course concepts while advancing connections between the university and communities. Community partners bring valuable knowledge and expertise to contribute to students’ learning, and those students in turn--and the broader partnership with the university--can expand community partners’ capacity to address their priorities.

What does ‘transparency’ mean in a teaching-learning context, and why is it a key principle featured in many CRLT workshops and resources about inclusive teaching? Many different students walking across the University of Michigan campus At its simplest, transparency means clearly communicating with students about course expectations and norms. As outlined below, such transparency can lead to more equitable learning experiences. That’s why transparency is the focus for this year’s Inclusive Teaching @ Michigan May workshop series. (Registration available here; for more details about both transparency and the May series, read on.)

As we approach the end of the term, students will be asked to provide feedback to instructors using U-M's course evaluation system. At CRLT, we often hear from faculty and GSIs who are discouraged about a number of issues related to student ratings, including the tone of some written comments, relatively low response rates, and uncertainty about how best to use the results productively. This post provides some resources for each of these concerns.

Student Ratings Questionnaire Example

1) Minimizing Unhelpful Comments: Student ratings comments can be unhelpful when vague or irrelevant, whether positive ("Great course!") or negative (e.g., criticism of instructor attributes not linked to the learning environment). To encourage students to avoid rude or personally hurtful comments, CRLT worked with ADVANCE at U-M on a handout that instructors can give to students before they fill out their evaluations. The handout, Course Evaluations: Providing Helpful Feedback to Your Instructors, asks students to keep three key issues in mind when completing their ratings:

We wish we did not have so many occasions to provide guidance to instructors on teaching in the wake of hate-based violence. As our campus processes the news coming out of New Zealand today, we offer this slight update of a blog from October.

In the wake of the massacre of worshippers at New Zealand mosques, many people in our communityPeople hold candles as they gather for a vigil in the aftermath of a deadly shooting at the Tree of Life Congregation, in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. are feeling threatened and terrorized, grieving deeply, experiencing intense anger, or fighting a sense of despair at a swelling of hatred and violence in our world. These emotions enter our classrooms, studios, and labs, and they can understandably and significantly affect students’ ability to focus on their learning and work with peers in intellectual community.