The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan has an opening for a two-year postdoctoral research associate with a focus on STEM teaching and learning. Read more »

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All around campus this term, groups of faculty are meeting to exchange and develop ideas about inclusive teaching practices. In this pilot year of the Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching initiative, funds from the office of the Vice Provost for Equity, Inclusion, and Academic Affairs are supporting ten different projects designed to spark faculty exchanges about how to cultivate learning environments that welcome and support students of all backgrounds and identities. This year's faculty participants represent over two dozen departments and programs, and their topics of focus range widely, from the effects of religious identity on student learning, to female underrepresentation in particular fields of study, to the dynamics of stereotype threat in science courses.

A full list with brief descriptions of this year's projects can be found on this Faculty Communities for Inclusive Teaching page.

Two of the projects include events open to the public. If you're interested in engaging with these conversations about inclusive teaching, consider attending one or both: 

  • Tuesday, March 31, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Roundtable on Campus Climate and Disability. (In CRLT Seminar Room, Palmer Commons)
    Featuring a keynote by disability studies scholar and advocate Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois, Chicago) with shorter comments by U-M's Jina Kim (PhD candidate, English/Women’s Studies), Jane Berliss Vincent (Assistive Technology Manager), Lloyd Shelton (M.S.W. Candidate, Community Organization), Jasmine Pawlicki (recent Michigan graduate, Peer Information Counselor, University of Michigan Library), and others, this roundtable will focus on the intersections of teaching and disability, with an emphasis on campus life sustainability for disabled teachers, students, and staff. The public roundtable will be preceded by informal networking among disabled graduate students, staff, and faculty as well as allies; to participate in this portion of the day's proceedings, please email Petra Kuppers at petra@umich.edu.
     
  • Friday, April 3, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon: Panel on Native American Higher Education (Hussey Room, Michigan League) 
    This event is designed to bring Native American elders, faculty, administrators, and students to a “talking circle” with non-Native academic personnel to discuss issues of cultural equity as concerns Native students and faculty both at the University of Michigan and in higher education generally. The panel will be preceded by time for coffee and community (9:30-10) and followed by a Native/non-Native student/University community exchange over pizza (12-1). For more information, contact Michael Naylor at mnayl@umich.edu.
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GSIs across campus are being recognized for their excellent teaching this month. CRLT warmly congratulates winners of Rackham's Outstanding GSI Award and the College of Engineering's Richard and Eleanor Towner Prize for Outstanding GSIs. Selected from large pools of nominees, all of these instructors have demonstrated extraordinary commitment, creativity, and overall excellence in their teaching.

The four Towner awardees were honored at the College of Engineering's Student Leaders and Honors Brunch on Sunday, March 15. Rackham will be hosting a public awards ceremony to honor its twenty prize-winners, along with outstanding faculty mentors, on April 13. For more information, including the names and departments of all of the winners, see this Rackham page and this College of Engineering page

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How do U-M undergraduates choose their courses and majors? CRLT recently investigated this question for five LSA departments by analyzing Registrar data, surveying students, and conducting student focus groups. Our findings can help faculty and programs across the university successfully inform students about their offerings and increase the numbers of students who take advantage of them. A summary of the results and recommendations can be found here.

Some of our key findings about students' selection processes include:

  • Above all, students use the online Course Guide (rather than printed publicity such as posters) to learn about course options. They look to departmental websites for information to help guide their decisions about concentrations. 
  • Other people strongly influence students' course and concentration choices. These include their academic advisors (especially in the first and second year), their peers, and their parents. 
  • While meeting a requirement is reported as the primary reason students choose a course, the second is an "interesting topic" -- often defined as an interdisciplinary course or a class that makes connections to future professional/educational plans.

What practices do these findings suggest if you're interested in recruiting students? Some include: Read more »

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Recent months have seen heightened national conversation about the ways implicit biases can perpetuate racial and gender disparities in powerful domains from policing to hiring. This conversation invites us as teachers to examine the ways our implicit attitudes might negatively affect our perceptions of and behavior towards students in our classes. As teachers, we assume responsibility for fostering the learning of all students in our classes. Even when we have the best of intentions, subtle biases that we're unaware of can undermine our efforts at creating inclusive classrooms.

What are some practices that can help us check our own assumptions and biases about our students? And how can we safeguard against our implicit biases—i.e., attitudes we may not even be aware of—negatively affecting students’ experiences in our classes?

Some strategies for becoming aware of our potential biases (or their negative effects) in teaching include: Read more »

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